Beyond the Facial

Five skin treatments for everything BUT the face


The skin is the largest organ of the body, but both spa-goers and spa owners often focus just on the face and body. “Skin is the largest barrier against infection, so taking care of our skin from head to toe is important to prevent future concerns. We tend to focus on our face, neck, and décolleté because it’s easy to see and reach and ignore those more difficult to reach areas” says Ginger McLean, Director of Spa Operations at Rock Spa & Salon at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Here are five treatments that take on everything but the face!


Let’s face it. The back is usually the last thing people think about when booking a spa treatment. But come summertime when the shirts are off (for the guys) and the outfits are skimpy (for the girls), a back covered with acne, dry skin, or just not glowing the same as the face is sure to stand out in a crowd. Luckily, the Rock Spa & Salon has a Sexy Back treatment ( 50 min., $135) holding no one back this bathing suit season.

Everyone talks about what a mud mask and lymphatic drainage can do for your face, but what’s below the neck also deserves the same attention.

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Why the back? Since the back is difficult to reach to properly clean, people are prone to clogged pores, dry, itchy skin, and acne. Back facials provide thorough deep cleansing and moisturizing to help reduce dry skin and restore luster.

“We live in a world of selfies and social media, with a desire to present perfectly flawless skin. Having healthy skin is important for more than just creating the perfect selfie as it is our greatest barrier for prevention against external threats like environmental pollutants, UV rays, and harmful microbes,” says McLean.

How it’s Done: The Sexy Back facial incorporates the same steps as a typical facial and is customized for your skin type. It begins with a thorough cleansing and skin analysis, followed by an exfoliating scrub to remove dead skin, extractions if needed, toning, mask, and finishes with a light massage moisturizing application.

“Our most popular cleanser combines the natural cleansing power of water and oil with a two-step deep action cleanser made from pure natural plant oils and quillaja extract to intensify the cleansing action without causing tightness. For more problematic skin and a deeper cleanse, we use a product with salicylic acid and provitamin B5 to refine the complexion leaving a fresh, clean appearance,” says McLean.

Next up is a gentle mechanical peel to exfoliate with plant lipids, yogurt extracts, and shea butter to refine and moisturize. “Depending on your skin type, other ingredients might include power peptides, natural antioxidants, or hyaluronic acid. All help counteract negative environmental factors and leave the skin looking healthier, smooth, and with a youthful glow,” she adds.


Pada Hasta is derived from the Sanskrit words “pada,” which means foot and “hasta,” which means hand. At BodyHoliday located in St. Lucia, West Indies, the Pada Hasta ( 50 min, $95) treatment helps ease tension from the whole body. “It’s important for spa-goers to take a holistic approach to the treatments they choose. The body is a fully connected entity, with each part having a strong effect on the whole. Pada Hasta is a noninvasive way to help treat common circulatory issues and swelling within the body,” says the BodyScience and Ayurvedic Center Leader Dr. Mahalingam “Maha” Lakshmsnan.

Why the hands and feet? The focus is on the hands and feet because they consist of multiple reflexology points that promote health benefits throughout the body. The purpose of this treatment is to increase and strengthen blood and lymphatic circulation within the body. It’s recommended for diabetics and chronic smokers because poor circulation is one of the main health risks for both groups. “Strong blood circulation brings the necessary oxygen to the body, keeps vital organs healthy and functioning at optimum capacity,” says Dr. Lakshmsnan.

How it’s Done: The masseuse uses heated organic massage oil and applies reflexology pressure via specialized massage movements to the hands and feet with special movements through the fingers and thumbs. “It has an extremely soothing effect on the circulatory system. These massage techniques remove energy blockages and create active energy flows, which strengthens the blood and lymphatic circulation, reducing swelling and fluid retention in the body, and ultimately re-energizes one’s arms and legs,” he adds.


Everyone talks about what a mud mask and lymphatic drainage can do for your face, but what’s below the neck also deserves the same attention. The Intensive Relilax Abdomen Live Mud Treatment (25 min, $65.61) at the Terme di Relilax Boutique Hotel & Spa in Rome, Italy, helps to re-oxygenate the tissues and combat excess fluids and fats that build up in the lower body. The all-natural targeted mask infused with soy, caffeine, and green tea extracts gives the body a brighter, tighter, and more toned look than before.

Why the abdomen? Aside from the aesthetic aspect of what a mud mask does for the skin, there are many health benefits as well. “The abdomen represents the part of the body that contains and supports most of the organs responsible for digestion, nutrition, and elimination and is connected to the respiratory part through the diaphragm muscle. These characteristics must be taken into serious consideration because they determine important consequences in the health and image of the body in every age group,” says owner Consuelo Braggion.

