Indigenous Canadian Spa Treatments Take a Bronze in Glamour and a Gold in Execution

by  Melisse Gelula | Feb 22, 2010
Spa / kzenon/iStock

has its lomilomi, Bali its lulur, and India its Ayurvedic repertoire, but Canada’s indigenous spa treatments (cold-stone massage, anyone?) don’t readily come to mind. That’s kind of a shame since the treatments I’ve had across the Great White North tend to swap glamour for substance, in true Canadian fashion. Plus the number of training hours for therapists far exceeds the requirements of most U.S. states, and it shows. (And you can bet the Winter Olympic athletes are availing themselves of remedies for their muscle spasms, wipeouts, and windburn.) Here are three spa services that originate in Canada. They’re on the earthy, not flashy side, but they get a gold in execution.

Maple facials and body scrubs
Ben Kaminsky is Canada’s cosmetic chemist in chief (formerly a pharmaceutical one). The Montrealer’s range of results-oriented skin and body-care products all contain an antioxidant extract called bio-maple, tapped from the sap of Canada’s emblematic tree. The hydrating and exfoliating ingredient is in the B. Kamins maple sugar scrub treatment and Beyond Botox Facial, offered at Willow Stream Spas, and many more throughout Canada (and the U.S.).

Pacific Ocean seaweed treatments
Diane Bernard, known in British Columbia simply as the Seaweed Lady, is a seaweed harvester and the beauty-product formulator of Seaflora. She’s also a leader in the sea-to-massage table movement, having appealed to the National Organic Program to recognize seaweeds grown in clean water as “organic.” Her hand-culled and handmade decidedly unaromatic products are used in luxurious treatments facial and body treatments top spas like Vancouver’s CHI Spa at the Shangri-La Hotel.

Moor mud wraps
Even Torontonians have probably never heard of Casselman, Ontario, whose claim to fame is the purity of their Golden Moor Mud, dug from a supposedly pollution-free lake. Of course, mud has been used in face masks, body wraps, and baths from the Romans on (the Italians call it fango)—and as a pain reducer, since it’s a great, long-lasting conductor of heat. It’s one of those double-duty ingredients that draws out dirt in your pores as it deposits minerals into your skin. The pull-push effect makes it a popular service at Ste. Anne’s Country Inn & Spa, in Grafton, and Spa Eastman, in Quebec.

Check out our Canada Travel Guide for more trip-planning information.

Shangri-La Vancouver CHIA Spa
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