What's two feet long and packed to deliver quivering, blubbering pleasure? The massaging rainsticks at the Emerald Grande Resort in Destin, Fla. The rainstick massage begins with in-house specialist Melissa Smith showing off four, well-oiled rainsticks, kept toasty warm in heated blankets. The rainsticks are at their most effective as a therapy tool on my back thighs and calves - bits that get shortchanged in traditional Swedish massage.
The size and leverage of the sticks allow Ms. Smith to work major muscles with ease. Each time she spins the sticks over my shoulders, a kiss of sonic rain caresses my ears, deepening the sedative effect. Ms. Smith seals off every rhythmic section with a touch of freestyle, hands-on bodywork - throwing her whole being into the task.
An ideal therapy for runners, rainstick massage actively stretches and passively exercises all major muscle groups. During exercise, lactic acid can build to critical levels, sacrificing optimal performance. This massage technique expedites the muscular discharge of lactic acid and encourages its conversion into glucose by the liver. The rolling, twisting and compressing diffuses barrier trigger points, converting aching non-compliant muscle to soothed compliant muscle.
For destination-obsessed spa-goers partial to stunning natural settings, it doesn't get much better than Destin, Florida's shining jewel of a coastline. The Spa at Emerald Grande overlooks turquoise surf and sugar-white sand beaches. Beautifully appointed relaxation areas boast commanding views of the Gulf, while the spa's exemplary staff provides the highest levels of personalized care. Combine this with one spectacular, meditative seaside sunset and you'll witness first-hand the wellness paradise that is the Emerald Grande.
Emerald Grande Resort and Spa at 10 Harbor Boulevard; Destin; 1-800-676-0091; www.emeraldgrande.com; $195 for 90 minutes.
Si Si Penaloza
Special to The Globe and Mail