When Manola Pérez was an executive at Oxxo, jet-setting around the country and opening new stores, she found spas a great way to de-stress. She loved her job, but it often left her feeling ragged and depleted. Spas offered her a getaway and a space to relax and be pampered.
After five years of corporate life, Manola took the leap into entrepreneurship. She knew a spa would be her venture of choice. At that time, a little over 15 years ago, there weren’t many to choose from in Yucatán.
Today, we have more of these services available locally, including the spa Manola founded. In Mérida’s Montecristo neighborhood, The T’ai Spa welcomes guests with wind chimes tinkling in the trees. Open the doors, and sound bowls and soft instrumental music accompany an aroma that lulls visitors into relaxation.
“It was hard in the beginning because most places were small and offered just manicures and pedicures. But I wanted something more full service,” says Manola. “I used to travel a lot, so I took inspiration from places around Mexico and the United States.”
The T’ai Spa has evolved over the years, and its focus has evolved from pampering to wellness. Looking around at all the women in both her personal and professional circles, Manola noticed that they often put themselves last.
“We are always taking care of everybody, and sometimes we put ourselves at the end,” she says. “So, our promise is to take care of you. To bring you on a wellness experience where you put yourself first.”
Even something as simple as breathing is included in the wellness experience. Treatments here include an aromatherapy practice of inhaling and exhaling a scented mist the therapist selects for you. The spray itself is refreshing, but the true gift is the moment you breathe.
“For me, breathing is the most important thing,” Manola says. “We do it every day but without being present. It’s part of our ritual, inhale and exhale to bring you back to your center.”
Breathing is essential for life as it supplies oxygen to our body’s cells and helps remove carbon dioxide. When we slow down and become aware of our breathing, several things happen: Breathing exercises can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for promoting relaxation and reducing stress. This can help lower blood pressure, decrease heart rate, and promote an overall sense of calm.
Focusing on our breathing can help us become more mindful and present in the moment. This can help reduce feelings of anxiety and promote a sense of well-being. This can also help improve our respiratory function by encouraging deeper and more efficient breathing.
From infused oils to treatments centered around honey, local products and ingredients are constantly being tested to help her team tailor wellness experiences. This summer, they offer Sound Resonance Therapy to promote healing and relaxation. By exposing the body to specific sound frequencies, it is believed that we can balance the body’s energy and promote healing.
Healing and wellness are at the core of all the services offered. A facial, for example, isn’t just about beauty; it’s about healthy skin. “It’s wellness technology,” Manola says. From infrared light to techniques to improve circulation, treatments such as facials, massages, and sound resonance therapy are a combination of modern innovation and ancient healing practices.
To add spa treatments to your wellness practice, Manola recommends trying various things to find what feels right to you. “You need to find your practice, your formula. It can be meditation or maybe a massage, a facial, or a pedicure,” she says. “It’s a path to discovery and finding the right thing that makes you feel more relaxed, more connected with yourself.”