By Sarah Campbell
When my boyfriend arrived home from work Friday he noticed something different about me.
“Wow, you’re in a really good mood,” he said.
That’s not to say I’m typically in a bad mood, but Friday is usually the day I opt for takeout and binge watching on the sofa. I’m usually too tired to venture out, so I throw on my pajamas and we relax at home.
But last Friday, I wanted to go out for dinner and drinks. So, we did.
What brought on this sudden change of heart? A trip to The Spa at Pinehurst.
When I started working here in October, my bosses encouraged me to get a spa treatment in an effort to familiarize myself with the facility and all it has to offer. Of course, I was thrilled about the opportunity. Who would turn down a free afternoon at the spa?
I finally booked my appointment a few weeks ago and counted down the days until I walked into the spa.
I wasn’t disappointed. After checking in, I got a quick tour of the 31,000 square-foot facility. I was assigned a locker, but it wasn’t one of those metal units I used during high school. Opening the wooden locker was like lifting the top of a treasure chest as I found a fluffy white robe hanging inside.
I grabbed the robe and went to one of the private dressing rooms to change. When I emerged, I could already feel myself slipping into a foreign state of relaxation.
The women’s relaxation area awaits just beyond the double doors of the changing rooms. When I walked out, I found women stretched out on wicker lounge chairs reading magazines and chatting with friends. A couple were sitting in the whirlpool with eyes closed. (Don’t worry guys, you have your own relaxation space with the exact same features!)
I made my way to the co-ed relaxation area, which includes another whirlpool and a three-lane lap pool. This is where I sat with an “Our State” magazine in hand until my therapist came to fetch me.
My Pinehurst Massage started right on time. I was happy to see Stacy’s smiling face when she came to take me back to the treatment room. I’ve had a handful of massages at various places and I will tell you most therapists I’ve had in the past haven’t been anywhere nearly as friendly as Stacy. She exuded the Pinehurst spirit.
When she asked if I had any trouble areas, I quickly filled her in on my aching back and shoulders. No problem, she would start there.
As I climbed onto the heated table, I started to forget I was “working.” Stacy worked on the knots in my backing, checking in periodically to make sure the pressure wasn’t too much. I was barely lucid by this point, drifting in between a state of euphoria and sleep. That’s right, I was so relaxed I actually fell asleep a couple times.
After taking care of my back and legs, it was time to flip over. Now usually this is the awkward part of the massage because you’re not facing the therapist. I always wondered if I should close my eyes or simply look up. What’s the proper etiquette?
I didn’t have to worry about that Friday. Stacy draped an eye pillow across my face and tucked a warm pillow beneath my head. Ahhhh, it was blissful.
By this point, I was practically levitating above the massage table (If you even want to call it that considering it’s more like a twin-sized bed.). One unexpected, but welcome part of the massage was Stacy’s work on my knees. As a high school tennis player, I’m prone to bouts of tendinitis that gives me achy knees. She worked some magic making me feel and move a lot better.
I had a hard time even standing up after my massage ended. It wasn’t because I was in pain, quite the opposite. My body was so relaxed I could barely remember what it was like to walk.
I slid back into my robe and headed for the women’s relaxation area. I have to admit, I was thrilled women and men get their own space.
I flopped down on a lounge chair for a while and closed my eyes. I’ve been practicing meditation for about a year now, so I figured this was the perfect time to get my time in for the day. With eyes closed, I breathed in and out, allowing the stress of the week to disappear.
After about 15 minutes, I decided to give the whirlpool a try. It was the perfect treat for a cold day. As I climbed in, the warmth of the bubbles made me feel like I was taking a soak in my own bathtub. I propped my head against a towel and closed my eyes.
The muffled rumble of the whirlpool sounds like waves crashing against the ocean shore. If you listen long enough, it’s almost hypnotizing.
While I soaked in the whirlpool, a young woman came around with a tray of strawberry smoothies. I didn’t see a single person turn one down. I wisely took one. I haven’t had a smoothie in years, so it was a treat that took me back to my college days when I would routinely drink them while woofing down a peanut butter sandwich between classes. This time, I actually savored it.
After toweling off, I curled up in a chair and read a magazine for a while before I decided to check out the sauna. I used to frequent the sauna at my gym, but I hadn’t been inside one in months. The one at the spa was large enough to ward off any claustrophobia one might associate with the small, hot space.
I was the only person utilizing the sauna at the time, so I took full advantage of the extra space by stretching out in one of my favorite yoga poses – corpse pose. With my arms and legs falling to my sides, I practiced a little yogic breathing.
When I emerged from the sauna about 10 minutes later I felt like a new person.
I spent a bit more time sprawled out on a lounge chair before I decided to head out. It was tough to leave the comfort of the spa and head back into reality.
I rarely have such “me days,” but Friday convinced me I should take time for myself more often. Since my time at the spa, I’ve felt a renewed sense of energy. I’m already looking forward to my next visit.
The hardest part will be choosing which treatment to enjoy!
Sarah Campbell is the content & social media specialist at the Pinehurst Resort.