By Melissa Wynn

In a charming Spanish Mission type building between Reno and Carson City on US 395, I found a place of healing peace. My sister and I were off for a girls getaway to visit the old west in Virginia City, Nevada and decided that a relaxing day at the spa would be an awesome way to wrap up our weekend. We made a call to the cheerful Executive Director Rita Glover at  Steamboat Hot Springs Healing Center and Spa, we were very happy with the thermospas pricing and ended up choosing “Day at the Spa”  ($167) from the extensive menu which added  a detoxifying herbal mud wrap to our Steamboat Signature Massage and Mineral Bath.  As we pulled onto the narrow frontage road that leads to the parking area I could see steam rising from the ground in several places between the sagebrush. Just across from the main entry a piping hot stream flows down the hill giving you a natural preview of the mineral rich hot spring waters waiting inside.

On our tour I learned that during the 1800’s Mark Twain rode past on the original Virginia City-Truckee Railroad and saw two, now inactive, geysers belching plumes of steam and boiling water toward the sky. The famous author, familiar with travel on the Mississippi River, commented that it looked like a steamboat in the desert and the name Steamboat Hot Springs stuck. In those days the  gold and silver miners of Virginia City would come down the hill and bathe. The Native Americans of the area utilized the healing water for generations before the famous visit of Mark Twain. Twain must have also been charmed by the old church bell tower. If only the walls of the belfry could talk,  the things they must have heard and seen; one can only imagine. Not only do the hot springs fill the outdoor hot tub and indoor private bathing rooms, they also heat the building in the winter months keeping the historical site as environmentally friendly as is was back then.

Steamboat Hot Springs Healing Center and Spa is all about peace, tranquility and healing calm, from the serene salt water fish tank in the lobby to the colorful sun shaped stained glass windows of the private soaking rooms. Just like the color spectrum, the rooms graduate from light blue at the beginning of the hall to bright red at the end. I had my hour long Salt Glow soak ($60 ala carte) in the light blue room in an incredibly deep tile tub. AAHHHH! My sister Shay had the same in the darker indigo room next door. She likes the water hotter than I prefer, so we welcomed the hot and cold faucets to adjust the pre-drawn bath to our desired temperatures. The adjacent shower was great for cooling off between soaks. How refreshing. Cozy bath robes and slippers are provided for your convenience and swimsuits are required in the outdoor hot tub.

Phase two of our day at the spa was the Steamboat Signature Massage ($80 ala carte) which may include Swedish, deep tissue, sports, cranialsacral, reflexology, lite aromatherapy, hot towel, and/or hot stone massage. My amazing Licensed Massage Therapist, Soorya Townley, practiced all of the above, melting me into a puddle during that joyous hour accompanied by soft music. She found places I didn’t even know a person could hurt and then made them all better. Randy Bright, the Licensed Massage Therapist that worked on my sister customized her massage to relieve stress and loosen up her problem areas. We both oozed away to our mud wrap, dreaming of ways to convince them both to follow us home and be at our beckon call.  The Mud Body Mask is made of Steamboat Hot Springs Healing Center and Spa’s special herb solution with strong detoxifying properties and two kinds of natural clay.  Along with drawing toxins from your body through the skin this treatment also targets the ever dreaded cellulite (not that I have any) found just below the skin. Many experience noticable loss in cellulite mass after just one time of having the mud mixture painted on the body from neck line to ankles and being swaddled snugly in quality linen sheets and a blanket for up to an hour. The mud gave my skin a tingling sensation and the soft lighting, music and my cozy cocoon let me drift nearly to sleep, especially since I was half way there when the mud wrap began. I rinsed in cool water to close the pores and trap traces of the clay within my skin to contine to reap it’s rewards as directed. My skin was silky soft for days. My sister and I have vowed to return and try several of the other therapies offered at this official historic sight.

Steamboat Hot Springs Healing Center and Spa offers access to the healing mineral hot springs by the soak or in package deals ($10-$105).  There are several facial treatments ($55-$100), a wide selection of massage techniques and times ($50-$145), the mud wrap($90), and a new ground breaking therapy called sonatherapy that utilizes light, color and primarily sound to treat problem areas at a cellular level($95-$295). The flexible menu allows you to mix and match for your specific needs. The competent staff includes Dr. Thomas Lee, a Naturopathic Medical Doctor and consultants for everything from nutrition to make-overs. What a great place to have some quality time with the women in your life that matter most.  I left feeling refreshed, relaxed and rejuvinated. Next time you get some “me time”, grab your sister or a favorite girlfriend and go see Rita and the gang at 16010 South Virginia just off US395. Watch for the billboard sign pointing the way and then prepare to unwind.