Lumeria Crystal Spa

Health Spa in Maui

Health Spa within Health Retreat

"I was setting the energy in the room for you," Karin tells me, "and fairies showed up."

Something about Karin – the clarity of her sky-blue eyes, the exuberant agelessness of her skin – convinces me enough of her sincerity to continue following her. Owner Xorin Balbes has told me that she’s amazing, one of the star practitioners among the elite chosen staff at Lumeria’s Crystal Spa.

“Well,” I think, “when in Maui…"

The shala (Sanskrit for “pure and intimate home”) is a cabin about the size of a bedroom in a New York City starter apartment, but its white curtained walls give it a more spacious feel. Karin clears a row of crystals from the center of the massage table and motions to a large geode on the shelf beside, telling me to take off my jewelry and hang it up "in any arrangement that feels right to you." And strangely, as she exits the room, I do find a certain whimsical pleasure in intentionally hanging my rings, necklace and earrings on the geode's craggy points. Maybe this is the thing, I muse--drawing your intention away from the urgency of eliminating your particular stress, to something entirely willful and purely aesthetic.

Before beginning the massage, Karin talks to me – not only about the physical issues I might like her to address, but about any underlying questions or misgivings I might be harboring. This is a central tenet of Lumeria’s philosophy toward hospitality – that health is affected as much by the emotions and the mind as by physical habits. “You have your mind for a reason," she objects, her eyes sparkling at the double entendre. There's no harm in letting the mind ask its questions and search for reasons, as long as it doesn't keep you from moving forward on your journey.

This is the point at which I feel I can trust her. Which is probably the most important component of this kind of therapy, and indeed many of the mind/body/spirit wellness protocols that Lumeria's Crystal Spa offers. Cranio-sacral therapy stands somewhere between the more familiar forms – facials, acupuncture – and the esoteric, like island mud rituals and Janta, a protocol that involves “singing your soul.”

It's a form of massage, but is less of an application than of an assist to the body's own eagerness to heal itself. Through light touch and prolonged, supportive holding of certain joints or ligaments, the body locates its own stuck points and, improbably, often manages to work them out.

Cranio-sacral therapy is a highly individualized protocol; every person's experience will be different, and what you went in hoping to address (in my case, a chronically stuck right hip and occasional migraines in the back of my head) might not be the real issue needful of address. But I've never encountered anyone who hasn't left a session of this therapy feeling that their time was wasted. Karin’s approach is meditative, interactive and, as a result, much more personal. Allowing the body to retreat into itself, to find and address its own issues, with the encouragement of a skilled practitioner, is an exhausting and transcendent experience, and always requires a lot of water and a lot of sleep afterward – even more than traditional massage techniques would advise.

I left feeling both drowsy and refreshed…as well as educated, since Karin gave me some advice on how to shift my sitting posture just slightly, in a way that would greatly improve my hip issues. But the tiredness was somehow exhilarating, as if I had completed a marathon swim in the ocean, or spent the whole day praying – I felt as if I had drained the undesirable from my system and was breathing a more rarefied air. I slept that night as soundly as a lumberjack, drifting off to sleep with the vague wonder if there might not actually be such things as fairies, and if Karin might not be one of them.

Chelsea Batten is an itinerant journalist and photographer

Photographs courtesy of Lumeria Maui

Reviewer's Rating
Facilities Pool, Jacuzzi, Treatment Rooms, Relaxation Room
Suitable For Mixed
Treatments Available Massage, Facial, Body Wraps, Yoga

Additional Price Comments

Packages start from $250.

Last updated on 23-08-2014

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