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Aging Well: Self-care gets personal

Trends in self-care include personalized services and products, holistic offerings, and technology-based solutions.

This biweekly column is sponsored by The Mather in Tysons, Virginia, a forward-thinking Life Plan Community for those 62 and better.

Gone are the days when spas were simply places where you would choose from a menu of three or four massage options. Today, trends in day spas and the self-care industry are in step with a broader trend of personalized wellness.

“People today want products and services that are customized to their specific needs, whether related to skin care or body work,” says William Wesley Myers, assistant vice president of wellness strategies for Mather, the organization that recently opened The Mather, a Life Plan Community for those 62 and better in Tysons, Virginia. “This trend is not surprising — it’s similar to what’s happening in other wellness areas, such as boutique fitness centers and exercise studios, the prevalence of personal training, and even individualized dietary supplement plans.”

The spa at The Mather, called Marzenia (the Polish word for hopes or aspirations), offers luxury services that are based on a mix of high-tech and holistic features. For example, residents might begin their spa visit at the Blend Bar, which features a live herb wall, collection of dried herbs and aromatics, and library of global wellness recipes. Working with a spa professional, they can concoct their own unique natural therapies, whether that means mixing a detoxifying mud or making a revitalizing scrub. “We offer a range of solutions that’s as diverse as the needs they meet, each crafted to address specific conditions of the skin and body,” explains William.

Holistic treatments such as this are a powerful spa trend. “People today are more conscious of what they put in — and on — their bodies,” says William. “By offering natural ingredients and therapies, we avoid introducing chemicals and, at the same time, lessen our community’s environmental footprint.” The Mather is working with Comfort Zone, an Italian company that uses natural products with a focus on global sustainability. “We use their line of regenerative, effective, and sustainable face and body products, treatments, and rituals, which are developed in a scientific botanical garden in Parma, Italy,” says William.

Residents of The Mather can also enjoy the all-natural therapeutic benefits of Marzenia’s Breath Lounge, which features a wall of Himalayan sea salt and a halogenerator that releases microscopic salt particles into the air. “Evidence-based research shows that this treatment promotes respiratory health, reduces inflammation, and enhances relaxation,” says William. “Regular sessions can significantly enhance your overall wellness, offering both physical and mental health benefits.”

Another spa trend, which may seem to be the flip side of holistic treatments, is offerings based on technology. “Today’s consumers are not afraid to embrace high-tech options, particularly when we can show them the research backing up the outcomes,” says William.

One example of this is the Gharieni Welnamis spa wave bed, which uses computer-controlled vibrational therapy and audio frequencies to train the brain to relax. Similar to meditation, certain sounds heard through stereo headphones slow mental activity, while the bed’s vibrational frequencies target the body’s energy centers.

“The wave bed can specifically target stress, depression, and poor sleep, as well as headaches and difficulty focusing,” says William. “The technology was developed to treat post-traumatic stress disorders of American veterans — but we offer it to allow residents to select their desired wellness journey.”

Another wellness-tech option available in The Mather: a private sauna, which uses infrared light therapy to boost circulation, relieve muscle tension, and promote cellular renewal. “This advanced technology gently heats the body, promoting deep muscle relaxation, enhancing detoxification, and boosting circulation, all within a comfortably warm environment. It’s an ideal start to stimulate your body’s natural healing process,” says William.

Those interested in self-care have so many more options now than in the recent past; it should be easy to build effective, personalized treatments that target personal goals and needs, whether that treatment involves live herbs or audio frequencies. “Everyone’s wellness journey is unique, and there’s no reason you can’t use a spa visit to create your very own transformative experience,” says William.

The Mather in Tysons, VA, for those 62 and better, is a forward-thinking Life Plan Community that defies expectations of what senior living is supposed to be. It opened in March 2024.

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