The physical and spiritual appeal of water, the rationale behind most spas, has attracted people seeking health and well-being for centuries. The word “spa” comes from the name of a Belgian town that drew visitors to its healing waters during the 16th century. Aruba’s people, too, have been inspired by their surrounding waters and have developed their own ways to help those in need of rejuvenation. Caribbean coffee scrub, anyone?

The spa experience can vary from a simple soak in warm, bubbly water to an elaborate massage, exfoliation, and body-wrap treatment. On Aruba, the spas reflect the island’s inherent peace and tranquility, as well as representing the Arubans’ diverse genealogical roots. Here, you can find traditional/classic methods from Europe or Asia, Hindu-influenced Balinese methods, and techniques native to the island.

Basic spa treatments include facials, manicures, pedicures, and full-body massages. This last kind is available in a range of different types: sports, deep tissue, Swedish, and Thai, the latter incorporating deep stretching and acupressure. Most popular are massages that include essential oils for an aromatherapeutic approach to relaxation. Aromatherapy involves the synergistic combination of oils to produce a blend that returns balance to body and mind. The oils, absorbed by the skin and/or inhaled, are derived from herbs or plant components such as roots and flowers. They have a variety of properties, some of which reduce stress and rejuvenate tissues by increasing circulation and eliminating congestion.

“On Aruba, the spas reflect the island’s inherent peace and tranquility, as well as represent the Arubans’ diverse genealogical roots.”

Some massages include full-body wraps before treatment. A paste from various ingredients is applied to the skin, and then a blanket is commonly used to provide warmth, thereby stimulating absorption, promoting detoxification, and relaxing tense muscles. There are a variety of wraps to choose from: algae, aloe, cucumber, honey, fruit, or spice, each with specific properties.

After this, you may choose an exfoliating scrub incorporating ingredients such as freshly grated coconut, which provides relief to sensitive or sunburned skin, or apricot and strawberry, which leave skin silky smooth and glowing. Fresh carrot, used as a conditioner, or aloe, which is very popular on the island for its healing properties, can then be applied. You can also find more exotic exfoliants, such as the Balinese Boreh scrub. This contains indigenous herbs and spices such as nutmeg, pepper, cloves, and ginger, which are excellent for relieving muscle aches and improving blood circulation. Relaxing music, delicious aromas, soothing waterfalls, and healing stones are often combined to help melt tension into oblivion and contribute to overall wellness.

In keeping with the traditional spa approach, the Caribbean’s warm seas have also inspired several hydrotherapy treatments where water plays a key role. These include thalassic (algae) baths to detoxify the skin and body, and mineral-rich, sea-salt pools to relax in. Incorporating aromatherapy oils and sea minerals, there is also a treatment known as a tropical rain shower, which involves the use of water pressure on central energy points in your body. Or you can simply relax in a floral body bath amid floating blooms… and discover inner peace.

Relax, Renew, Refresh

Article written by Sonja Osorio