The Spa

After a long, dreary winter it's time to refresh and renew for spring. We tested four of the latest spa treatments to get you looking and feeling your best.

Sticks & Stones
90 minutes, $190

Spa addicts will want to run to Qi Spa to try the latest technique in the world of massage. Known for integrating Eastern therapies and traditions into their spa menu, owners Katherine Gucciardi and Guiducha Mendes are pleased to introduce their latest import: Kevin Campbell, an RMT with more than 25 years experience around the globe.

A bamboo massage employs the use of “cho” sticks; varying lengths of bamboo that have been warmed and oiled. The cho can be used for a deeper massage, allowing the therapist to use leverage as the cho is moved across muscle groups. They are also used for lighter, feathering movements, and cho with a padded tip are used for “tapotement,” a tapping action used to stimulate blood flow.

Qi's Sticks & Stones treatment is Campbell's invention; a customized combination of bamboo cho and the warmed basalt stones used in hot stone massage.

The treatment begins by immersing your feet into a bowl of warm water spiked with essential oils. Feet are bathed and the aromatherapy begins the journey to relaxation.

Once snugly on the massage table the treatment begins with hot stones placed in a row down the back. The cho feel smooth and slightly warm, with penetrating strokes deep into tired muscles. From this muscular treatment, the therapy changes to the sweeping warming strokes of the hot stones. At the end one is fully relaxed and restored; and Campbell has called on his expertise in the varying modalities of reflexology, acupressure and rehabilitation to put my whole body back on the straight and narrow.

Qi Tranquility Spa & Laser
88 Dunn Street, Oakville

Moroccan Ritual
60 minutes, $110

Sanctuary Day Spas latest offering for spring incorporates the renowned Moroccan Oil line of body products. The now ubiquitous hair treatment oil known for its moisturizing and renewing effects is also available in a range of body scrubs and hydration products. Sanctuary has developed two new spa treatments using these amazing products.

The Moroccan Ritual begins with a complete body exfoliation with Moroccan Oil Body Buff Instant Radiance. The granular scrub infused with orange oil is massaged from head-to-toe, then off the treatment table and into the shower for a rinse. The scrub itself is made of a base of argan oil, so already skin feels incredibly moisturized with a stunning improvement in texture. In fact, it feels like the slick scrub won't wash off easily, but the exfoliating granules rinse away and the oil they were suspended in is easily slurped up by skin.

Back onto the table and tucked under a warming blanket, it's time for a massage with Moroccon Oil Intense Hydrating Treatment. The massage incorporates the use of hot stones. Their purpose is two-fold: the heat assists with the hydrating effect on the skin, and the hot stones add to the soothing, relaxing state desired from the massage. All too soon the massage comes to an end, but skin is left impeccably smooth, and the most hydrated it has ever been. I am a moisture addict, trying anything to treat my dry skin, and this treatment is it! Even a week later, there is not even the remotest trace of dryness. Also, take home the same hydrating product used in your treatment, to extend the effect.

Sanctuary Day Spas
130 Trafalgar Road South, Oakville

Detoxifying Body Wrap
60 minutes, $135

After a long dreary winter, what skin and body needs is a revitalizing restart. Spa Vitality Anti Aging Wellness Centre in Burlington recently added a new range of esthetic treatments to their well-established medical treatment practice.

The spacious spa includes a large room with mani and pedi stations, four treatment rooms and a makeup application and retail space. Up a grand central staircase is where Dr. Anna Maria Wysynski has her medical esthetics practice, including laser hair removal, vein therapy, microdermasion and more.

The Detox Wrap begins with the head and feet to ready the mind and body for a relaxing hour. Hot towels are wrapped around feet, while a pressure point massage for face and scalp is performed along with deep breaths of a relaxing aromatherapy oil with lavender, hazelnut and rosemary essential oils. The warm towels are removed, acting as the traditional cleansing start to a spa ritual. Then limb-by-limb, a dry exfoliation is performed, then a seaweed firming treatment is applied.

The Physiodermie Seaweed Firming Bath contains a blend of plant extracts that activate blood circulation and stimulate cutaneous changes. The ingredients help to combat skin looseness and cellulite and smooth and improve elasticity while refining and detoxifying. Once the mask is applied, I am cocooned in a warm blanket and a divine head and scalp massage is performed while the treatment goes to work. The seaweed mask is removed with hot towels and a full body massage is performed with rich almond massage oil spiked with essential oils.

Spa Vitality Anti Aging Wellness Centre
2400 Brant Street, Burlington

Collagen Facial
80 minutes, $155

Most spa lovers will be well acquainted with the lovely 100 Fountain Spa at the Pillar & Post. The Niagara-on-the-lake spa is routinely selected as one of the best. What you may not have experienced is the unique Biodraga Collagen Facial.

The treatment begins like most facials with deep cleansing using massaging strokes to face and neck with Biodraga products. A warmed exfoliator is applied and removed, and then skin swiped clean of every last wisp of makeup and impurities. Then ““ the bright light ““ a thorough inspection by the therapist to determine the exact products to use for your skin type and extraction, if required. For me, an application of a sensitive skin serum, lip serum and eye serum ““ all in an effort to add a layer of deep penetrating hydration. Then a generous layer of moisturizing lotion is applied.

The layer of moisture is added to act as the “glue” for the next step ““ the collagen sheet. The collagen sheet is just that, a white sheet the size of a standard piece of paper that feels like a thin slice of styrofoam.

The magic is the reaction it has with the moisturizer, and then on skin.

An opening is cut to allow breathing through the nose, and then the collagen sheet is applied. It bonds with the moisturizer as it is gently pressed to the skin, enveloping the face and neck in the natural collagen.

Once comfortable and enrobed in the mask, I am left for a period of time for skin to absorb the collagen. The collagen sheet turns to a soft, gel-like substance and is removed in one easy stroke, then skin is cleansed and moisturized again. Skin is immediately left plumped and soft, looking younger, firmer and completely refreshed.

100 Fountain Spa at Pillar and Post
48 John Street West,