Keeping nature, body and spirit in harmony: what I’ve learned at Anazoe Spa

Sea water, olive oil, sage, and pomace; all the expert therapists at Costa Navarino’s holistic wellness center, Anazoe Spa, had to do to find inspiration for their treatments was to look around.

Edited by Paulina Björk Kapsalis

Did you know that products made from ingredients that the Messinian countryside yields in abundance, like olive trees, grapes and herbs, can soothe and strengthen your body? Ancient Greek medicine was based on the idea of achieving harmony between nature, body and spirit, and it makes sense that using natural products to pamper yourself helps create the best foundation for health.

Hippocrates, the father of medicine, sang the praises of seawater, “because it offers relief from pain in the ribs, the chest and the back, improves breathing, alleviates fatigue, offers relief for the joints and skin…and hydrates the nasal passage.” Spartan warriors preparing for battle would visit the pyriateria, or sweating rooms, before taking a dip in the cold waters of the Eurotas River. Meanwhile, Linear B tablets, discovered at Nestor’s Palace in Pylos, reveal healing regimes based on olive oil, dating back as far as 3,500 years ago – well before science would come to identify its antioxidizing constituents, vitamin E, polyphenols and phytosterols.

The knowledge of the ancients has not been lost, as I have come to learn on my visits to Anazoe Spa. The therapeutic approach and the luxury spa treatments here are the result of a meeting between ancient knowledge and modern science. Guided by the therapist, I’ve had thalassotherapy treatments based on Hippocrates’ insights regarding seawater, I’ve experienced the rejuvenating sensation of extreme alternations between hot and cold, just like the Spartans, and I’ve gotten a facial treatment done with essential oils from olive tree leaves. The skin care products used by the staff are made with same ingredients the ancient Greeks would assemble to make tinctures and herbal remedies, such as the aromatic oils derived from rosemary and sage – the first used to energize the body, the second for relaxation. For a body scrub, they use pomace (what remains of grapes after the extraction of their juice), which is baked and mixed with brown sugar, honey, and the aromatic oil from grape seeds.

For an even deeper connection with nature, you can choose to leave the spa, and enjoy your massage therapy session under the olive trees, in the botanical garden or on the beach. If your plan is to spend a day at the golf course, let the staff know, and they will personalize a spa treatment package that includes stretching exercises and the use of adhesive kinesiotherapy tape to help reinforce your body’s natural sense of balance and improve your swing. If, on the other hand, you’re arriving at the spa after a day of sunbathing, there’s nothing better than a body wrap using organic aloe vera, as it replenishes and protects suntanned skin. This treatment is accompanied by a soothing face mask, to reduce any redness, and a relaxing scalp massage.

Meanwhile, for those who like to come home from vacation looking as refreshed as they feel, the Advanced Bio Lifting Cure begins with a 110-minute-deep cleansing face treatment that rebuilds and rehydrates the skin using biodynamic lifting massage. It includes eyebrow contouring, lymphatic massage, hot herbal compresses, a face peel, deep cleansing using vacuum suction and cupping, the application of a complex serum, a bioenergetic face massage, and an intensive care face mask, followed by a personalized daily regime and maintenance program.

As for the spiritual part of the ancient nature-body-spirit approach, I highly recommend floating in the spa’s miniature version of the Dead Sea, a pool with a high saline content where the water is kept at a constant temperature of 29°C, or spending some time in the therapy room, where the music, specially composed for the Anazoe Spa by musicologist and composer Petros Tambouris, is based on ancient themes and scales.

Now that’s harmony.

[Edited version of an article published in Costa Navarino Stories, Issue 08]

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