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Vinotherapy: Wine not just for drinking

Michele Borboa, MS is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health, fitness, food, lifestyle, and pets. Michele is a health and wellness expert, personal chef, cookbook author, and pet-lover based in Bozeman, Montana. She is also...

Vinotherapy: Get uncorked

The word vinotherapy conjures up images of sipping a fine glass of wine with your legs kicked up on the table listening to relaxing music in the calm ambiance of your living room (or maybe closet for those of us with kids) after a hard day. However, spa experts have gone a step further and are offering spa treatments boasting the health benefits of wine by-products. Lynn Curry of Natural Resources Spa Consulting (NRi) and spa expert Carol Tessier give us the scoop on this delicious emerging spa trend called vinotherapy.

Woman with wine at spa

What exactly is vinotherapy?

According to Lynn Curry, senior vice president of NRi, a leader in the international spa and medical spa consulting industries, vinotherapy is the emerging spa trend of using wine by-products, such as grape seeds, skin and stems to heal and rejuvenate the body.

"The wine by-products used are red grape extract, micronized yeasts, organic grape seeds, and grape essential oils along with muscatel wines," says Curry. Carol Tessier, founder of Le Spa Promotions and frequent contributor to MySpaShop.com, agrees.

"Scientific research has proven that grape seeds, skin and stems are rich in phytophenols and resveratrol," says Tessier. "Polyphenols (taken from the grape seeds) are a type of flavonoid with potent antioxidant abilities that protect the body from free radicals, while resveratrol, (a polyphenolic compound obtained from the grape skins) slows the aging process, spurs new cell growth and firms up skin."

Vinotherapy is nothing new

The origins of vinotherapy can be traced back to France in the early 1970s when pharmocologist Joseph Vercauteron discovered that grapes were rich in polyphenols and had beneficial effects on skin. Since then, in addition to drinking a glass of wine for heart health, wine therapy has become a hot trend in the spa industry.

Couple wine with wine

Imagine immersing yourself in Merlot wraps, Sauvignon massages, Chardonnay scrubs and wine-laced baths all while sipping a glass of fine wine. According to Tessier, many wine-loving spa-goers are flocking to their nearest wine country spas to indulge in both pampering wine treatments and glasses of locally produced wine.

"Here in the Northern California wine country of Sonoma and Napa, vinotherapy is very popular on many spa menus," explains Curry. "It is a trend with staying power because the product used to create the therapies is full of concentrated antioxidants and vitamins. The pulp leftover after crushing the grapes creates a great scrub."

What are the benefits of vinotherapy?

What makes grapes or wine so beneficial for skin health? Curry says, "According to WineryExplorer.com, polyphenois are the main contributor from the wine and wine by-products making up the newest spa craze. [They are] a powerful antioxidant which acts as a free radical scavenger – defending the skin, promote tissue elasticity – creating a more youthful appearance.

Vinotherapy has been shown to stimulate collagen synthesis while supporting capillary health. Using wine by-products is also soothing to the skin and promotes anti-inflammation of the skin. Vinotherapy can accelerate would healing and even stimulate new cell growth.

"Polyphenois are 10,000 times stronger than vitamin E and 50 times more effective, can reduce 80 percent of the free radicals which are responsible for wrinkles and skin aging, and can improve circulation by strengthening blood vessels," adds Curry. "There are also anti-bacterial and antiseptic benefits."

Ahhhh, vinotherapy spa treatments

Are you wondering where you can indulge yourself in the ultimate wine therapy experience? According to Curry, many spas throughout the wine countries worldwide offer various vinotherapies at varying prices. "Wineries all over Sonoma and Napa Valley offer spa products in their tasting rooms, along with numerous other novelty and gift items," she adds.

Spa Terra. Located in the The Meritage Hotel in the Napa Valley, Spa Terra boasts of the first spa located in a wine cave! Spa goers can enjoy a delicious range of wine therapy packages, which include body scrubs, body wraps, facials, massage, wine and fruit and cheese tray. The spa's signature two-hour package is the Solo Vino, which begins with an exfoliating grape seed scrub followed by a jet shower rinse and body wrap with wine cave mud, ending with a 50-minute massage and a fruit and cheese platter. For more information, visit SpaTerra.com.

Raindance Spa. The Raindance Spa, located in The Lodge at Sonoma, offers a Girlfried Getaway spa package, and uses a myriad of spa products – grape seed body scrub, olive oil and lavender massage oils – originating from the Sonoma Valley. Visit TheLodgeatSonoma.com to learn more.

Wine and Roses Hotel. Enjoy your ultimate vino experience with your mate. At the Wine and Roses Hotel in Lodi, California, a romantic package for two in the spa includes two glasses of the hotel's private label wine. To make your vino vacation date, visit WineRose.com.

These vinotherapy spa locations are merely three of the growing number of spas and wine resorts offering wine to drink and wine for pampering. Spas worldwide are making vinotherapy a mainstay on their spa menus.

Take your wine in moderation

If wine therapy is new to you, start with a grape seed facial scrub, a red wine bath, or an aromatherapy bath while sipping a locally-sourced merlot or chardonnay. Just be sure to not overdo on the drinking aspect of vinotherapy.

Curry concludes, "Naturally, alcohol is never recommended in abundance in a spa setting, especially with heat treatments, but anything in moderation can be beneficial for you and a small glass of delicious wine while enjoying a warm bath after a massage is absolutely pure heaven!"

Isn't it time you got uncorked?

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