A City That Beckons to Heal Oneself
By Charlene & Richard Mixa
For centuries Asheville has beckoned individuals with its healing aspect. George Vanderbilt and E. W. Grove were drawn to Asheville for its climate of clean mountain air and mild temperatures. Physicians sent patients to the area to recuperate and Asheville’s “healing climate” brought expansive growth to the area. The call of the clean mountain air and mild temperatures continues to bring visitors to the area. Today a variety of spas and wellness retreats beckons visitors to heal oneself. From a Salt Cave to Salt Water Floatation to a world-class spa, we find plenty of wellness options in Asheville.
Salt therapy is a powerful healing detoxifier! Asheville’s Salt Cave has 20 tons of pure pink salt, naturally recreating the micro climate of a salt mine. The air in this therapeutic salt cave is intensely saturated with negative ions, while the salt rock crystals in the cave release 84 trace elements and minerals which are essential to the homeostasis of our bodies. Preparing for our session shoes are remove and electronics locked up to assure a calming atmosphere. Inside the Salt Cave has zero gravity chairs plus plenty of blankets and pillows on the floor. Richard prefers the zero gravity chairs while I feel closer to the salt beneath me on a blanket. The walls, ceiling, and floors are all salt from Poland. Some are large hunks of salt, the floor is small pebbles and the ceiling is netting of chunks of salt. Two salt water fountains add more to the healing and detoxifying power of the Salt Cave. With lights dimmed and pleasant music the solitude is fantastic. Closing my eyes, listening to the music, and breathing in the salt air, I let myself go, totally relaxing and enjoying the Salt Cave’s benefits. Dozing is easy as muscles relax and tensions subside. Awakening at the end of this detoxifying session, we leave feeling relaxed and refreshed.
Imagine floating in 1500 lbs. of salt water! At Still Point Wellness it’s time to experience the Salt Water Floatation Therapy and an Esalen® Massage. The Floatation suite has a private bathroom, shower and the Floatation unit. An 8ft.x8ft.x8ft. chamber has one-foot of water filled with 1500 lbs. of Epsom salt. Looking into the chamber it is dark. After showering, putting in earplugs and getting the head floatation on, I step into the chamber. Leaving the door ajar, I close my eyes and feel the sensation of movement. My body gently moves as I float. Once acclimated, I shut the door. It’s complete darkness! With eyes closed, easy breathing I just float and doze off. It’s awesome! A knock on the door wakes me and I feel along the wall to the door. Showering and putting on a robe, I meet Richard in the Relaxation Room. Richard found the long strokes of his full body Esalen® massage with Emily has him deeply relaxed. She focused on specific areas of his neck, shoulders, lower back, legs and arms. In the Relaxation Room, we each have a detoxifying sweat in the Far Infrared Sauna and a stress-relieving session on the warm Migun massage bed. Choosing the intensity, muscles are massaged as balls roll along the entire length of one’s body. All too soon, we hear a knock that our one hour session is over. Still Point Wellness definitely has us totally relaxed, refreshed and rejuvenated.
What can you do with 43,000 square feet of subterranean space? Create a world-class Spa! A full afternoon in the Grove Park Inn’s unbelievable spa awaits Richard and me. Beneath the hillside is a spa featuring cavernous rock walls, arches, tunnels and 20 water features. After soaking in the whirlpool at about 116 degrees, it takes a lot of courage for me to plunge (or slowly dip) into a 67 degree pool. Exhilarating! Choices abound from the inhalation room, sauna, a eucalyptus-infused steam room and cozy indoor and outdoor private spaces in each of the Men’s and Women’s Lounges. After soothing and calming our aching muscles, Richard and I meet in the couple’s area with its great lap pool that has fiber-optic stars embedded in the ceiling and underwater music. Waterfall pools are refreshing! Sitting under the therapeutic waterfall, the force of the water loosens tight shoulder, neck and back muscles. Outside is a huge whirlpool with chaise lounges, a huge fireplace, and beautiful scenic views of the golf course and mountains. After soaking up some sun, we get into the whirlpool. With gray skies overhead we locate the Couples Lounge with comfy overstuffed leather chairs by a cozy fireplace. Sipping herbal infused water, under a warm blanket while enjoying healthy snacks, is the ultimate retreat. The Spa at the Omni Grove Park Inn is a place to totally unwind and rejuvenate.
Anyone seeking to “heal oneself” will find a choice that matches their specific needs in Asheville. Whether it is a Salt Cave, a Salt Water Floatation Therapy, a massage, a Relaxation Room or an afternoon in a world-class spa Asheville provides a variety of options for “healing oneself.”
If you go:
Asheville Salt Cave, 12 Eagle Street, Asheville, NC 28801
Explore Asheville Convention & Visitors Bureau, 36 Montford Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801
The Spa at the Omni Grove Park Inn, 290 Macon Street, Asheville NC 28804
Still Point Wellness, 81-B Central Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801