A Sensory Journey at Telluride’s Newest Spa
by Martinique Davis
Aug 11, 2008 | 949 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
TELLURIDE – My trip to new Telluride Mind Body Spa begins with what owner Darla Murray Loomis calls a “sensory journey.” We sit facing each other in squat, 200-year-old Buddhist meditation chairs nestled close together in the small, earth-toned room. Loomis has an array of petite glass jars ready, the contents of which she explains will represent the pathways of this journey.

“Aromatherapy is nurture by nature,” she says, unscrewing the top of one of the bottles of essential oils and motioning me to take a whiff. “Your body knows what it needs to bring itself back into balance. So when you smell these oils, your body will tell you if it’s what you need or not. You don’t have to think about, it’s just a yes or no response. So, yes or no?”

“No,” I respond to the first oil, and she begins unscrewing the cap to another. And so we proceed through an array of different scents, all crafted by Aveda, until I’ve chosen my favorite. Bergamot.

Bergamot, Loomis explains, is used to promote focus and mental clarity and has an energizing effect. Prior to my visit, I had talked myself into a midday latte, needing a little afternoon energizing. She put a few drops of the oil into my open palms and instructed me to rub them together, then cup them lightly over my nose and mouth. She then talked me through a short breathing meditation.

This aroma-filled process is how all Mind Body Spa clients begin their massage or facial treatment at Telluride’s newest spa, located on the west end of main street. As Loomis explains, the process helps customers to connect their mind to their physical body, which in turn assists them in being “present” for the healing treatment that follows.

The sensory journey is a pre-treatment custom Loomis has been practicing with her clients for some time now. Throughout the 1990s she owned and operated the first “day” spa in the Midwest, where aromatherapy-based therapy became Loomis’s calling card. More recently, she worked for Aveda, a nature-based skin, body, and hair care company, developing Aveda spas throughout the Midwest. But when she moved to Telluride last winter with her husband, Loomis didn’t imagine she would be opening another spa within six months. Her creative nature wouldn’t let her hands rest for long, however, and the Telluride Mind Body Spa opened June 19 in the cozy space at 398 W. Colorado Avenue.

Loomis’ spa is designed for those who are, she says, looking for a little education along with their body treatment. “Our goal is to help our clients be present, not looking to the future or the past but being in the moment,” she says, explaining that the highest level of healing and holistic nurturing can occur when people are conscious of both their existing mental state as well as their current physical condition. The idea that clients could walk out of their treatment having experienced more than just a relaxing physical encounter is reflected in the name of Loomis’s new spa: Telluride Mind Body.

Her philosophy of whole-being therapy through mindful spa treatments has been refined throughout much of her life, most of which has been spent in the cosmetology industry. Her father owned and operated a chain of hair salons in Indiana for nearly 40 years, raising his daughter in the midst of salon culture. Loomis says that growing up “behind the scenes” of an industry devoted to appearances helped her recognize that, “outward appearances were not always a reflection of a person’s inner reality.” This realization – that the salon industry was dedicated to grooming a person’s exterior while doing little to help cultivate their emotional wellbeing – propelled Loomis into exploring a more mindful route within the industry. She started as a “feng shui” haircutter, (she says that she still views hair cutting as a form of art,) and eventually got into aromatherapy bodywork.

The menu at Telluride Mind Body Spa reflects Loomis’s objective of providing a more holistic approach to the traditional spa experience. Mind Body Spa’s Swedish, Deep, and Hot River Rock massages all utilize Aveda plant and flower essences customized to the individual, and begin with a thorough consultation with therapist, breath meditation, as well as an essential oil footbath. Spa facials also begin with the aforementioned pampering process and are customized using Aveda products. All haircuts also include neck, shoulder, and back massage.

Telluride Mind Body Spa will be celebrating its Grand Opening Tuesday, Aug. 12 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., offering free stress relieving treatments, sensory journeys, and hand facials. For more information, visit www.telluridemindbodyspa.com or call the spa at 728-5070.

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