Slough Off Winter

Time for spring cleaning—shed winter skin and quench the thirst for spring.

Slough Off Winter
Randall Nelson
Let’s talk dry skin. I don’t know about you, but as winter and windchills hit, I run for cover, seeking asylum in steamy showers and solace in the latest lip balms and the thickest lotion I can find this side of Crisco. The lack of sunlight makes me ornery and my skin gets dull, despite my best efforts to cleanse, exfoliate, moisturize, repeat endlessly. So this year: a skin revolution. An experiential—massage, facial, and body wrap—at The Marsh, Ruth Stricker’s pioneering spa. Here’s how I got my glow from head to toe.

First, a Swedish massage—the type most people consider standard—to get totally relaxed. A wide range of massage therapies, including hot stone, Shiatsu, and acupressure, are out there to invigorate your body. (At The Marsh, specialists offer the more exotic Thai yoga massage and Watsu, where you float in a heated pool while getting a rubdown.) Massage has a variety of benefits, but mainly improves blood flow and unties the knots that cause a variety of aches and pains. I had quite a few knots, according to my attentive therapist.

The Body Wrap—this spring’s surprise treatment for me (these should be required by law). I spent five minutes in a steam shower (after minute one I was a little nervous, but then enjoyed every steamy second). Fully covered in moisture, I hopped up on a heated table and relaxed while the esthetician slathered me first with an exfoliant, then a clay mask that soothed. Thusly covered, I was wrapped like a burrito in some type of Cling Wrap and a blanket. I baked, daydreaming, for about fifteen minutes. Then into the Swiss shower—a stall with twelve heads—for a dreamy ten minutes to rinse (and wish for my own). Then back up on the bed for a moisturizer with massage. I didn’t think I could get off the table. It was that good. And my skin still felt soft, smooth, and—gasp!—still hydrated a week later.

After my body dessert, I headed for a facial. Weather and stress had definitely taken a toll on my face, so I was looking forward to some rejuvenation. What I didn’t expect was to be so relaxed that the facialist was concerned I’d fallen into a coma as she massaged, coated, wiped, coaxed, and rinsed. I had major dry spots, she informed me, but combination skin. She poked, prodded, and rubbed my face into such a glow I didn’t wear blush on my pale face the rest of the day (and I had a date). The softness and clarity of my face kept a spring in my step for days. 

I don’t think I’m alone in this winter-doldrums dilemma, so I’m sharing this priceless advice: for three hours, three esthetician-wizards, and about $300, you can rinse Old Man Winter down the drain and feel like spring is finally on its way. I wanted to sing and dance walking out of the spa. And for extra punch, next year I’m definitely doing some kind of hair/deep conditioning treatment (oh, and going lighter for spring is also good), and a pretty-pink mani and pedi. Wait . . . maybe there’s still time this year . . . 

The Marsh, 15000 Minnetonka Blvd., Minnetonka, 952-935-2202