How it’s Done: The treatment begins with a lymphatic drainage massage. Lymphatic drainage of the abdomen is crucial to stimulate blood and lymphatic microcirculation. In synergy with the effects of lymphatic drainage, they use an intensive mud, which performs a localized action by treating the area of the glutes, abdomen, and thighs up to below the knee. A tonic lotion with acidic pH and stabilized Vitamin C is used on the areas to be treated to prep the epidermis, followed by a concentrated fluid formulated with plant extracts, as well as phytosomes, caffeine, and proteins which catalyze lipid metabolism and promote the reduction of localized fat.

“Above the application of the fluid, we spread a compound created with solutions that promote vascular gymnastics (hot and cold feeling for an effect of vasoconstriction and alternating vasodilatation) and caffeine solutions, which mixed with an Alginate powder and mature mud, create a soft vegetable cast with an occlusive effect. This increases the absorption of the

previously applied active ingredients, helping the drainage of liquids,” explains Braggion.


The Soothing Head Massage ( 60 min, $249) treatment offered at Sense, A Rosewood Spa at Hôtel de Crillon located in Paris, France, is not only good for the skin on the scalp. It’s primarily intended for relaxation, alleviating stress, improving mood, and even for conquering burn-out and jet lag. It’s in the spa’s “Lost Remedies” category because it combines traditional Parisian healing practices with modern products and techniques. “The tradition in this treatment is the use of peppermint and lavender essential oils, as these have been used in France for their beneficial properties for years,” says Spa Director Marlène Belvalette.

Why the scalp? While maintaining one’s locks is part of everyone’s health and beauty routine, many neglect the

skin underneath. “It is incredibly important to keep the scalp nourished in order to maintain healthy hair, as even a small issue such as dry skin can lead to larger problems, including hair loss,” says Belvalette.

How it Works: The client first chooses one of four oils sourced from the French countryside. It starts with a breathing exercise using lavender and peppermint essential oils before embarking on a comprehensive head and neck massage with the chosen oil, which moves from the scalp down to the shoulders.

Other than the calming benefit of lavender and peppermint, they are also used for their medicinal benefits. “The lavender is used to moisturize the scalp while also boosting hair growth. It also helps to soften brittle hair and provides a natural shine. Peppermint has also been known to help with dryness of the scalp, which leads to itchiness and other scalp problems. Additionally, it can be used to help combat hair loss, as the menthol aids in blood circulation in the area,” she continues. The treatment ends with a signature fresh mask onto the eyes for deeper relaxation.


To get the guest relaxed and ready for their treatments, the Sense, A Rosewood Spa, at Rosewood Miramar Beach in Montecito, California, offers a complementary five minute Welcome Foot Bath Ritual. “The foot bath is a sign of trust and respect between the therapist and the guest. This ritual has a long-standing history and various methodologies. This ritual has been performed all over the world, in some format, and was primarily designed as a welcoming ceremony to purify, cleanse energy and display hospitality,” says Director of Spa Karina Chung.

Why the feet? Let’s face it. Feet take a beating every day and are often the last part of the body people tend to. “It is a huge misconception that we should apply all treatments and products solely to the face. Spa-goers should focus on all parts of the body, as areas of neglect will begin to show as we age, especially the feet, legs, back of hands, and neck. The goal is to age gracefully and maintain healthy, supple skin throughout, starting with smooth, moisturized and beautiful legs and feet,” says Chung.

How it’s Done: After relaxing the client with a warm neck wrap on the neck and shoulders, the foot bath is prepared with a blend of Himalayan and locally-sourced mineral salts, California sage essential oil and ground sage leaves. “This cleansing step allows the feet to soak in the benefits of the salts, which balance the alkalinity in the body, and of the sage plants, which draw out toxins,” she says.

The therapist then guides the guest through a meditative, slow breathing technique. A sage mist is sprayed into the air around the guest’s body and inhaled for a grounding feeling. “With this, we honor the native tradition of using sage to purify the energy of the space,” she continues. Then, a light exfoliation of the feet follows with a handmade scrub blend of locally-sourced mineral salts, citrus, and ginger—which are elements found in the area that have been used medicinally for centuries. The scrub helps to soften the heels and further cleanse the feet. The final step is rinsing off the scrub with water from the sage foot bath and drying the guests’ feet with a towel.