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RELAX AND UNWIND

Spa treatments and bath rituals have been around for thousands of years. History tells us that Egyptians were the first to discover the uses of water and oils for therapeutic purposes. Olive and sesame oils were used first; as time went on, practitioners introduced herbs, teas and other oils.

According to the Spa Traveller (thespatraveller.com), Egyptians began to produce unguents (healing ointments for the skin) in the form of a pleasant-smelling oily substance made up of myrrh, frankincense, cinnamon and cassia.

The Greeks and Romans soon emulated the Egyptians, and used spa treatments to keep people clean and beautiful. Various regimens were used for healing purposes and even to ward off evil spirits.

Today, as well as in 3,000 B.C., water is a key ingredient. Pure or from the sea, it is vital in healing and cleansing, whether in steam baths, water therapy, hydro and mineral pools, facials and massages.

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The living wall at the EVANGELINE spa at the Epicurean Hotel is literally just that - a structure with cilantro, mint and other herbs growing from within. There's a freshness to the new 2,800-square-foot spa, which includes products from FarmHouse Fresh (based in Texas) and Caudalie (from vineyards in Bordeaux, France). Many treatments use warm spring water, soothing for both body and mind. Mix it with healthy herbs, citrus grass sea salt, alfalfa root and rice bran oil for the Bask in the Garden Beauty treatment. Or enjoy the Dulce Delight, with a caramel-coffee salt scrub of caffeine and Arabica bean extract. Top off any treatment with a signature dessert from Chocolate Pi, now open at the hotel. Indulge.

Evangeline

1203 S Howard Ave., Tampa

(813) 999-8742

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With the 50,000-square-foot spa and fitness center, the Safety Harbor Resort and Spa is a site of bliss. Overlooking the waters of Tampa Bay, the resort has a historic past. Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto is credited with discovering five natural springs in the area in 1539. Today, that very same water is used in several spa treatments, including Lavender Dreams, above. This experience includes 25 minutes of an Espiritu Springs mineral bath and 80 minutes of the Lavender Dreams Ultimate Experience. Lavender has been used for centuries to soothe aching muscles, relieve fatigue and help with stress and anxiety. Mix with water, and feel the magic work.

Safety Harbor Resort and Spa

105 N Bayshore Drive, Safety Harbor

(727) 726-1161

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When you get a treatment at Spa Oceana in the Loews Don CeSar Hotel in St. Pete Beach, plan on using all your senses to enjoy every bit of this heavenly place. The gulf waves produce a gentle, soothing sound, the view on the rooftop deck is peaceful and quiet, and the salt air is refreshing. Add in scents of pineapple, orange or coconut and the gentle touch of a therapist using pure cane sugar body polish and a creamy milk soak on your body. The Tropical Perfecting Ritual uses Pure Figi products, above. This body treatment, which removes dry cell buildup, is followed by a relaxing shower and massage. Afterward, just breathe and relax.

Spa Oceana

3400 Gulf Blvd. , St. Pete Beach

(727) 363-5029

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