Portland: Land of hipsters, fixies and some super spas that dissolve all traces of city stressors. Whether you’re looking for a day of indulgence or a hit and run to get the kinks worked out, there’s no shortage of urban sanctuaries. Here’s a look at some of the best spots for wellness treatments that have more than massage in mind.
There are many spots to get a quality massage in Portland. There’s Mudra Massage, which specializes in Ashiatsu, a barefoot technique. Yep, your therapist will step onto your back and use gravity to deliver deep, consistent pressure. Sounds bizarre if you’ve never tried it, but it’s actually quite effective. It’s way more comfortable than a pointy elbow jabbing you in a tight spot, trust. Mudra also scores points for leaving 30-minutes between massage appointments so you know you’re going to get in on time. If your therapist feels you need a little extra TLC, they have that leeway. Just remember to tip them for that extra effort.
Another good massage spot in Portland is Zama. They’re a full service spa so you can get loads of treatments done, from facials to waxing to nails. If you’re looking to go with your partner, this is the spot. Besides your basic couple’s massage, you could get a massage class and take those techniques back home. There’s great date night packages, couple’s foot rubs and more. Zama also scores points for a multitude of male, teen and CBD oil treatments – so very on point for Portland!
But my all time favourite massage spot in Portland is Knot Springs. Touted as a social club for wellness lovers, it actually walks the talk.
Situated steps away from Burnside Bridge, Knot Springs’ floor to ceiling windows deliver sparkling views of the Willamette River and downtown. In addition to the spa (which we’ll get into in a sec), it sports a full service gym with weights, personal trainers, barre, yoga, HIT and TRX. After working out, you can hit the springs.
If you’re familiar with Nordic spas, Knot Springs is like that, but indoors. There are three pools ranging in temperature. You’re to do a circuit, alternating between getting really hot, super cold and then chilling at room temp. To get real hot, you could hit their steam, sauna or hot pool. For the cold phase, dip into their bracing plunge pool (so freaking cold!). The relaxation phase is the best. That’s when your endorphins reset. You could relax outdoors, catching some rays on one of their loungers, sink into the warmish tepidarium pool or get a spa treatment.
You can buy a day pass for the pools, but it’s not all day. You’ll get two hours, which I thought wouldn’t be enough time, but it was longer than I needed. Bizarrely, my favourite part of accessing the springs was their complimentary pandan water. So good! They also served up a signature blend tea from The Jasmine Pearl Tea Company that was divine.
This Portland spa has no shortage of treatments. At Knot Springs, you can use the pools for 90-minutes before or after your treatment. If massage is what you’re after, they have one of Portland’s largest menus. There’s Swedish, pre-natal, hot stone, Thai, deep tissue, sports, Ashiatsu, Shiatsu (Japanese pressure point – no feet involved:) and CBD oil. Now if you’re getting a treatment with CBD oil, you need to use the pools prior. They don’t want that oil coming off in the pools, so you won’t get access to the springs after those treatments.
In addition to massage, they offer facials and foot rubs. With the facials, they use Laurel Whole Plant Organics, which smells quite earthy.
Me: Oh, wow! This moisturizer smells like a garden or something.
Receptionist: Yes, we refer to it as luxury dirt.
Oh, Portland. You slay me.
As much as I’m a massage junkie, it was another spa treatment that I’d go back for. The foot rub consists of a soak and custom salt scrub. Then you get a proper knead (15-minutes per foot), hot towel compress, dry brushing and a final rub down with Vitamin E-infused coconut oil. Each treatment comes with a glass of complimentary wine, beer or kombucha. Because of the booze and the CBD oil (if you so choose, there are other oils), you can only use the springs before this treatment.
If you threw in a workout, the springs and a spa treatment, you could easily spend the better part of a day at Knot Springs. Which is exactly what I intend to do next time.
Have you ever been to Portland? Where are your favourite wellness places in the city?