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Revival From the EARTH



— October 4, 2019

Revival From the EARTH


Spas and resorts across the country recognize that herbs first used by indigenous people were the precursor of modern medicine.

They are incorporating many of these in spa treatments, offering time-tested ways to help their clients find calm and feel rejuvenated. Here are a few examples

Loews Ventana Canyon

Lakeside Spa

Tucson, Arizona

Red Clay Sacred Ritual

The Red Clay Sacred Ritual is this spa’s signature desert treatment. It begins with an invigorating desert salt exfoliation, followed by a smooth application of warm red clay from Sedona before you are wrapped in a cocoon. As you relax, the smoke of white sage wafts through the room.

Sage retains its color and aroma even during unforgiving winters, so Native Americans saw it as a symbol of immortality, according to Porter Shimer, author of Healing Secrets of the Native Americans (Black Dog). They used it as a tea to treat fevers and other ailments and burned it during healing ceremonies. A face, neck and scalp massage with a blend of eleven plant extracts and desert essences and a body application of cedarwood citrus lotion caps off the treatment. Visit

The Osthoff Resort

Aspira Spa

Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin

Aspira DOHI (Health, Serenity, Peace)

This 80-minute treatment, billed as a “tribal purifying and cleansing ritual,” calls upon many Native practices. With this full body massage, the therapist employs movements that mimic tribal practices—face and body painting (without the paint) of the Plains cultures, for example, and light beats that align with tribal drumming rhythms playing in the background.

Circular movements, to reflect the medicine wheel, are used, as is sage in a smudging, or smoke bath, ceremony. The treatment aims to put the client on what is known in Native culture as the Red Road Path, one of balance between the physical, spiritual, mental and emotional. Visit

Fairmont Princess

Well & Being Spa

Scottsdale, Arizona

Havasupai Falls Rejuvenation

The Well & Being Spa’s Havasupai Falls Rejuvenation begins with a sage smudging ritual to remove unhealthy energy; Native Americans and other indigenous people used smudging smoke to purify an area or personal belongings. Sage and plants such as cedar, juniper, and lavender were burned, and the smoke was directed with a single feather or fan of several feathers.

After the smudging ritual, you are scrubbed with essential oils infused with desert salts for exfoliation. That is followed by a massage with jojoba body butter, which prepares your skin for warm Himalayan salt stones that soothe tired muscles. You’re then cocooned in a warm herbal wrap and a Sedona clay detoxifying mask is applied on your face before the service finishes with a scalp massage. Visit

The Lodge at Woodloch Spa

Hawley, Pennsylvania

Delaware River Stone Massage

The Lenni-Lenape, also called “Delawares,” who were mediators in disputes between tribes, are among the most ancient of the Northeastern indigenous nations: Their ancestors, living in three main clans, inhabited New Jersey, southern New York, eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware, all the way down to Delaware Bay.
This treatment is a nod to these people; the idea is that stones from the river contain an energy that accelerates change. In this treatment, warmed Delaware River stones are incorporated with classic Swedish massage techniques to provide a relaxing full-body massage with a choice of aromatherapy oils. Visit

For more articles in our Native Trails Series, see below:
Native Trails
A Relay Through Time
Throwing Darts
Reclaiming A Narrative
The Pulse of Native Rhythms

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