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my “a-hot-stone-massage!” moment

Spa weekend

You never know when you’ll experience what Oprah likes to call “a-ha!” moments — moments, as defined by Merriam-Webster, of “sudden realization, inspiration, insight, recognition, or comprehension” — but I’ve come to expect mine when I’m in the middle of a massage. This was brought home so clearly to me during my girls’ spa weekend that I’ve decided to more accurately call those times “a-hot-stone-massage!” moments.

As far as spa treatments go, I was a late bloomer. I didn’t get my first massage until I was 48 and it was life-changing. I was so blissed out after that first massage at La Costa that I fell asleep and had to be woken up – twice – by the massage therapist who graciously smiled and assured me that happened all the time.

Since then, my husband and I have made three trips to Miraval (which has become one of our favorite places in the world) and my mom, my sister and I have celebrated our January birthdays with spa weekends in Arizona that we look forward to all year long. In fact, we just got back from our 7th annual weekend – which, this year, we spent closer to home at La Costa, making it a sort of full circle moment for me.

Spa weekend

You see, I made a conscious decision after that first massage to never again fall asleep during a spa treatment. It is such a luxury to be indulged like that, and it is totally a waste to sleep through it, no matter how relaxing and calming it is. Instead of zoning out or making to-do lists in my head, I remain present in the moment and totally focus on how amazing it feels to have each part of my body lovingly attended to.

By doing this, I inevitably reach a point in every massage where I feel a deep and profound sense of gratitude. This weekend, in the middle of an 80-minute hot stone massage that was possibly the best treatment I’ve ever experienced, it practically brought me to tears. How lucky was I to be lying there, having a professional knead my muscles into submission and giving them so much attention, it felt like, one by one, they respectfully bowed to her caring hands?

I have become so attuned to the power of this feeling that I try to bring it into my everyday life. I’ve learned if you stay in the moment, you will be grateful for it. And there is nothing that will make you feel better than gratitude.

Tonight, Michael and I will be planning our schedule for our upcoming visit to Miraval. It will include Zumba classes, meditation, spiritual workshops and, of course, a hot stone massage or two. I’m already feeling thankful.




  1. I had my first and only massage in my mid-thirties. I may have cried a little during, and I was also assured that happened.

    It’s like she was rubbing my tear ducts!

    I’d love to try a hot stone massage. I’m going to Arizona for business soon and will make a point of have a spa visit.

  2. How great that you’ve had that grateful feeling during a massage…I love them too, as does my husband, and you’ve reminded me that I’m long overdue for one! Enjoy Miraval!

  3. It is a great feeling and it’s awesome that you feel grateful for it. The fact that you enjoy your massages along with your mom and sister is even more awesome :>)

  4. I have had massages for as long as I can remember. The best ones have been in foreign countries like India, Japan and Thailand. But, there is a secret place in Cathedral City (near Palm Desert) called Two Bunch Palms. Check it out. http://www.twobunchpalms.com/
    It is secluded, no talking anywhere except at dinner and then quietly. Lovely grounds and an oasis of peacefulness.

  5. I have yet to have a full massage, though I did get my first Reike treatment (which was amazing). Now I’m thinking that maybe I should . . . I have a gift certificate that’s been in my purse for a year that includes a full massage, facial, pedicure and manicure at Red Door Spa. Maybe I should finally take advantage of it!

  6. Harriet Daviidson says:

    Several years ago I was treated to an Odyssey Massage at the Depok Chopra Center (also at La Costa now). It consists of two people massaging you for 70 minutes. There are hands all over you and you don’t care whose hands are where. I felt so intoxicated after that I was afraid to drive home.

  7. I always feel like a new person after my massages. Life is good and I can go again!

  8. lisaweldon says:

    Massages, in my book, are better than psychotherapy. Any day!!

  9. I still remember my first massage too! It was while I was in college – I never thought about it before, but I think it was life-changing for me too. I’m getting a massage this weekend (I’m so overdue!) and will think about it differently this time. Thank you!!!

  10. my sons gave me a “spa day” for Mothers Day one year. in it was a 55 minute facial. a what? what could they even do for 55 minutes on your face, seemed absurd to me. obviously i haven’t pampered myself in my 60+ years. (it would have been absolutely perfect had the girl giving it not been tapping away texting while i was relaxing during each treatment!)
    well, i’m here to tell you, that was the most fabulous 55 minutes! and i’m going to get my sons each one too! everyone should be so lucky!
    thanks for all the great work you do!

