Q&A: Simon Marxer On the Latest Spa Trends and the Power of Sensory Deprivation

The Miraval Resort spa director talks about the biggest breakthroughs in wellness.

Miraval Spa Director Simon Marxer

Arizona’s Miraval Resort and Spa is the mecca of American wellness, so you might say that the brand’s spa director, Simon Marxer, is the final word when it comes to wellbeing. A 20-year veteran in the industry (with stints at Red Flower and Canyon Ranch along the way), Marxer is the brain behind many of Miraval’s renowned programs and treatments. Here, we sit down with the mind-body master to talk about the latest breakthroughs in wellness—and what Miraval devotees can look forward to next.

What are some of the biggest wellness trends right now?
Over the past year, we have seen a huge increase in people embracing mindfulness in all aspects of their lives. As the focus shifts to self-care, mindfulness has become a popular way to practice self-love anywhere, at any time. From setting aside time to meditate, to taking a moment to be present at your desk, or even becoming aware during a meal, mindfulness has become an easy way to take a step back from the stresses of daily life and focus inward.

What about trends in spa treatments?

In the spa space, we have seen a lot of people gravitating toward the power of sensory deprivation. When the senses are inhibited it gives you the chance to truly look inside yourself and reflect. At Miraval, we created our Vasudhara treatment, which takes place in a heated outdoor pool. It’s a way to harness the healing powers of sensory deprivation, and combine them with the rejuvenating effects of Thai massage.

What kind of wellness trends are on the horizon for 2018?
In 2018, I think natural beauty products will play an even bigger role than in the past. As more information comes out regarding the chemicals used in beauty products, people are seeking out ingredients that are not only good for their skin, but also good for the environment. We kept this trend in mind when we created our new Harvest Honey Ceremony, an invitation-only facial using honey that has been sourced from the hives on our property.

Miraval Spa pool

Miraval Spa pool  Photo: Courtesy Miraval

What is else is new at Miraval?
Aside from our new spa treatments, we are also looking forward to launching a new Conscious Cooking curriculum, which will give guests practical tools to reduce food waste at home. Additionally, in February, Miraval will unveil the Retreat, a collection of new accommodations with incredible views and serene outdoor patios, as well as wellness amenities and services available exclusively to Retreat guests

What can you tell us about the soon-to-open Miraval Resort in Austin?
It’s scheduled to open this year with the full Miraval resort experience. I’m working on a special experience for it, but it’s too early to say much about it. I can tell you it’s focused on the effects of rhythm and breath. With consistent rhythm, our heartrate can decrease and our brainwaves sort of synchronize, so we plan to leverage that experience in a very unique way.

What spa treatment is on your bucket list for 2018?

I would love to try the Serenity Ku Nye Massage, offered at Stowe Mountain Lodge. The aim of the Ku Nye is to honor and respect the ancient Tibetan traditions of healing. This treatment begins with Ku Nye massage techniques that work toward awakening the flow of energy and vitality. Lymphatic drainage, acupressure, and hot Himalayan salt poultices are incorporated using heated crystals. Ku Nye will restore energy and balance while strengthening the body’s natural rhythm.

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