One of the most rewarding benefits from spa visits is that you learn something from the therapist every time you get a treatment. Depending on the therapist and their training and background, you're in the hands of one of the best resources regarding nutrition, health and body care. I've learned some valuable tips in various countries around the world and it's interesting to experience the country's respective, traditional methods and rituals when it comes to taking care of the body. One thing I learned in my visit to Mexico last week is their tradition of using honey.
I stayed at the Mandarin Oriental Riviera Maya, which opened this past year. The property encompasses a stretch of land in its own complex (no other surrounding resorts in the nearby vicinity) so it was a nice, quiet escape. Mandarin Oriental is well-known for their pampering spas so I had to check it out.
The spa embraced Mayan traditions in most of their treatments, a nice homage to the community. Because I had been traveling so frequently in the past few weeks for work, I decided to go with a Mayan herbal scrub. After all, my skin was dehydrated from all the flying and I needed a good scrub to nourish my body.
What I loved about the scrub is that it was a combination of pure honey and natural herbs, both local products. The honey is locally produced in various hives throughout the Mayan jungles, used in a brand called Honey Beezzz (www.honeybeezzz.com) that supports socioeconomic development and cultural preservation. Honey has been used in Mayan tradition for centuries for medicinal purposes, also promoting (when applied topically) really soft skin (as I had found out). Honey Beezzz produces some innovative products with honey as the key ingredient: check out the web site for more information.
For my treatment, honey was mixed with olive grains and herbs to create a stimulating scrub (and quite pleasant scent). It drew open my pores (in addition to a steamroom sitting just minutes before) and left my whole body incredibly soft after scrubbing away all the dead skin. I followed with a mud body wrap (to rehydrate and further detox).
My therapist said it was important to exfoliate with body scrubs and I couldn't agree more. With so much flying in dry cabin air, my skin had lost that luster. Even with winter coming up, heaters are going to take a toll on our skin, so it's important to scrub away those dead skin cells for a healthier appearance. And believe it or not, it's ridiculously simple to create your own scrub. I have to thank my therapist for this very simple at-home recipe.
All it takes is one cup of natural honey, two tablespoons of sugar (great for the exfoliation) and chunks of fruit (she suggested papaya which further treats dead skin cells). You mix it all up in a bowl (she said the portions don't have to be exact, you'll intuitively feel it out yourself) and scrub away. While the fruit and sugar can be substituted (though I would stick to papaya as its soft enough to blend, and sugar is easier to find that olive grains), the honey is irreplaceable. While I have not yet tried it, I'm looking forward to making a sweet, sticky mess in my bathtub but I'd love to hear response from anyone that does give it a shot.