If work-a-day blues are fraying your nerves and stress is threatening your physical well-being, the remedy may not be found in a bottle, box, or medicine cabinet. It may be time for a wellness vacation to the tropical beauty of the Hawaiian Islands. Aloha!
Once you disembark the plane after an 11-hour flight from the East Coast to Oahu, you immediately feel lighter. The gentle breezes, lulling waves, and general island calm create a perfect setting for a regenerative retreat. The holistic havens we found offer much more than atmosphere; they impart life-enhancing practices indigenous to Hawaiians and generously offered to those in need of relief.
It begins with your island greeting, as you’re welcomed with the sweet scent of a floral lei draped around your neck. Just a sign that Hawaiians are willing to share their secret for “glowing with health,” which includes healing practices such as chanting, medicinal plants, and the Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage—good for relieving pain, stress, and opu huli, or stomach problems. At the Outrigger Waikiki, a 50-minute rubdown costs roughly $140. You can also meet with a kahuna, a local expert who practices the ancient, rich tradition of using healing plants. Rooms begin at $275 per night (800-688-7444; www.outrigger.com).
Medical testing seems less clinical and takes on an invigorating new meaning at the Holistica Hawaii located at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort and Spa in Honolulu (808-951-6546; www.holistica .com). Rooms range from $180 to $600 per night and full-body scan starts at $995. Using some of the most advanced diagnostic and preventative screening technology, including a scanning procedure able to detect conditions such as heart disease and cancer in their early stages, this spa offers to heal you from the inside out. When it’s all over, you’ll receive a digital file of medical evaluations, images, scans, and other diagnostic test results on CD-ROM. The path to a detoxifying Pahoehoe Wrap with volcanic mud is only an elevator ride away.
At the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa at Ko Olina on the western shore of Oahu, rates range from $354 to $4,500 per night (800-626-4446; www.koolina.com). The spa offers traditional Hawaiian and Polynesian body treatments, including a 25-minute Thalasso underwater massage treatment. The treatment is combined with color light therapy (approximately $70), which corresponds with the seven energy centers, or chakras, that govern our state of mind, energy level, and overall health. Facilitated by 180 pulsating hydro and air jets pumping seawater directly from the resort’s lagoons, this treatment will soften your skin and relax your mind.