The Egyptians did it with rare oils, the ancient Chinese mastered it with discipline, the early Greeks and Romans couldn’t get enough of it and the Swedes perfected it as a treatment for tension. In the new world the Huichol Indians, descendants of the Aztecs, made it as part of their Shamanistic practice. Today, massage incorporates techniques refined over the centuries and is enjoyed by millions of world-worn travelers.

They know how to rub away the throb of aching muscles, relieve the tensions of work and for a heavenly hour or two, ease the cares of the world. We seldom remember the names of our massage therapist and yet they immediately have an intimate association with our bodies and our personal foibles. An experienced therapist can tell a lot about what you’ve been up to so relax and allow the transgressions of your hectic 21st century life to be smoothed away.

Sunstone the Spa is a sleek gleamingly new retreat poolside at the skyscraper Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa. To get your groove back you might request the Sundance Sugar Scrub followed by a Garnet Calming Massage. A Balancing Shirodara treatment promises to stimulate insight and wisdom. Sounds like something we all need. Among the many offerings for men is an 80 minute Head to Toe that includes a massage, scalp treatment and salt foot exfoliation. Sunstone also houses a full service salon, private relaxing pools, luxe lounges and a shop featuring an array of unique skin care products.

The Spa at Mission Hills is nestled on the grounds of The Westin Mission Hills Resort & Spa. An exotic Spanish-Moorish architectural ambience sets the tone for this sanctuary where clients are invited to lose themselves in “delightful treatments designed to renew mind and spirit”. Start out with a Coconut Bath to nourish and hydrate your skin, then enjoy a Brown Sugar Body Treatment to exfoliate and stimulate cellular renewal and cap your stay with a San Jacinto Massage conceived to promote overall well being. The Spa at Mission Hills also provides a full-service beauty salon with hair, makeup, and nail services. A retail shop lets you take a little bit of the spa away with you.

Spa Las Palmas, at the recently $50 million renovated Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa – a KSL Resort, offers a menu of Desert Dream Rituals consisting of five different body scrubs, wraps and massages to select from. Palm Oasis Body Wraps, Desert Elements Scrubs and Baths and a host of massages make this retreat Desert Magazine’s 2009 Best of the Valley. At the adjacent Yamaguchi Salon experience the art of Feng Shui hair styling that’s all the rage with Hollywood celebrities. Don’t fail to take advantage of the beautiful Spa Pool where you can contemplate, from your chaise lounge, languidly swaying palm trees and the snow-capped San Jacinto Mountain in the distance. Ah Rancho Mirage!

RM