Not just fluff and buff: Spas emphasize wellness over beauty | Lifestyle

NEW YORK — Unplug. Breathe. Relax.

Wellness rather than beauty was the message this week at the annual International Spa Association event in New York. While there were plenty of skin products and treatments on display, the bigger trend in the spa world remains alleviating stress.

“We’re not just fluff and buff,” said Erin Stremcha, spokeswoman for the Well & Being Spa, with locations in Las Vegas, Dallas, Arizona and Puerto Rico. “Be healthy and have fun but also take something away that you can apply to your daily life.”

As part of that quest for serenity, Sundara Inn & Spa, in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, asks guests to put away electronics. “Silence is the new luxury,” said Sundara spokeswoman Carla Minsky. “The idea is to unplug, disconnect.” Sundara has “conversation-free areas,” meditation trails and an emphasis on silent sports like hiking, kayaking, biking and, in the winter, snowshoeing. Also highly encouraged: napping in hammocks.

Machines vs. Human Touch

Gadgets, chairs and beds do everything from massaging your back to generating sound waves. The ame Spa & Wellness Collective at Turnberry Isle Miami in Aventura, Florida, showed off high-end Gharieni spa wave beds with features like tables that feel like warm sand on the back and headphones supplying binaural beats, which are different tones in each ear designed to calm the mind.

Also on display, the O2 chair, which applies rollers up and down your back while you inhale oxygen through a tube and listen to guided breathing instructions through headphones.

To get that bliss-spa feeling at home, a company called Airome sells aromatherapy diffusers in a variety of styles, colors and materials to match your decor — porcelain, glass, ceramic and metal, $30-$40, with essential oils, $8-$12.

But there’s still a place for the human touch. The Chuan…

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