Wellness Spa Splurges

Wellness centers prove that finding peace can be a healthy thing.


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Well, Well, Well

When is a spa not a spa? When it’s a wellness center.

A case in point is Soma Wellness Center, housed in a warren of rooms in an old house on a busy corner in Farmington. While not a day spa in the strictest sense (you can’t get a manicure here), there is a sign in the entry touting the benefits of a seasonal facial and there is an aesthetician on staff.

Soma is at the other end of the spa spectrum; its focus is on holistic health—with a decidedly Eastern influence. At its heart is Ayurveda (translation: “the science of life”), an ancient Indian healing discipline that makes use of diet, exercise, breathing and meditation, massage and herbs in a journey toward health and happiness. “Not everyone needs to live an Ayurvedic lifestyle,” says owner Danielle Dampf, “but it can help when there is something missing, when we move away from understanding the cycle of the seasons, when we lose balance.”

According to Dampf, an Ayurvedic practitioner can help you restore that sense of balance by divining what your current body type or constitution is, assessing what is currently off-kilter therein, and prescribing a diet of appropriate foods and simple lifestyle changes. Herbs, yoga and massage are not required, but are believed to hasten the wellness process. Dampf believes that “working with muscle, tissue and bone” is only one way to achieve balance and good health. “Our best medicine is food,” she says. “And beyond that we recommend only organic skin-care regimens.”

There’s nothing mystical about a consultation with Soma’s certified Ayurvedic practitioner, Grace Hvasta-Petrarca, who says that when she found Ayurveda, she felt that she had found her life’s calling. Words like dosha, abhyanga and shirodhara fall easily off her tongue, but she doesn’t proselytize and she doesn’t tell you to give up your morning coffee. A marma massage follows the consult. This is a nurturing treatment that uses warm oil and hot towel compresses to open up the 107 marma points in the body. It is said to detoxify, aid weight loss and help balance the seven chakras, aka energy centers, of your body. How do you say “bliss” in Sanskrit?

Wellness Spa Splurges

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