Last updated June 23, 2022
It’s always a treat to visit The Lodge at Woodloch in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, and during my latest visit I was wowed by their three new spa amenities.
The Lodge’s spa is a sanctuary for the senses. Whether it’s relaxing in the co-ed Himalayan salt sauna, enjoying the Aqua Garden’s hydromassage waterwalls or experiencing aquatic bliss in the activity pool enveloped by floor to ceiling windows, you can choose to be as active or revitalized as you wish.
All spa amenities at The Lodge at Woodloch are laser-focused on helping guests discover natural ways to improve wellness. Here are the 3 newish spa amenities at The Lodge at Woodloch that you should definitely try.
3 Woodloch Wellness Wows
1. New Spa Amenity: Aqua Garden
The Lodge at Woodloch has long had a fabulous and fun hydromassage waterfall in the same area as its pool, along with indoor and outdoor whirlpools, a eucalyptus steam room and a dry sauna, but they recently installed a Himalayan salt sauna, Tyrolean bucket shower and a snow room.
According to The Lodge’s massage therapist Stacy Shepherd, spending time in the spa and pool area going from the hot to cold rooms not only helps you get in touch with how your body responds to different stimuli, but it can have some well-proven health benefits.
In short: The water massage provided by the waterfall and whirlpools eases tension, relaxing kinky muscles. The dry heat of the sauna produces sweating that clears the pores and boosts blood circulation.
The moist heat of the steam room does much the same thing, while also moisturizing the nasal passages. Adding eucalyptus to steam can benefit the sinuses even more and is a natural disinfectant, so it both keeps the steam room clean and improves congestion.
When heated, Himalayan salt releases negatively charged ions which serve to purify the circulating air as well as allow your body to reap health benefits—relieving respiratory and skin issues and bringing the body into a balanced state.
The Tyrolean bucket shower and the Snow Room help to close the capillaries (tiny blood vessels) that have been opened by the heat of the steam rooms, saunas and hot tubs.
Whew! But there’s more… going from the hot to the cold rooms one or more times helps the body blast out waste products through the skin by sweating and via urination (which is why it’s important to drink a lot of water when using hot and cold rooms) and boosting the immune system.
But how do you approach this hot-to-cold circuit?
“I recommend starting with a few minutes in one of the steam or sauna rooms, long enough so you start to sweat,” Shepherd says. “Then you can do the cold bucket plunge or go into the Snow Room to cool down.”
The Tyrolean bucket shower will immediately cool your body with just one pull of the bucket’s cord.
“The water is very cold and can take your breath away,” Shepherd acknowledges when I express my hesitation to take the plunge.
I’d heard the screams of delight and shock mixed in with expletives after other guests poured the bucket over themselves. “It is not to everyone’s taste,” she says.
If you prefer the Snow Room, stay in until you start to feel a little cold and uncomfortable, she advises. You can wear your spa sandals, if you like, or even a robe over your swimsuit (as I did). If you have certain areas of the body that are sore or tense, you can actually rub snow on them.
In the Snow Room, the compact dry snow and the crisp cold air allow for rapid and efficient cooling that is extraordinarily gentle, mild and pleasurable. The Snow Room features snow covered branches and a bench ideal for holistic cooling of the body after the hot sauna experience.
All three new spa amenities at The Lodge of Woodloch have many health benefits, and when used together in a specific sequence the benefits are truly outstanding.
“I suggest doing the circuit of hot to cold three times, but you can do more repetitions if you like,” says Shepherd.
Be cautious though: Before you try the circuit, if you have high blood pressure or heart disease, even if they are well controlled, check with your doctor to make sure the temperature changes won’t be dangerous for your health. Heat and the heat-and-cold circuit can cause blood pressure to fluctuate unpredictably. Also don’t stay beyond 15 minutes in any hot or cold room or tub, and avoid them altogether if you are pregnant.
2. New Spa Amenity: CBD Oil Massage
Although not a brand-new spa amenity at The Lodge at Woodloch, CBD oil is on their spa menu. I gave it a try during a Lodge massage, after Ms. Shepherd suggested it might relieve the arthritis discomfort I have in both of my thumbs (a hazard of being a writer and an artist-maker).
“CBD oil is loaded with antioxidants, plus compounds called cannabinoids, which are powerful anti-inflammatories,” she says.
Although I was skeptical due to being inundated with CBD this, that and the other thing for everything that ails you, I noticed an almost-immediate abatement of the soreness in my thumbs.
“It’s important to buy quality CBD products, or you may not feel any effects,” she advises, which is why I opted to buy a vial of the oil from the Great Things Boutique at The Lodge to take home with me ($60 for 0.75 mL of the 500-mg concentration, sourced from Vermont).
The product contains CBDs extracted from the hemp plant, and has negligible amounts of THC (the ingredient in marijuana that makes you high), so no worries there.
3. New Spa Amenity: HAIA Facials
Next up: HAIA Wellness, a new skincare line that The Lodge adopted this past year. HAIA stands for “Happy As I Am,” a philosophy that encourages people to drop the quest for perfection and feel good about themselves just as they are.
The organic brand is produced in the United States and has four separate lines of products designed to combat the most common lifestyle concerns affecting the skin, such as poor urban air quality, climate changes, blue light from exposure to electronic devices, stress and imbalances in the skin’s microbiome (part of the skin’s barrier that contains a delicate mix of good and bad bacteria).
“Giving guests permission (and tools) to fully love the skin they’re in is such a nice message that is truly needed in this moment,” says Nancy Deaton, Spa Director at The Lodge at Woodloch.
Agreed. I love the sentiment of feeling good about myself, even if my skin isn’t perfect. I also really enjoyed the luxurious but somehow down-to-earth feel of the products on my face, so much so that I bought a couple of products to use at home—something I rarely do at spas.
But then again, I was in a spending-and-wellness mood: In addition to the CBD oil and face products, I also bought two of the Lodge’s ultra-comfortable down pillows, which were surprisingly affordable at $57 a piece; Sport Tea, a delicious green iced tea with no added sugar and very little caffeine so it is actually energizing rather than sedating; and funky, fragrant bar soaps.
After all, what’s the point of going on a wellness retreat if you’re not going to bring a little bit of the serenity home with you?
Related: Get Creative During a Spa Retreat
Vacayou’s travel concierge team can help you discover, book and plan your next meaningful spa experience at The Lodge at Woodloch. We are here to help create a healthier global community through wellness and active travel.