Burke Williams Spa, Westfield Topanga
Visiting a day spa is one of the modern luxuries many of us seek to experience healing, pleasure and peace. In ancient times many cultures sought the healing waters, such as the Greeks, the Romans and indigenous peoples of the world.The Romans are noted in establishing the first spas which were well designed bathhouses built near mineral springs. The definition of the word, SPA means salus per aqua — health through water.
While many spas were cropping up in Europe, the ancient healing techniques of Ayurveda (whole body) healing systems were developed thousands of years ago in India. Based on the belief in the subtle balance of the mind/body/spirit, healing and wellness can be achieved.
In ancient times, a devout disciple and first cousin of the Buddha was a man who was said to have the highest purity of heart. This man was called Ananda, which means state of bliss, considered the highest state of being.
According to Bess O’Connor of the Chopra Center, Ayurveda is considered the highest level of the massage world. It has been around through the ages, not only for relaxation, but for “health benefits such as improving circulation, toning the muscles, calming the nerves, lubricating the joints, and increasing mental alertness. They are also used for supreme detoxification, skin health, energy, stamina, and better sleep.”
Today, the popularity of ancient Indian healing is showing up in spas all over the world. One spa, right here in the Los Angeles, Burke Williams in Woodland Hills, is located at the Village in Westfield Topanga. It is a delightful and fun location in the heart of the valley. The spa has introduced the Ananda treatment and it lives up to it’s name. The results are said to be a release from all sense of the body and its demands. This new location, a step above the rest of the BW family is by far the most fun, peaceful yet playful and airy! As mentioned in previous posts, it is a delight for all the senses. Because it was Father’s Day, the men outnumbered the women and in celebration, there were some yummy snacks for all.
When I arrived, my masseuse, Priscilla, gently escorted me to the treatment room which felt cool and comfortable. (It was almost 109 degrees outside) She explained the treatment process and asked me to smell three different oils which were in attunement with the doshas. According to this healing method, there are three energies believed to circulate in the body and govern physiological activity, Vata, Pitta, Kapha.
Each specific oil, according to your dosha, was infused with different metals. Dosha is a Bioelement that makes up your constitution. The three bioelements are always fluctuating in the body. They change with day and night, and with food.
The Doshas are defined as:Vata (airy element) characterized by properties of dry, cold, light, minute, and movement. All movement in the body is due to property of vata and in this treatment it is balanced by Brass. Pitta (fiery element) connected to hotness, moist, liquid, sharp and sour, its chief quality is heat. Kapha (watery element) is characterized by heaviness, cold, tenderness, softness, slowness, lubrication, and the carrier of nutrients.
The main features of this treatment are rhythmic motions, prepping the skin with a microdermabrasion scrub, utilizing hydrating oils and creams, to produce more balance and vitality.The feet, hands and neck are also addressed as well at specific points of energy on the body.
During the massage the ‘monkey mind’ may be racing with all kinds of thoughts. Calming the nervous system can be the first sign indicating the effectiveness of the treatment which can be palpable. As a journalist, one may tend to interview the practitioner while getting the treatment and it is advisable to make sure not to talk all the way through! After asking a few questions at the beginning, the masseuse can remind one to stop and became mindful of their thoughts.
Allowing oneself to become immersed in the rhythmic flow of the massage, noticing the treatment flying by, becoming relaxed and letting go of all the minutiae. It seems as if whenever one lets go and releases the tension, time flies quickly, while experiencing the peaceful and healing effects. However the 80 minute treatment felt as if it was over in a flash!
If you are seeking a new kind of spa experience and haven’t tried any Ayurvedic treatments, you may find that this will become a preference. The combination of the oils befitting your condition, while first doing the microdermabrasion to slough off dead skin and the rhythmic massage is just what the ‘doctor’ ordered. Next time you are thinking of a gift for yourself or your loved ones, this may be the ticket!