July 25, 2009

Sweat lodge at Oneida spa

Pamper yourself the Oneida way at Skaná Spa

By Emily SacharFlames leap from rocks heating for the sweat lodge experience. Framed by tepees and tall trees, dressed in tribal regalia, Kakwiranoron, a Mohawk/Lakota Sioux, greets me. Formerly a massage therapist in Hawaii, he now shares his heritage at Turning Stone Resort's world-class Skaná Spa.

Sweat is part of ancient healing rituals: Roman thermae, Finnish sauna, Russian banya, Turkish hammam, and Mexican temazcal. But the American Indian sweat lodge is interactive, awakening the senses.

Kakwiranoron certainly knows his way around this healing ritual: He tells me his family gathers twice a week in the sweat lodge at their South Dakota home on a Lakota Sioux reservation.

Drumming and chanting, Kakwiranoron invites me to enter the lodge. We strip to bare minimum, preparing to cleanse body and soul. Slipping between buffalo hides onto a wooden platform around a fire pit, my young guide directs me to clear my mind and let the heat open thoughts of the past and future.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Native-Themed Spas.

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