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SPA DOCTOR: A desert oasis that bought me peace 

Two years of a pandemic and lockdowns followed by a war in Europe have left me feeling anxious – and my body rigid with tension. My shoulders seem permanently frozen in defense mode after countless hours of sitting at a screen, doomscrolling through the latest headlines.

I want to reconnect with the outside world and enjoy going out again but I’m still full of fear. And I don’t know how to start uncoiling.

THE SOLUTION

The JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa in Tucson, Arizona, offers rituals to heal the mind and soul, and spa treatments to treat my tight, sore muscles.

The resort, which sits majestically on 50 acres of the saguaro-covered foothills of Tucson National Park, offers golf, tennis, multiple pools, including a lazy river, and access to miles of hiking and biking trails on the property.

Early each morning, as the sun is rising, guests can participate, free of charge, in a traditional Native American ceremony, unique to the Sonoran Desert, on the resort terrace.

Navajo Nation citizen Larry Redhouse starts the Mitakuye Oyasin ceremony (“All My Relations”) with Native flute playing and then invites attendees to look to the sun and use its energy to make a fresh start.

He guided all those gathered around the fire pit to parcel sage into a prayer tie, while discussing mankind’s infinite potential for healing. I found him incredibly comforting.

The JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa in Tucson, Arizona, offers rituals to heal the mind and soul, and spa treatments to treat my tight, sore muscles

The resort, which sits majestically on 50 acres of the saguaro-covered foothills of Tucson National Park, offers golf, tennis, multiple pools, including a lazy river, and access to miles of hiking and biking trails on the property

The resort, which sits majestically on 50 acres of the saguaro-covered foothills of Tucson National Park, offers golf, tennis, multiple pools, including a lazy river, and access to miles of hiking and biking trails on the property

Early each morning, as the sun is rising, guests can participate, free of charge, in a traditional Native American ceremony, unique to the Sonoran Desert, on the resort terrace. Navajo Nation citizen Larry Redhouse starts the Mitakuye Oyasin ceremony (“All My Relations”) with Native flute playing and then invites attendees to look to the sun and use its energy to make a fresh start

Early each morning, as the sun is rising, guests can participate, free of charge, in a traditional Native American ceremony, unique to the Sonoran Desert, on the resort terrace. Navajo Nation citizen Larry Redhouse starts the Mitakuye Oyasin ceremony (“All My Relations”) with Native flute playing and then invites attendees to look to the sun and use its energy to make a fresh start

Shortly after the morning ceremony, a professional guide leads hikes through the Tucson Mountain Park, which surrounds the hotel. I was guided through hillsides of giant cacti, to the backdrop of panoramic desert mountain views in the company of newfound friends

Shortly after the morning ceremony, a professional guide leads hikes through the Tucson Mountain Park, which surrounds the hotel. I was guided through hillsides of giant cacti, to the backdrop of panoramic desert mountain views in the company of newfound friends

Under Redhouse’s gentle guidance, I reflected on what I wanted to let go of, and what I wanted to welcome into my life, and threw the tie into the flames.

Redhouse finished the ceremony with a blessing designed to inspire reflection on the connection we all have with nature, and each other.

Shortly after the morning ceremony, a professional guide leads hikes through the Tucson Mountain Park, which surrounds the hotel. I was guided through hillsides of giant cacti, to the backdrop of panoramic desert mountain views in the company of newfound friends.

Each evening, the resort also welcomes guests to gather on the terrace to watch the sunset and enjoy a complimentary Tequila toast, which features each one of more than 150 artisan tequilas.

After a day of soothing rituals, I felt my anxiety slipping away and started to feel safe again in the company of others.

With my fear of socializing starting to fade and a newfound sense of peace and connection, I visited the resort’s Hashani spa to see if I could get help easing the tension in my muscles.

The 20,000 square foot spa features a variety of ancient healing techniques and I opted for an ANTARA Balance Massage, with CBD, designed to increase blood flow throughout the body and relieve any pain.

The massage of CBD infused coconut oil and passionflower increased circulation to my stiff, tired joints and muscles and the CBD tropical relief balm, which is scented with clove, cinnamon, and ginger, helped ease the pain in my tight shoulders. Finally, I found myself beginning to relax and unwind, and I walked out of the spa knowing that I my tension and anxiety were behind me.

*Rooms at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa in Tucson start at £230. A 50-minute massage costs £115. marriott.co.uk

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