Life sometimes comes at you so fast that even stopping to take a deep breath seems like an impossibility. When this happens on a long-term basis, the body goes into stress mode — a state of high alert. In the short term, stress is meant to kick-start you into action. Just think about the effect of a car swerving in front of you on the highway and how your senses go into overdrive, you react quickly, and your life is saved.

But the body isn’t meant to be in this state 24/7. Studies show that chronic stress inhibits your capacity to heal and increases the likelihood of developing physical and emotional problems, such as high blood pressure, ulcers, immune dysfunction, and depression. In times like these, finding ways to escape, even if it is for an hour or two, can do a world of good. San Francisco, the famous city by the bay, offers a unique spot that can rejuvenate and energize you at a price anyone can afford.

It isn’t often that a spa in a hotel is innovative and luxurious, but, the Tru Spa in the Hilton San Francisco is all that and more. The simple clean elegance of the spa hits you the moment you walk in. A large tank with ghost-like floating jellyfish greets you and sets the stage for the peaceful pampering you are about to experience.

Tru is a real in-city spa, not large with only 10 treatment rooms, but with some very unique offerings. Because of the size there is no sauna or wet area to speak of, but Tru makes up for it supplying champagne, chocolates, fruits and a cheese plate as you wait for your spa experience to begin.

For anyone who has had a facial the one constant is the hot steam that usually starts the process. But, a facial at Tru substitutes this facial staple with a new process using oxygen blasts. One of the first spa’s to use this revolutionary technique it is now catching on quickly at spas across the country. Infused with beneficial vitamins, this pure oxygen blast is like taking a topical vitamin pill that is absorbed directly into the skin of your face.

Each massage room feels worlds away from the hustle of the Financial District and Chinatown, which the hotel straddles. A variety of massages are offered, but each comes with your choice of a special light therapy experience. Each room is equipped with computerized light therapy that can be customized for the type of massage you want, such as “energize,” “relax” or “detox.”

“The color and light affects your body and mind, even though your skin,” said Ania Mankowska-Allard, the spa director.

Your light therapy massage is matched with a handmade shea butter that is accented with scents and oils that compliment the type of massage you request.

But, the highlight of this place is the most unique of spa experiences, the Rainforest Room. Tucked away in the back corner of the spa a rock-like semi-circular wall sticks out from the rest of the simple décor signaling that something different is going on here. The Rainforest Room is actually three different rooms that you move through in a pampered haze.

Once inside you can choose from five different rainforest experiences that include scrubs, wraps, masks, steam, soaks, hair and scalp treatments that will certainly rejuvenate and relax you all at once.

Complete body wraps are done with none of the typical mummy-like wrappings. Instead, the wrap is a specially-created thick paste applied by your massage therapist and then you relax in the privacy of your room until the rain begins. When the treatment time is complete, the thundering rain then washes it, and your stress away.

If you are traveling with a special someone, the rainforest experience makes for a romantic afternoon for two. You and your loved one can apply the wrap to each other and enjoy the rainforest experience together. This special two-in-one experience has won the spa the Best Couples Treatment Award and Allure Magazine has declared it as the best spa in San Francisco.

Dan Dawson is a travel journalist and dedicated world traveler who has written articles for many publications on adventures abroad. He is also the marketing manager for the Big Blue Bus.

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