Mindfulness and Pampering – Compatible or Not?
As Jeremy McCarthy, a leading spa expert and director of Global Spa Development and Operations for Starwood Hotels & Resorts recently noted, if the last decade was all about “happiness,” the next will be all about “mindfulness.” It’s trending in spas and will be, I predict, an important part of the shift to wellness that is gaining momentum everywhere.
So what is mindfulness? It seems like a pretty straightforward concept – being in your mind, right?? But it’s really more than that. It’s sensory awareness, when your senses of sight, touch, taste, hearing and smell are fully engaged. It’s focusing your full attention with effortless involvement on whatever you are doing or experiencing. It’s being in a state of neutral, emotional openness – non-judgemental and accepting. In other words, you are consciously sensing, feeling and thinking all at the same time in the present moment.
When you think about it, you realize that it’s not always possible every moment of the day – but it can be done more and more often with a little practice. So how does that translate into the spa?
Let’s say that I’ve come into my favourite spa for a little R&R…all I want is to be pampered and have an hour or two away from all the “stuff” that’s going on. As they say – have a little “me time.” My head is full of deadlines, family issues, what I have to pick up on my way home and a bunch of other things all vying for top-of-mind awareness. After a momentary interruption while I change into my robe and follow my therapist to the treatment room, as soon as I’m on the table, it all bubbles back into my head. Sound familiar?
How can you experience the full benefits of your treatment under those circumstances? Really allow yourself to feel well and truly pampered? Well, here’s where mindfulness comes in. Focusing all your attention on the treatment and being completely in the moment heightens and intensifies the experience, allowing you to feel connected to your therapist and making her or his experience more positive, too. It all circles back to wellness – whole person wellbeing in mind, body and spirit- as you relax and reap the healthfully pampering benefits of your treatments.
Pampering and mindfulness compatible? Are you kidding? Of course they are!