At The Spa at Travaasa Austin, the majority of our guests have traveled from out of town to experience the wonders of our resort and wellness spa. After focusing on wellness and health during their stay, clients often tell me, “I don’t want to leave… I’m so peaceful here.” My heart melts as I realize that they don’t live and work in paradise. They have to fly or drive back home, facing traffic and leaving their relaxing vacation behind. No matter how sweet home can be (or for that matter, our own pillow), the serenity discovered at a destination spa like Travaasa can seem like a fragile idea that is too easily forgotten, especially once the stress of traveling sets in. So how do you keep your newly found sense of peace in the face of long flights, hectic travel schedules and traffic? In one word: aromatherapy.

What is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is an effective and simple method to address the stressors associated with travel. Essential oils are plant extracts. They act as immune support and protection for the plant and have a similar, and in some cases an identical, effect on the human body. The molecules of essential oils are small enough to enter the blood stream through the skin when applied topically or through the respiratory system when used as an inhalant. Some essential oils have properties that can break the blood-brain barrier. No medical drug can even do that!


Traveling by Air: Fly the Fragrant Skies

Here are some top complaints by air travelers, with an essential oil or oil blend to address each issue.

Unrest – If you’re not one of those lucky people who can fall asleep anywhere, try an aromatherapy blend to catch up on sleep while you’re flying. Use Essence of Vali’s Sleep Blend: a mixture of lavender, cedarwood, marjoram, and ylang ylang, which will surely set you adrift into dreamland, even in an aisle seat.

Illness – Need to build up your immune system and kill airborne viruses and bacteria? A combination of rosewood, lavender, ravintsara leaf, and eucalyptus leaf, like in #14 Immunity Essential Oil by 21 Drops, will build the perfect line of defense for your body. The eucalyptus also can help with congestion caused by flying.

Dry Skin – The recycled air in a plane and in an airport can be very dry. Refresh your senses and keep skin hydrated with neroli and cassis in Primavera’s Moisturizing Toner. A few sprays on your face and neck will make for a perfect landing, while the aroma takes your mind back to the scents of the spa.

Nausea/Indigestion – Eating on the go and the stress of flying can upset anyone’s tummy. 21 Drops has a perfect blend named #17 Digest, which combines cardamom, ginger, orange and chamomile oils to alleviate nausea and stimulate digestion. Rub some on your belly and smile.

Traveling by Ground: Beep Beep!

Travaasa Austin Resort attracts a number of Texans who drive 3-5 hours to and from Houston and the Dallas/Fort Worth area. While the great American highway system is wonderful and all, it doesn’t always bring to mind those idyllic images of relaxing Sunday drives or fun road trips along picturesque, open roads. Rather, we think of reckless drivers, hitting our brakes just in time, stopping for a fast food “meal” and hoping to stay awake and alert—all while somehow remaining calm. It’s quite the balancing act of emotions. The breathing exercises you learned at our health spa might help while you’re behind the wheel, and with a little dose of aromatherapy, you also can enhance every deep inhale.

Skip the Coffee – Rather than putting your nerves on edge with caffeine, stay awake and alert with #01 Invigorate by 21 Drops. This concoction of cedarwood, rosemary, juniper and black pepper essential oils helps oxygenate and improve blood flow without caffeine’s negative effects of over-stimulating your adrenal glands.

Calm Rattled Nerves – Defensive driving can be nerve racking. Keep your cool with #10 Calm by 21 Drops, which blends sweet orange for anxiety, vetiver root for anger and jasmine flower for frustration. Pull over, take a breather and rub some on your temples after an upsetting driving episode.

Check Your Oil Levels – No, not in your car (although that might not be a bad idea either). The stress of driving can send your oil production levels into overdrive, so nix that grimy car-ride feeling with a spritz or two of Primavera’s Balancing Toner. It can help refresh and balance oil production with sage essential oil, and it’s a great way to bring the spa experience home. Close your eyes, spritz your face and neck, inhale deeply the aromas and visualize your relaxing vacation.

Arriving Home: Keeping the Peace

As a massage therapist, I have devoted my life’s work to helping clients find peace—and not just in the ethereal Neverland we go to while receiving a massage or facial—but in real life. Aromatherapy is my personal method of taking a 10-minute vacation every day. Whether traveling or dealing with other common stressors, I am continuously amazed by nature and the power of essential oils.

Samantha Manrique has been a Lead Massage Therapist for one year at Travaasa Austin. She attended the Nevada School of Massage Therapy and has been a licensed massage therapist for eight years, practicing Thai, shiatsu, Swedish, sports and deep tissue massages, as well as craniosacral therapy, reiki and myofascial work. Her favorite products at Travaasa Austin are the organic plant-based product lines Primavera and Anakiri, and when it comes to spa treatments, she highly recommends the Rejuvenating Clay and Aloe Wrap, Watsu and Native Blends Facial. When she’s not working, you can find Samantha running ultra marathons up to 30 miles. When asked what her go-to karaoke song would be, she informed us that on the rare occasion karaoke does happen, her friends usually pick and its usually Bon Jovi. If Samantha were to travel to her dream destination it would be Thailand, India or possibly the moon.