With Mother’s Day fast approaching, I wonder how many of my local friends know the compassionate and charming Pila Xian, who owns Heaven on Earth, an Aspen day spa. A gift certificate for her Intraceuticals Oxygen Facial, combined with a 30-minute neck and shoulder add-on massage, would be a heavenly (pun!) way to pamper mom this Mother’s Day. (Suggestion for my Aspen-area friends: Just send this story to your husband and perhaps they’ll get the hint…)
In fact, I’d recommend a visit to Heaven on Earth in Aspen year round — for locals and visitors. Its intimate location in the heart of downtown Aspen (above Cache Cache on Mill St.) is a convenient way to get pampered after a day of hiking or skiing — or for no reason at all other than you want to treat yourself!
A one-woman shop, Pila offers a vast array of services you might find at any of Aspen’s large resort spas, but with her treatments you enjoy the personal customer service that comes from a small owner-operated spa. Truly, Pila immediately put me at ease with her friendly and thoughtful demeanor — which only enhanced her custom delivery of my Intraceuticals Oxygen Facial the other day.
A trained and talented massage therapist, Pila integrates a bit of massage into every treatment, even if you didn’t specifically book one of her full body massages. After I told Pila my neck was sore (just your typical “too much time spent hunched over a laptop” soreness), she used some Visonary Trigger Point Therapy to help alleviate the tension. (Because of the time she took with me, technically this would have been priced at additional “add-on” massage to the facial I’d booked.)
With firm hands, and applying pressure in just the right tight spots in my neck and shoulders, she compressed on my knot until it hit a 5 on my “pain scale” of 1 to 10. Then she told me to deep breathe, and guided me in some visualizations until the knot pain dissipated: “With your mind’s eye, track your breath as it travels through out your body. As your breath travels across your shoulder use your breath to sweep up and exhale it out of your mouth” or “Imagine your favorite color and all of its healing energies radiating on your shoulder, soothing, easing and melting this knot, allowing it to melt and flow through as you exhale.”
Ah, I feel calmer just remembering Pila’s soothing voice during this treatment!
Some hand and arm massage is also included in the Intraceuticals Oxygen Facial, and warm paraffin is placed on the hands to soften skin and cuticles.
The facial itself is a bit different from your typical cleanse, exfoliate, steam, extract, massage and moisturize type of facial. This one begins with a facial massage; who knew I carried such tension in my jaw and forehead? That’s followed by two rounds of cleansing; Pila recommends you wash your face thoroughly twice each night before bed — just one round typically only removes surface makeup, moisturizer or sunscreen. You need to wash twice to actually get the cleanser to reach your skin.
Since I’d just exfoliated, Pila didn’t exfoliate my facial skin, but rather started right in with applying cooling oxygen with a wand to my face, accompanied by a hydrating serum. The steady pressure of flowing oxygen allows the serum to penetrate to the deeper layers of the skin.
Pila only applied the oxygen to half of my face, then showed me the difference. In the mirror and to the touch I could tell that the “finished” side was a bit plumper, smoother and firmer. It wasn’t a dramatic difference, but it was there (Pila said sometimes the differences very noticeable, depending on the client). In the two days that followed my facial, I also noticed that my face was a bit brighter and smoother than normal. The skin felt more hydrated.
I loved Pila’s soothing touch and this facial that was quite different from the typical facials I’ve encountered. (Who can say they really like extractions?) It was calming and therapeutic, without being painful in the least.
Pila’s treatment room is tiny, but inviting, with soft lighting, landscape images on the walls, accompanying music if you like it and heated table. Next time, I think I’ll go for a full-body massage: a custom therapy blending some deep-tissue with typical Swedish strokes. Or, perhaps a Lomi Lomi massage; hailing from Hawaii, Pila is sure to be skilled in this type of body treatment!
In addition to many types of massage, facials and “heavenly add-ons,” such as Chinese cupping and herbal compresses, Pila offers bridal spa packages, waxing and tinting, as well.
Like I said, Pila truly cares about her clients’ needs. When I mentioned that my feet were chilly, she took care to warm them up — wrapping some cloth face-cradle coverings around them. (I should have brought my socks — my poorly circulated feet often get cold!) She takes care to ensure her clients are receiving the type of service that is ideal for them, just how they like it. That’s my idea of an attentive massage therapist and esthetician!
Learn more about Pila and her services at the Heaven on Earth website.
I was provided with a complimentary treatment at Heaven on Earth for purposes of review.