Vida Spas, Vancouver

Vida is synonymous with ‘spa’ in the west as it first welcomed guests in 1987 in the Fairmont Chateau Whistler.

In January 2010 it opened its doors in the Westin Bayshore adding to its well established facilities in Vancouver’s Sutton Place Hotel, Wall Centre and Seattle’s Pan Pacific Hotel.

In Vancouver, 84 well-trained practitioners move between the three locations and while there are many treatment options, it is the Ayurvedic menu that has fans beating a path to Vida’s doors.

The 5,000 year-old Indian practice means ‘science of life’ and the belief is that every person follows under one of three doshas (or constitutions) –Vata, Pitta or Kapha. An Ayurvedic treatment works on bringing your dosha into balance harmony.

Michael Strickland, massage therapist extraordinaire, slathered me with sunflower and coconut oil infused with lemongrass, peppermint, fennel, lavender and sandalwood, a cooling combo as apparently my Pitta is high.

He began with long, steady strokes on my feet and legs, utilizing strong thumb pressure at certain points. My back and buttocks were well worked on and while there was no kneading in this massage, I found the fluid, intense pressure released knots especially in my shoulders and my lower arms.

During the treatment, a heated towel was moved around on my body, my knees were soothingly warmed while my well-oiled skull was coaxed into a relaxed state — a strange but welcome feeling. Michael brings worldly experience to the massage table and he shares his knowledge: For instance, those of us prone toward a high Pitta hold stress in our joints. I was given tips on deep breathing, eating and sleeping.

Since each Ayurvedic treatment is customized according on one’s individual dosha, the specifics of my treatment may not apply. I can also guarantee, however, that at Vida Spas Ayurveda will work its wonders on you.