About as high as you can go up into the mountains in Santa Fe on the road to the Ski Basin is tucked a high-class Japanese Spa specializing in bodywork and skin care. Ten Thousand Waves. My destination. Just what I need. I desperately need. My treatment choice is NOSE TO TOES. A Mother’s Day gift certificate from Chris and Katie.
I live in Albuquerque and this would be my first road trip in three years. I gassed my Tin Lizzy, my 5-year-old Mini Cooper Clubman. Pepper white. Turbo. Added bottled water, spa directions. Put on my winter jacket. Ready to go. Finally! This is November.
I headed toward I-25. Sunny day. Cool. I am on the road. I am also on the recovering end of a devastating year. The year was 2013. Almost three years ago. I had been diagnosed with a severe rheumatoid arthritis followed by two different diagnoses of cancer. Surgery. Radiation for each. Pills forever. No relief for the RA until this year with the start of Orencia. It is a miracle drug. I am recovering from all. Made it. My trip to the Spa is a celebration of survival, determination, endurance. Both cancers in hiding. All the RA swelling and pain beating a retreat. Miracle for me. I am a lucky girl.
I had felt a little nervous getting back on the road. Would my hands be okay? Would my car? But not to worry. I can feel my car smiling as it glides upward on the climb from 5000 ft. to 7100 ft. elevation. It loves it.
There is a point in the climb where the basin opens up on the road before me. My destination is now visible in the distance. The Sangre de Cristo mountains stand guard. Always a welcome sight on every trip to Santa Fe.
Winding through Santa Fe, Artist Road, Bishop’s Lodge Road, Hyde Park Road. Street names as colorful as the city is. Climbing higher and higher on winding roads to 7300 ft. elevation. Pinons. Juniper. I finally see the sign. Park. I made it.
I climb the 92 steps to the Spa. Wood and green. I am fitter than I thought. I make the climb without a heart attack or without simply looking the fool.
I arrive at the top to meet others waiting for the spa to open. My favorite was a woman much like me. She was wearing a man’s winter hat and a large sweater. She is traveling. In search of her future, she spent her nights at monasteries along the way. Bring your own soap was her suggestion for the monastery.
The doors open and we climb some more stairs to meet a counter populated by staff signing us in. In turn for a driver’s license, I was given a kimono and a brief tour.
With lemon water in hand, I head toward the women’s changing room. Locked up all my stuff. Showered with fragrant gel. Dried with luxurious towels. Experienced the bidet, which I hadn’t seen since Paris. Wrapped in my kimono with sandaled feet, I head out. Very nice.
Waterfall. Water. Wood. Greenery. Peaceful. Very helpful staff. A good place to be. I was sent to a little sauna to wait for my treatment. Warm. Relaxing. Classic. Soon I met Marcia. She brought cucumber water for me.
In a room of quiet elegance, tinkling music, soothing atmosphere, I lay face down on the treatment table. Fine adjustments made by Marcia, I am in perfect comfort. She explains the process as we proceed. My back side is lightly rubbed with luffa gloves to stimulate my lymph circulation. Followed by a thorough, exquisite massage with delightfully warm oils. Shoulders and upper back deeply massaged. Flipped, my front received a similar treatment. Gentle Thai stretches added to the variety. An extended Yasuragi head, neck and shoulder treatment followed. “Do you mind oil in your hair?” “Of course not,” I replied with a smile. Warm camellia oil massaged into my scalp, my neck. MY body relied, fabulous.
On to my feet. A Japanese Foot Massage similar to Ashi Anma using Japanese shiatsu techniques. An appreciated attention to my weary RA feet. Of course, I am laying there wrapped in total bliss. This is followed by a foot scrub followed by a warm towel cleanse. With a warm towel to my neck. Wow. My thanks to Marsha.
I go to another little sauna to re-center myself. I am a relaxed, rejuvenated woman.
Stopping for hot tea, I return to the women’s room. I dress. Sip tea. Prepare for the journey home.
I am deeply satisfied. I am not only happy for such an impeccable treatment experience, I am happy that I have gone on my first adventure since being sick. The realization is that I can do it. I stand a little taller. My triple illnesses seem to move a little more into the distant past. My life’s future once again beckons with promise.
Thank you Chris and Katie and Madison and Nate
A beautiful well-deserved gift.