  11. Vicky Tarulis says:

    Massages not only feel relaxing, but afterwards you notice that your shoulders dropped a half of foot from your ears and that you can turn your head almost as far as Linda Blair.

  12. As much as I love massages, I have a really hard time letting go and relaxing into them. I try but I seem to keep up some sort of protective wall. It’s weird.

  13. My first and last massage was on my 30th birthday. The girl was WAY too rough and basically brutalized me and I ended up being covered in bruises the next day.

  14. I did tech for a Massage Therapy place for a while. Two hr-long massages a month was heaven. Thai, hot stone, Shiatsu, NMT, deep-tissue…. ahhhh…. I need to book one today! And Tucson spa tip… those wonderful therapists at resort and spa destinations often have other gigs at local, far lower cost establishments. If you return to the area often, find out where else they work. You will save a bundle. !

  15. I had that aha with a cranial sacral session at a Sedona spa. Ahhhha!

  16. Massages and pedicures are two of my favorite things. And gratitude…And now you’re making me want a massage this weekend!

  17. I love massages. I got one later in life too, around 32 or 33. Hot stone is definitely my favorite, but even a bad massage is good!

  18. Almost all of my massage experiences have been good ones. Just once I tried deep tissue massage – that’s one I won’t go back to. My best was at a resort in Mexico – I swear he was standing on my back and massaging my feet at the same time!!

  19. How fun for all of you! That is wonderful! Massages are so good for you. Life is good!

  20. Excellent! I had my first massage at age 40 – and it was because I had been in a bad car wreck. Now, I don’t need to crash my car – I schedule regular appointments for massages. Love ’em.

  21. Lois, you are so right about gratitude and how good it makes you feel. I’ve been keeping a gratitude list for years. Taking time to say thank you is a huge part of happiness.

  22. I have never had a massage though it sounds like a wonderful thing to get.

  23. I consider massages to be maintenance for good mental and muscular health. I am not a fan of deep tissue massage but any other is heavenly.
    I will be in Arizona early next year. I will definitely be planning a spa visit.

  24. My back thanks you for reminding me that I have a gift certificate for a massage 🙂 Hot stone it is not…but a massage it is LOL

  25. I’ve never had a massage like this before. I would totally be interested to try.

  26. Impressive! I’ve never had a hot stone massage before, but it sounds divine. I am suddenly craving a massage of any sorts!

  27. Have you ever had a mud bath? They are wonderful. If you don’t mind washing mud out of all your crevices!

  28. I don’t know what I would do without ally treatments. I had my first massage at 12 or 14

  29. I love massages. I only recently had my first one, and I can’t wait until I can find time for another. A hot stone massage sounds lovely!

  30. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    A massage is one of my favorite things ever. I wish I could get one every week. Looks like you had a wonderful time!

  31. I have never had a massage from anyone other than my hubby because I don’t like strangers touching me. However, a hot stone massage really sounds fabulous and I would so be willing to give it a try!

  32. I’ve never had a hot stone massage. They sound fabulous. It sounds like you have a real spiritual experience at your massages which is wonderful.

  33. I have never had a massage. Ever. No spa day, either. What the heck am I waiting for?! This looks luxurious!

  34. I have never gotten a professional massage. You’re making me want to get one though. 🙂

  35. I really want to get a hot stone massage! It sounds so relaxing! I need a spa day!

  36. Oh my goodness I always think hot stone massages sound so nice, I would love to have one, oneday. x

  37. I’ve never had a hot stone massage before, but I have had professional massages. And…I loved every minute of them!

  38. I’ve yet to have a massage! . Hot stone massage sounds a bit scary though so will take your word for it lol

  39. Other than a foot massage, I’ve never really had a spa treatment. Isn’t that a shame? I know I need to indulge one day, hopefully soon 🙂

  40. I’ve never been to a spa, but I’m thinking its about time. I need some pampering! Thank you for sharing your story!

  41. Melissa Smith says:

    I’ve never been to a spa, let alone received a massage like that. I think I may need to get one in sometime soon though because it all sounds so heavenly.

  42. I have had a lot of massages, but never a hot stone massage.

  43. I’ve never had a massage. A Hot Stone Massage sounds fabulous though! I tend to run a little cold these days and I’d bet this would make me relax and warm up!

  44. I have never had a professional massage but I love when my husband gives me one … he’s really good but it never lasts long enough!! Your post has made me really want to get a professional one!!

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