Where the Heart Is

Rejuvinessence Spa offers healing for the mind and body                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

It’s easy to overlook Rejuvinessence Spa. From the outside, it’s just another hanging sign in the cluster of shops in Huntingdon Valley. But inside is almost a literal oasis in a shopping district on a narrow, busy street: a warm, quiet, soothing place that doesn’t just leave the hustle and bustle outside, but makes you feel like it’s all another world away.

It takes an array of elements to create this effect: soft, amber lighting casting a warm sepia hue over the room. Soothing, ambient music fills the air alongside the inviting aromas of oil, soaps and more. A fireplace near a small table with teacups. A polite request to whisper when you’re inside.

The delicate balance of all those things make Rejuvinessence Spa a unique, and ultimately effective, place to unwind and feel comfortable in your own skin again. And, that effort doesn’t end with the ambiance.

“It’s about getting away from all the stress in the world,” said owner Patti Darragh. “And, this world certainly has a lot of stuff flying around in it.”

Rejuvinessence features the basics, like massages and facials — services Darragh has offered for decades as a licensed esthetician. But for 10 years, Darragh’s big focus has been on healing the mind as well as the body. And, it started when a client pointed out a talent she didn’t know she had.

Photo by Jack Firneno
Photo by Jack Firneno

“I was leading a meditation session, and a psychologist mentioned afterward that I was essentially hypnotizing people,” recalled Darragh. Her technique and soothing voice put people in the first stages of a hypnotic state, according to her client, and Darragh decided to pursue hypnosis as a new way of helping people.

That led to the “heart,” so to speak, of what she does now: a stress intervention technique called “heartmath” that helps people focus on positive thoughts to help their bodies
become physically restored.

When you’re stressed, Darragh explained, your body releases cortisol, the hormone that puts you in fight-or-flight mode. That’s great if, say, you’re faced with a momentary problem like an attacker, and need that burst of energy. But in today’s fast-paced, high-tech world, with challenges and stimuli virtually around the clock, many people are getting an almost constant flow of cortisol building up in their body. Over time, that can lead to problems from weight gain and cholesterol increases to fatigue and depression.

Photo by Jack Firneno
Photo by Jack Firneno

Using heartmath, however, people can “freeze” those thoughts and redirect themselves toward more positive ideas. This prevents the release of more cortisol, and can even trigger your body to release DHEA, an anti-aging hormone, instead. It’s not a miracle cure. Rather, Darragh is teaching a simple mental exercise that, when done regularly over time, can have long-lasting, positive effects.

“Once you learn to stop the negative thoughts that harm your body, you can create good feelings again,” she explained. And, she said it’s especially effective when combined with hypnosis to get to the root of things that are troubling you.

“Your subconscious is like a tape recorder. It captures everything. And when it gets overloaded with stress, it acts out on the conscious mind, making people bite their nails, or overeat, or yell,” Darragh continued. Hypnosis, she said, helps people get in touch with what’s causing that initial frustration. And, once it’s identified, using an exercise like heartmath can help people deal with
those triggers more productively.

Photo by Jack Firneno
Photo by Jack Firneno

It’s a suite of services that’s become popular well beyond what you’d think is the normal clientele for a day spa. Darragh proudly counts many doctors and nurses from the nearby Fox Chase Cancer Center who regularly come in for relaxing sessions and also have bought products in bulk to help their patients and staff cope with stress.

It’s also made the spa popular with men, a group that normally wouldn’t come to a place like this, but have been discovering just how relaxing and effective it is. One in particular is surgeon, author and television personality Dr. Mehmet Oz, whom Darragh said makes a point to stop in
whenever he’s in town.

But, as notable as that endorsement is, Dr. Oz is only one of the many people, from the staff to regular clients, who make Rejuvinessence Spa so special. “The community here is incredible,” said Darragh. “It’s a whole stirring of wonderful people who work here and come here. That’s what truly makes this a caring, nurturing environment.”

Rejuvinessence Spa is located at 2535 Huntingdon Pike in Huntingdon Valley. For information, visit http://www.rejuvinessence.com.

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