Springs Eternal Spa at Bedford Springs Resort

The Omni Bedford Springs Resort is an historic destination spa in the mountains of central Pennsylvania. The abundance of natural mineral springs combined with fresh mountain air has made for a healthful retreat for more than two centuries. In 1796, Dr. John Anderson purchased more than 2,000 acres from the local Native Americans to set up a spa for wealthy clients wanting natural treatment of their ailments.  Bedford Springs Inn, established in 1806, has seen the Who’s Who of American history pass through its’ doors– from Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Buchanan, who used Bedford Springs as his Summer White House, to the great industrialists Henry Ford, Henry Clay Frick and Andrew Carnegie. Today, travelers continue to make the journey into the scenic Cumberland Valley to “take the waters” at the elegant Springs Eternal Spa.  Read more about the resort and this beautiful region in The Omni Bedford Springs Resort: The Grand Dame of Cumberland Valley.

The Bedford Bath Ritual

THE RULES: Rinse in the rain shower using the Bedford Springs’ signature honeysuckle body exfoliant. Sweat it out in the eucalyptus-infused steam room for seven to ten minutes. Rinse. Soak in the whirlpool for another ten minutes. Rinse. Chill down in the cooling tub for three to five minutes. Repeat… one hour of the bath ritual is enough to feel cleansed, relaxed, and rejuvenated. But if you have all day, I’d recommend undergoing the ritual a few times. The Bath Ritual alone is fine way to experience the spa area for a nominal fee should you want to steam or soak in the hot tub, but not partake of a spa treatment. However, all-day access to the spa area, lounge, and garden patio is complimentary to guests having a spa treatment.

Dr. John Anderson Fusian Treatment

Having (appropriately) decided on the Dr. John Anderson treatment, we were left to the decision of which multiple “fusian” treatments to choose. There were several different types of massage, massage tools, foot or hand exfoliation, eye pads, and hot oil hair treatments to consider. We ended up selecting a two hour therapeutic massage that included traditional deep tissue massage while mixing in the use of hot stones and bamboo rods. Hot, smooth river stones are placed on pressure points or areas of tightness to relax the muscles, then used to dig down a little deeper into problem areas. I’ve had hot stone massages before, but this was certainly one of the more thoughtful uses as we communicated about how they were working. My therapist was fantastic in her ability to understand where I wanted and needed pressure and where to ease up. Bamboo rods were not my favorite, although I understand how they can be used in such varied ways from tapping, pressing, and rolling. She rolled the rods along my forearms, which was most effective, but also used traditional massage around my legs and shoulders where I felt the rods went too deep. That, to my mind, is the sign of a very good therapist who listens and delivers. The session ended with an herbal tea, full body wrap and warm eye treatment. With muscles feeling like jelly, spiked up oily hair, de-puffed eyes, and a new found sense of relaxation, I wandered back to the lounge, where Dan seemed to be recovering from a similar, superb experience.

The Spa Lounge

One of my favorite things in life is to indulge in a spa day. Not only is it therapeutic for the body, but my personal and professional psyche feel rejuvenated after steaming out toxins, soaking in bubbles, sipping on herbal tea, and spending QT with my love. We were excited to be pampered after a vigorous morning run around the beautiful, hilly Old Course. After repeated sessions of the bath ritual and our massage treatments, we swapped out our swimsuits for plush robes and wrapped ourselves in blankets, anticipating quiet time together; chatting, reading, and napping.  The co-ed lounge, accessed from the women’s and men’s spa areas, is a warm, cozy space. The fireplace was lit, as it was a cool mid-March afternoon.  A wall of windows overlook the hills, with an outdoor patio anticipating spa-goers during warmer months. We whiled away the afternoon, snacking on fruit and granola, sipping on herbal tea by The Art of Tea, and spending time in our respective wet rooms undertaking the bath rituals. Keep in mind swim suits are required in the wet spa areas, but encouraged to not be worn under robes into the lounge. We both left Springs Eternal feeling cleansed, relaxed, and happy with such a special experience.