Refuge, renewal and tranquility in Los Cabos, Mexico.

Although it's known as a party and celeb hot spot, we recently rediscovered the true meaning of wellness in Cabo. 

I was sitting in the Temazcal chamber with my travel mates, watching as Paulo, the shaman, shovelled red hot coals onto a pyre. Soon, he would finish piling up the stones and the door would close, and we would all be shut inside this small, hot, dark chamber. I was anxious, and I could tell everyone else was, too. But then the shaman’s partner, Claudia, began to speak to us in reassuring, Spanish-accented tones about what to expect during the next two hours. The smell of burning sage and the essential oils and herbs steaming from the fire were calming, and after the door was closed—at that point, we barely noticed—the voice of Paulo as he sang and spoke soothed us all. It was the first spa treatment in my life that had made me so nervous, yes. But it was also the first time a spa treatment had affected me so deeply, invoked such unexpected emotion and left me feeling so refreshed in body, mind and spirit.

Too often, we take a vacation to relieve stress and end up checking into an all-inclusive resort and overindulging on rich food and alcohol, then lying by the pool or on the beach, sleeping it off.

A temazcal is a type of sweat lodge with origins that date back to pre-Hispanic indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica. According to ancient doctrine, when you enter the chamber for treatment, it’s like re-entering the womb. The process is meant to heal physical, mental, spiritual and moral ailments. Essentially, it’s meant to make you new–and whole–again. The treatment brings together the four elements: earth, fire, wind and water.  Temazcal can be beneficial for a variety of illnesses, including arthritis and liver problems, and also relieves stress, tension and negative energy. The heat of the chamber and the purifying elements in the herbs and oils aid in assisting the body to get rid of toxins. In Los Cabos, the treatment is offered twice weekly at the sumptuous Hacienda Encantada Resort & Spa (; $175 USD for a two-hour session).