Not long ago, I stashed my daughter with our relatives in Seattle and spent a couple of days savoring a rare dose of solitude just downtown at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel. I selected the Fairmont because of its Jeremy Todd Wellness Spa and Salon. Wellness strategies are an increasingly popular offering at spas these days, and I was curious to see how in sync holistic philosophies were with manicures, pedicures, and facials.

I signed up for a few spa classics and then added an Ayurvedic body polish, a rhythmic AromaLomi massage, and a nutrition analysis. (I also signed up for high tea, but that was a different type of indulgence, offered in the hotel's exquisite dining hall.)

On my mind this month
  • I scheduled a gentlemen's facial for my husband, who loved it.
  • For a rich dessert tea that's caffeine free, try organic Numi Ruby Chai with a touch of milk.
  • Roasted (and raw) sesame seeds have been a yummy addition to pasta dishes.

My first afternoon at the spa, I could see that the wellness approach would offer me more than what I like to call "beauty secrets." The facial aesthetician suggested I use a heavier cream to keep my skin moist in Colorado's dry climate. She also thought my body would most effectively absorb water by eating more fruits and vegetables. The body polish and massage left me feeling energized, smooth, and relaxed through both scents and touch.

But it was the nutrition analysis, with licensed acupuncturist Nancy Fiacco, that most stayed with me after I returned home. Although Nancy recommended steering clear of dairy, she taught me, among many things, that if I did eat dairy I should pair it with cardamom to counteract any negative effects. She also suggested that to better sustain energy throughout the day I switch out my daytime meals, having a dinnerlike protein such as salmon for breakfast (rather than cereal, though she OK'd warm oatmeal), and a lighter lunch. She left me with a list of foods for my specific needs and suggested a couple of books that would guide me.

What impressed me most about Nancy and her colleagues was that, tucked away in the basement of one of Seattle's fanciest hotels, this dedicated, down-to-earth team is helping to educate others about the natural lifestyle. Perhaps you can seek out something similar in your neck of the woods.

—Jean Weiss