On a picture-perfect Lake Oconee Sunday morning, the Spa at the Ritz-Carlton Reynolds is where I gathered at a table with a centerpiece of various salts, essential oils and dried flowers at my fingertips. As part of a wellness offering at the spa, and in addition to my experiences of a blow-out and Body Balancer massage, this salt-making workshop proved highly educational.
Liz, our instructor, began the workshop with an explanation of Himalayan salts and the various textures of grit. She recommends using fine-to-medium grit for use in a bath, but if you’re using a poultice bag, coarse grit is fine. From Himalayan salt, we moved along to a discussion on Dead Sea salts, to which Liz listed a series of its mineral content that includes magnesium, potassium and sodium, the latter to benefit the body’s lymphatic system. And then Epsom salts, which work to break up lactic acid in the body to loosen stiff muscles and relax your body.
What to do with those leftovers
Facial masks are the next topic of discussion; most of what Liz lists for ingredients may be found in your kitchen. The recipe: Using a food processor, mix oatmeal and yogurt with a lime wedge (for acid). Another recipe for a facial mask: kiwi and avocado with a little olive oil in a food processor. Oh, and if you have eczema, try a little coconut oil.
When Liz asked me what I use to remove my eye makeup, I proudly answered “Pond’s Cold Cream” – a product I’ve been using since my teen years, taught by my mother. I’ve tried a few chemical-laden eye makeup removers sampled at cosmetic counters, but these products have always irritated my eyes to the point where they water for days. Liz suggested I steer clear of Pond’s, which she explained its questionable list of ingredients… and recommended castor oil. OK, I’ll try it!
With so many ingredients covering the table, it was fun to concoct a mix of baking soda, orange oil, lemongrass oil, dried rose petals, magnolia oil (yes, we were in George, after all), Dead Sea salts, and peppermint. I have yet to bathe in this mixture and have it in my luggage so I’ll be ready when I stay at a hotel with an inviting soaking tub, preferably a claw foot.
Body Balance Massage
Once the salt-making workshop concluded, I moved along to receive the ultimate in massage: the Body Balance Massage. The Ritz-Carlton keeps its stride in luxury with this treatment. Emily, the professional who performs the exfoliation on my back with a spearmint scrub applied with hot towels, is a true professional. I have never enjoyed a back scratch sensation like this, so I was grateful from the scrubby start. Upon my request, and in response to the overindulgence in the resort dining scene, a little work on my digestive system via foot reflexology offered me tremendous relief. I walked away with a renewed body, soul and spirit.
For more information, visit www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/georgia/reynolds