Ah, the touch of honey. I could wax poetic over my “Just Bee” massage treatment that I had at the Bagua Spa-and I shall! The spa is tucked away in the five-star Casa Colonial along the amber coast of the Dominican Republic. I had expected many gems on my journey, but not this one. (For me, honey had been relegated to a dollop in a cup of tea.) Honey was sticky stuff, not something I associated with the gliding hands of a gifted masseuse. But now I know better. As to the potent ingredients of the “Just Bee” treatment (50 minutes, $94), here’s what the buzz is about.
A renowned rejuvenator that’s rich in amino acids, royal jelly, otherwise known as the “bees’ milk,” is the substance that protects the queen bee–and we know how important she is. Honey, with its noted antibiotic, anti-inflammatory properties, has been shown to aid in the healing process of topical wounds, as well as to soften and to beautify the skin. Propolis, the resinous sap that bees collect to mix with wax in their hives, contains antibacterial properties that boost the immune system. (The spa’s warm oils mixed with the propolis can be attributed to the silkiness of the Just Bee treatment.) Quite frankly, the physical experience along with my skin’s afterglow from this deeply relaxing, therapeutic treatment is worth the trip alone.
While the extremely knowledgeable and personable spa director Carole Schor touts the numerous virtues of this indigenous treatment that was inspired by local Dominican bees, she offers a very simple at-home remedy. Schor recommends that every two weeks you just dip into the honey pot for a facial that will provide the mild exfoliation and nourishment that your skin so needs.
Honey Yogurt & Aloe Vera Masque
This recipe comes from Michael Simmons, spa director at the new eco-friendly RockResorts Spa in Keystone, Colorado. This is a moisturizing masque that’s ideal for cold weather and dry climates.
• 1-2 tablespoons plain yogurt
• 1 ounce local honey
• 1 ounce aloe vera liquid (do not use the gel because it usually contains unnatural additives, advises Simmons)
In a small bowl, mix all of the ingredients. Apply the mixture to the face and allow it to sit for about 15 minutes. It may be applied cold, or for an added sensory experience, heat the mixture for 30 to 40 seconds in the microwave and, when warm, apply it to the face. Rinse with warm water.
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By Juliet Heeg, Organic Spa magazine