Tuesday, April 7, 2015:

I Love Mud :)

Somewhere between the morning sleep-ins at the amazing Calistoga Ranch and daily wine tastings (more on that later), my husband and I managed to sneak in a little morning mud bath and massage action at Golden Haven Spa in Calistoga, CA.

I was a mud bath novice and really didn't know much about the therapeutic and aesthetic benefits- I just thought it would be a fun thing to try while touring the natural geothermal area and enjoying its wine!



On a wine-free morning we popped in to downtown Calistoga, grabbed a quick breakfast at the Village Bakery and off to the spa we went!

The initial experience was a bit untraditional- we arrived at a small motel and the spa waiting area also served as the motel's reception area.  So super casual for a "spa" but I sort of loved the unpretentiousness and chill napa vibe as we were escorted to our private mud room.

Upon entering, my first reaction was to cringe at the obvious sulfur stink emanating off of the mud- it was combined with a lemon lavender spray that evolved into a natural earthy smell so while not your traditional aromatherapeutic experience, I appreciated my authentic earthy and organic ambiance.

We had our own private spa attendant who instructed us to remove our clothing and valuables which we left in little green mesh bags.  She explained that the bottom of the mud baths were extremely hot (they really are!) and that we needed to enter "behind first".  I'll give you a minute to embrace THAT visual.

So mud baths are big.  I'm small.  This was interesting and could have resulted in a face plant had my reach of faith not go according to plan.  

So let's talk about the buoyancy of mud.  You float.  Honestly, without wiggling and intentional submersion, you float.  WHO KNEW?!

So now let's talk about mud baths.  They are hot.  Like SUPER hot.  So wiggle cautiously!  After breaking the surface and settling in, I found that tiny movements would agitate small hot pockets.  A high five to my husband who prefers his showers just above freezing- a true act of love to endure a mud bath at 100+ degrees.

After we had securely suctioned ourselves into the mud baths, our spa attendant returned to really pile on the mud, apply a clay face mask, and offer a cold compress for our foreheads before she sprayed another refreshing lemon lavender mist.  We settled in to soak for another fifteen minutes of peaty heat!

A bit about the health and beauty benefits of mud baths:
  • The heat of mud baths encourage relaxation of muscles and joints
  • The combination of volcanic ash, clay, peat, and hot spring mineral water detoxifies the skin
  • The suspension of the body in the mud further deepens relaxation
  • The sulfur, chloride, fluoride, and volcanic ash are believed to help with your complexion
  • And for my fellow germaphobes- they don't really drain and clean the mud baths after each session- this was sort of hard for me to get around but my passion and dedication to research in the skincare arena helped me get over it- someones gotta make the sacrifice, right?!?  Ok, so according to the spa attendant, the peat has a natural antimicrobial property and along with the high temperature heat of the mineral water that is used to flush the mud, they've never had any issues with state inspections.  Let's just go with that and throw science to the wind!
So that's fun!

After our mud bath session, we exited the baths (carefully) and went on to rinse off in the natural mineral water from the springs.  One tip for the novices- mud. mud EVERYWHERE.  

So after rinsing we then were invited into a personal mineral bath jacuzzi which further encouraged muscle relaxation.  And finally we rested in a cool wrapping room.  Between the mud and the jacuzzi, you get pretty hot!!  The cool wrap room helps you to cool down and rest.

We paired our morning mud bath with a full body massage- which was heavenly!  And highly encouraged for deep tissue work as our muscles were already well relaxed and warmed up from our muddy morning!

Ok, so what do you think- would you partake in this muddy goodness for the sake of beauty?!
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