Leavetown left town last week! In an effort to meet more of our fantastic local partners in Alberta, the Vancouver branch of the Leavetown team hopped on a plane to spend the week in beautiful Canmore and Banff.
While I was absolutely thrilled to be spending the week in the mountains (and escaping the rain for a few days!), my time in Alberta was a whirlwind of meetings and appointments. Needless to say, come Thursday evening, I walked into Banff’s Cedar & Sage Holistic Lounge pretty tired, and truly ready to relax and unwind.
Renowned as Banff’s only Holistic Spa, Cedar & Sage has an amazing reputation, and a loyal clientele who swear by their treatments. The Lounge opened in 2014 as a source of alternative healthcare options to both the residents of Banff, and the National Park’s many visitors. Amie Van Lieshout, who designed the Lounge, said she wanted to “create something different and sincere with effective results… a wonderful, buzzing, thriving environment to heal.”
With its First Nations inspiration and natural, green products and services, the Lounge certainly delivers a calm environment, and I was dying to try out some of Cedar & Sage Co.’s expert treatments!
Relaxing vibes in the Cedar & Sage Co. Lounge Area – guests are invited to stay here and unwind for as long as they need pre and post treatment.
A Holistic Haven from Start to Finish
I had booked the Grand Wetaskiwin package. Native for “the place of peace”, it’s a two-hour treat designed to eliminate toxins from the body and combat stress. I was really looking forward to everything, and the itinerary sounded great: a private infrared sauna experience and jetted shower, followed by a 60-minute massage. The package is also available as a couple’s treatment, but as I had left my husband back in the daily grind of Vancouver, I ventured off into my spa bliss solo.
When I arrived at the Lounge, I was immediately immersed into the full relaxation experience. The lovely Hailey greeted me and prepared me a mug of the spa’s delicious custom blend tea, made by the wonderful, local Banff Tea Co. As I sipped on my tea, I was taken on a tour of the peaceful space. Decorated in a neutral, earthy palette of soothing hues, the soft comforting decor of the Lounge was complemented by the mellow tones of indigenous flute music, and the scent of sage in the air. Hailey showed me the beautifully finished treatment rooms, and the amazing common area. With large windows overlooking beautiful Banff, the unique idea of this common space is to allow guests to spend as long as they need to unwind and relax in a peaceful space, both pre and post treatment.
A full sensory experience, I was feeling blissed out before my treatment had even begun!
Lounge in the soothing relaxation area and take in beautiful views of Banff as you enjoy your amazing spa escape. This space is also used for intimate yoga classes.
Treatments Carried Out by Friendly Experts
The Cedar & Sage Co. philosophy is that a treatment is only as effective as the person’s mentality towards it. Believing that body pain and limitations can strain every aspect of our daily lives, the spa’s team put a lot of focus onto client assessment and creating personalized treatment plans. As Amie put it, “it’s not just a massage, it’s an opportunity to really check your health… you will leave with a broadening understanding of your body.”
The Lounge currently has 8 highly trained staff, and I was introduced to the lovely Ellen, who would be my masseuse. After a conversation about my expectations for the massage and any injuries/trouble spots I may have, it was time to begin! I was showed to my treatment room, a haven of gorgeous soft tones and gentle light. Candles flickered around the room, and soothing music played. Ellen began with a “smudging” of the room – a First Nations ritual to rid bad energy from the space by carrying it away in smoke. With all of my senses captivated, Ellen quietly let herself out so I could relax alone for the first half of the treatment.
My First Infrared Sauna Experience
The Infrared Sauna experience begins the Grand Wetaskiwin treatment. Infrared Saunas are well known to have many health benefits, and Cedar & Sage Co. use the saunas as a way to prepare the body for healing. Inspired by traditional sweat lodges, the idea of the Infrared Sauna is to purify the body and eliminate toxins before the massage treatment. I had never experienced an Infrared sauna before, and to be totally honest, this was the experience I was initially unsure about. I am not a fan of traditional Finnish saunas, where water is poured on hot coals – I find I feel sticky, uncomfortable and overheated very quickly. Put it this way, I could never last 40 minutes in one!
So, even though I ventured into the Infrared Sauna almost skeptically, I emerged at the end of my treatment a convert. As Ellen had explained to me, Infrared saunas heat your body from the inside out, warming your core first and drawing toxins out that way. In comparison, traditional saunas heat you from the outside in, hence some people experiencing the feeling of discomfort and overheating.
In the Infrared Sauna, you barely notice your body temperature rising – the warm feeling comes from within, slowly, and begins to flow all over your body, making you feel sleepy, relaxed and comfortable. I felt all of my troubles and worries melt away in the cocoon of the sauna. The experience, combined with the soft indigenous music, made me feel entirely lulled – when 40 minutes was up, I didn’t want to get out. I was so completely warmed and at peace.
A hot shower in the fabulous Stone Shower cleansed me, and I went to lie between the luxurious blankets on the massage table, already in a totally blissful state. Ellen then returned to commence my massage.
Luxurious treatment room, complete with Infrared Sauna and Stone Shower – perfect for a solo experience or couple’s retreat.
60 Minutes of Pure Massage Bliss
The massage experience at Cedar & Sage is fully customized to each client’s needs. With their focus on healing and effective results, the staff are all very helpful and will talk you through your massage and concerns before the treatment commences. Ellen and I had chatted before the treatment began, and I had explained the problems I have with my upper back – the constant knotting and tension I carry there.
I was expecting a great massage. What I was not expecting was to receive a massage that would truly change my perspective on my body and my understanding of its aches and pains. Ellen seemed to know exactly where my trouble spots were, and used the perfect amount of pressure to coax the knots out of my back gently, yet firmly. The scent of essential oils filled the air, and I felt all of my tension flow out of me as my muscles began to truly relax. During the course of the treatment, a warm lavender-scented compress was applied to my eyes as the massage continued, working to eliminate any remaining stressful thoughts or concerns I may have had. I surfaced at the end of the treatment feeling like a totally new person!
Afterwards, in a state of total and complete relaxation, I hydrated with some water and listened to Ellen talk me through a range of options for relieving my back pain at home. I left on cloud nine!
A Must-Do in Banff
An absolutely incredible experience all round, I cannot recommend Cedar & Sage Co. highly enough! I am so thankful to the team there for a true healing experience. If you have never had a Holistic Spa treatment before and are curious about the benefits of holistic therapy, this is the place to go. The knowledgeable, friendly staff will make you feel comfortable while addressing all of your concerns. It really is a must-experience destination in Banff!
We are pleased and proud to have partnered with the Cedar & Sage Co. Holistic Lounge to offer our guests an exclusive 15% off any regular service at Cedar & Sage Co.
Cedar & Sage Co. also spoke of their pleasure in partnering with Leavetown, saying: “Joining Leavetown was an easy decision. They represent and embody the very reasons we exist – to offer authentic and quality experiences to the guest. We are beyond happy to extend discounts to the members of Leavetown – they support small locally owned and operated businesses like us. We will continue to offer a bit of culture and education to the spa world, and we are excited to share it with those interested in a unique and memorable experience.”
If you want to find out more about Cedar & Sage Co. and their amazing treatments, simply visit their website.
For anyone heading to Banff National Park or Canmore, make a stop at Cedar & Sage Co. – it really is the best thing you can do for your body!