Lost Girls Spa Review: Skana

New York State, Spa & Beauty — By on November 3, 2009 at 11:13 am

By Holly Corbett
LG Executive Editor

I usually equate casinos more with the smell of cigarettes and flashing lights than with the smell of sage and bubbling mineral baths, but I experienced both at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York. Run by the Oneida Indian Nation, their spa named Skana (which is the Oneida word for “peace”), offers the total experience: sauna, steam room, jacuzzi, mineral bath, and treatments that use natural elements such as the Sage and White Pine Hot Towel Massage. Another thing that sets them apart from other spas is their sweat lodge built with willow and draped with buffalo hides. Sweat lodges have long been used as a way to detox the body and purify the spirit.

I didn’t try the sweat lodge, and my favorite thing about the spa wasn’t actually the treatments, but the relaxation area. Anyone who books a treatment gets to use it for the entire day, and can try the DIY “Balancing Waters Ritual.” This basically means jumping in and out of cool and hot water, as well as the steam room and sauna, to boost your circulatory and nervous systems.

First, you sit in the steam room for five to 1o minutes to help sweat out toxins. Then you jump in a cool shower for one minute to increase your circualtion (this is not comfortable, but it feels refreshing in the end). Then you hop into the sauna for another five to 10 minutes to clear out your sinuses and relax your muscles. After that, it’s a cold shower again before soaking in the luke-warm mineral pool (the 18-plus different kinds of minerals are said to be restorative). When you’re all done, you can lounge in the low-lit relaxation area with fruit water to wait for your therapist. It’s believed that getting rid of stress and increasing circulation like this before a treatment preps your body to better receive the benefits of your massage or facial. All I know is that my body felt so relaxed from doing this, I felt like I had a treatment even before I went in for my facial. That all ended, of course, when I met my grandmother in the casino connected to the spa’s lodge, and lost all my money with her playing Bingo.

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