Acupuncture is not the only form of care provided under this roof. Here, Western and Eastern medicine are only separated by a staircase. Clinicians provide chiropractic care, nutritional counseling, health assessments, and lower-level medical-grade facials. On the second floor, one can practice self-care with Himalayan salt stone massages, body therapies such as a quinoa scrub or dry floatation therapy (a treatment where clients are essentially lotioned and cocooned in a body temperature water bed to make them feel weightless).
Over the past decade, travelers have been drawn to Colorado Springs, where Strata Spa is based, for these and other wellness opportunities, including a growing number of hot springs, spas and relaxation opportunities. outdoor recreation.
However, this is not necessarily a new trend for the city. Many of those who first settled in the Springs about 150 years ago came seeking health. They had tuberculosis and hoped that moving to the Front Range community would be the Hail Mary they needed.
“The concept of being a destination for health issues has been baked into the DNA of this city,” said Matt Mayberry, director of the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum.
When Colorado Springs was founded in 1871, tuberculosis, a bacterial infection concentrated in a person’s lungs, was one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Until World War II, Mayberry said, more than a third of Colorado Springs residents had tuberculosis.
“There was no cure for the disease back then, so doctors would often tell their patients to ‘seek the cure,'” Mayberry said. “And so many destinations across the country tried to lure people in with what was then called consumerism.”
Due to Colorado Springs’ high, dry climate, many doctors have prescribed a trip to the city (and much of Colorado’s Front Range) as a treatment option. Once there, many decided to take it a step further, Mayberry said, by “taking the waters” (or visiting the natural hot springs in the area).
“The belief was that these sources contained compounds that would improve your health,” Mayberry said, adding that the science behind it was questionable. Yet visitors today can sip water from eight fountains in nearby Manitou Springs (each said to have a different taste and effervescence) or reserve a private hot tub of mineral water at SunWater Spa .
The waters aren’t the only reminders of Colorado Springs’ tubercular past. Another is the octagonal wooden huts scattered throughout the city. Originally part of sanatoria, they were where tuberculosis patients would be confined so as not to spread the disease further. After the invention of antibiotics, these structures, although obsolete, did not disappear; instead they were reused. Today, you’ll find them all over town in the form of snack bars, cabanas, artists’ studios and children’s playhouses.
William Jackson Palmer, founder of Colorado Springs, believed in the healing power of nature and invested much of his own wealth in developing parks and trails for residents. According to Visit Colorado Springs, there are approximately 8,000 acres of parkland and 130 miles of trails.
“Today, that’s one of the things Colorado Springs is known for: an amazing park system,” Mayberry said. “On weekends, there are thousands of people on our paths in search of health. It’s just in a different way than they were in the 1870s.”
While places like Strata Spa and SunWater Spa have been new to Colorado Springs in recent years, there’s one spa that’s seen the city through much of its wellness transformation — and changed with it. .
When the Broadmoor opened in 1918, it caused a stir for a myriad of reasons. For one thing, owner Spencer Penrose was known to keep a retired circus elephant named Tessie as a golf caddy. On the other hand, it was one of the first spas in the country to offer spaces dedicated to men and women.
According to Krista Heinicke, public relations manager at the Broadmoor, the facility “was considered advanced for its time”. Guests would take the service elevator to the spa area, where shampoos and Turkish-style showers or a tonic bath cost $1.50 (about $25 today). Alternatively, a half-hour massage cost patrons just a dollar, and an oil rub with a salt glow cost 50 cents.
Today, the five-star spa has grown to over 40,000 square feet with 36 treatment rooms where guests can indulge in a full menu of massages, peels, facials, body wraps, hair treatments and nails, and more. Additional amenities include steam rooms, saunas, multiple pools, a hot tub, and oxygen rooms, which are essential for foreigners unaccustomed to the thin air of a city over 6,000 feet. altitude.
A few months ago, I found myself wrapped up in an oversized bathrobe in the salon at Broadmoor Spa after a day of personal wellness endeavors. That morning I had completed the Manitou Incline, a more humble hike that gains over 2,000 feet in elevation in less than a mile, and moments before that I had completed a deep tissue massage of an hour that untangled years-old knots and left me feeling relaxed.
As I sat there, staring out the window at the postcard-perfect mountains and sipping herbal tea, I thought about my own recent move to Colorado Springs. I didn’t necessarily move here for the well-being, like the original transplants in town, but, given more days like this, that could very well be the reason I’m staying.
Garden of the Gods Resort and Club
The Strata Integrated Wellness and Spa offers Eastern and Western treatment practices including acupuncture, meditation, facials, and massages. Resort guests can also play golf, tennis, or pickleball, swim in the pools, and dine in the restaurants. Rooms from $299 per night. Massages starting at $160 for 50 minutes, facials starting at $160, acupuncture sessions starting at $75.
This destination hotel in Colorado Springs offers upscale accommodations, bars and restaurants, and a five-star spa. The latter offers wellness practices such as massages, facials, body scrubs, and nail care. There are also steam rooms, saunas and oxygen rooms. Rooms from $230 a night. Massages from $180 for 50 minutes, skin treatments from $95 and body treatments from $105.
Prospective travelers should consider local and national public health guidelines regarding the pandemic before planning any travel. Information on travel health advisories can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s interactive map showing travel recommendations by destination and on the CDC’s travel health advisories webpage.