It's a Wrap

How a spa treatment gave me the confidence to conquer life's challenges.
By Gloria Burrell

Luckily, it was October, and finding a pirate’s patch to wear during the drive from Idaho to Colorado for our family vacation was hardly a problem. No one but my husband really knew the true reason for the patch; everyone else just thought I loved Halloween.

Postponing our long-planned vacation never crossed my mind. I had been eagerly awaiting our spa day, when I planned to have my first herbal wrap followed by a massage. Days before our departure, however, I had scheduled what I thought was going to be a quick exam at the optometrist to fix my pesky contact prescription.

Lately, my double vision had been getting worse—so bad that I had driven to my appointment with one eye closed because cars seemed to be heading straight at me. After the exam, my optometrist told me the contacts were not the problem. He suggested I get an MRI to see if my brain had any tiny lesions. I was shocked. My heart weighed down with worry, I nonetheless donned the eye patch, and we drove to Colorado.

With the trees turning their rich autumn hues, it was the perfect place to be. I lay on the massage table, excited about experiencing my first herbal wrap, and listened to the soft Native American pipe music. My therapist instructed me to sit up so she could exfoliate my body with a scratchy hand mitt. Next, she rubbed a thick herbal concoction all over and told me to lie back as she wrapped me into a cocoon of thick, heavy blankets lined with foil. Bundled up like a papoose, I began to feel extremely warm. As if she could read my mind, my therapist covered my forehead with a cool, wet cloth. This immediately stimulated my healthy eye and ignited my imagination. For 20 minutes, I relaxed in this glorious state. The music changed to sounds of the ocean, and with each breath I drifted in and out on the waves. I had never felt like this before. I was safe in my mother’s womb, hearing nothing but her heartbeat and the rush of waves. As the therapist slowly unwrapped me, I felt reborn—like a butterfly spreading its fresh wings. I knew I was ready for my new life, no matter what it would bring.

This happened almost four years ago. Yes, the MRI had shown lesions in my brain, and, yes, my neurologist diagnosed me with multiple sclerosis. But I will never forget how the herbal wrap helped me realize that when entering a new phase of life, it’s important to balance our mind, body, and soul.