No longer just for the ‘now,’ this Cali spa teaches for the future
“Have you read the paperwork?” asked my mom. “It says, ‘To prepare for your fast’ … Are we fasting?” We weren’t entirely sure what we had signed up for, but we heard rumors that Tracy Ullman, Ben Affleck and Alicia Silverstone had all been here. And when Gwen Stefani was asked how she stays in shape, she attributed it to visits to We Care. The rustic desert atmosphere is complete with rock gardens, two Jacuzzis, a pool, labyrinth, trampolines and walking trails. Even if you’re a celebrity in your own mind, you’ll fit right in. Even cab drivers may warn you, “If you need some contraband cheeseburgers, let me know,” as they pull in front of the nonpretentious entrance of We Care Spa in Palm Springs, Calif.
There are two options available at We Care – a week or just three days. The first time around, the weekend option is recommended as the best way to get started, especially when you discover that no solid food is served here. The cornerstone of the program is a complete cleanse: mind, body and spirit. This is achieved through a liquid diet, spa treatments and colon irrigation. Although the goal of the spa isn’t weight loss, that is a definite by-product. While you are here, you give your digestive system a break. You do take in plenty of vitamins and minerals, but with nothing solid to digest, your system rests.
Before arrival, the mandate is to eat only fruits and vegetables for four days. This may be hard to do, but it becomes more palatable when you count the vegetable plates at Ruggles and the Black Lab as ample preparation. Getting over the emotional attachment to food is the hardest part of an all-liquid diet; you wonder if you can actually make it through the weekend. The truth is: The staff at We Care makes fasting easy.
All of the supplements you need are packed and labeled in a handy plastic bag. You have a checklist to complete, and you take a pill or have a drink every 30 minutes. Focusing on this regimen keeps you busy. Also, the combination of fluids and treatments makes you feel great and not at all hungry (if you can believe that). If you’ve ever heard that food makes you crave food, it’s true. Therefore, the lack of food also curbs your cravings.
The kitchen area is where all the action is. (It’s fun to refer to this area as “the bar.”) Imagine being in one of the nicest custom kitchens ever with a huge marble island. You hang out all day drinking tea, lemon water, vegetable juice and the special treat of hot vegetable soup, only served from 4 – 10 p.m. Instead of thinking about food, you’re too busy scheduling facials, massages and yoga classes.
The Thai massage is a unique experience that takes place on a thin floor mattress. The therapist contorts your body in multiple directions – many positions you aren’t even sure you’ve ever been in before. More focused on stretching than massage, some moves are almost gymnastics-like. All the while, you breathe deeply to keep the oxygen flowing. There is a lot of focus on your feet, as they are rubbed with stones, twisted, bent, flexed and turned. Stretching is so important to increase the viability of your muscles; and proper stretching will keep them healthy for years and years.
During the detoxifying process, the organ that excretes the largest amounts of toxins is the skin. Many of the treatments are specifically geared to help with fasting. The Desert Date Polish is basically a body scrub to exfoliate. Ingredients include sage, juniper and dates. This is recommended at least once to increase the detox process. Your skin will be shiny all afternoon after this one.
The Korean Splash is a new treatment that is given in a special tepee-shaped room right off of the labyrinth. When you enter the room, you will notice a bathtub filled with water. Deceptively, you don’t get into the bath; in fact, the water is poured over you by the technician while you lie on the table. This pouring sensation, in and of itself, is very cleansing. First your dead skin is brushed off; then you are drenched. Next, you receive a sage body wash that is reminiscent of your mom scrubbing you from head to toe when you were a kid; and you are drenched. For the finishing touch, your scalp is massaged and shampooed. It’s an incredible feeling as the warm water pours over your scalp. If you’re wondering where all the water goes, the floor is slanted so it flows right out of the room.
When treatments are complex, it makes them all the more relaxing. The We Care Euphoria begins with a warm bath. The major treat here is a fabulous smoothie with protein and soy milk. The bathtub is outside, and mockingbirds soar overhead. Then, you shed your own skin as you are exfoliated and massaged.
The name “We Care” rings true, as the staff really does care. There are classes each day that help you understand how to improve your eating habits when you get home if you’d like to continue the regimen. When you are making dietary changes, you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be better. You can’t change everything, but if you’ll change a little bit, you are on your way to making healthy choices 80 percent of the time.
Enjoy the grounds
The labyrinth is an ancient maze made of stones on the ground. As you walk toward the center, you focus on your breathing and release the thoughts that come to your mind. If you have an intention, meditate on it in the center. Then as you leave, you are ready to accept new energy and insights. You’ll be amazed with how clearly you are able to think when preservatives are out of your system.
Although many spas preach the detox mantra, no other combines the diet with treatments and colonics. This rejuvenating and recharging holistic spa experience is one of a kind in the United States.
We Care Spa
Palm Springs, Calif.
1 (800) 888-2523