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Health

Spend the Night at Joplin's EnlightInn Spa

We sent an editor to spend 24 hours in a spa to see what she could learn about her mental and physical wellness.

By Rose Marthis

Apr 2018

Photo courtesy EnlightInnEnlightInn’s property has private cottages, some dedicated to spa services and some reserved for overnight guests.

I used to be a stranger to the spa life, and honestly I was a little nervous about massages, facials and forced relaxation. But then I had my first massage, and it changed my life. I almost fell asleep on the table, and it was one of the first times my brain really shut off. I’ve been chasing that feeling ever since. 

While exploring spa packages in 417-land, I found the website for EnlightInn in Joplin (3817 N. Main St., Joplin, 417-499-6618). The service list has some standouts—like halotherapy and a mind spa treatment—you don’t see among common menus. But then something entirely different caught my eye: an overnight wellness package including an overnight stay in a private cottage, flotation therapy, a massage, a mind spa session, a halotherapy session, infrared sauna session and complimentary smoothies and Bulletproof coffee. Five hours of services and a night away? Sold. 

The Inn 

The property is easy to see from the highway, which helps pull in traffic for the drive-through cafe. When you park, you see the main office building with five cottages and a fourplex building surrounding it. Four cottages are for lodging, and the rest of the rooms are for spa sessions. I walked in to the main building to meet Christa Tullis, the inn’s owner. She checked me in and showed me to my room. The cottages are spacious and promote wellness just as much as a therapy room does. Tullis adds a grounding mat on the bed to reduce effects of electromagnetic fields and pays for the Gaia channel—full of videos, shows and documentaries covering yoga, consciousness and mindfulness—to be included on the Roku packages. 

Photo by Rose Marthis

Zip yourself up in the infrared sauna and sweat it out while a cool breeze hits your face for relief.

Purchase Photo
Photo by Rose Marthis

The ceiling of the float tank has lights that mimic stars.

Purchase Photo

The Services 

After getting my room settled, it was time to start my first day of services. I changed into my provided robe and slippers and met Tullis in the sauna room. Before ever sitting in the sauna, I did a 12-minute whole body vibration session. The machine has a vibrating plate you stand on that contracts your muscles 30 times per second. It’s easier if you keep your feet together and harder if they’re wider apart. Bending your knees makes you feel it in your thighs, and standing up straight makes you feel it in your hips and abs. You feel everything jiggle. I changed my stance a lot to feel it in different places. I started to feel itchy in my left side, and when I told Tullis she said that feeling was my liver getting shaken up and detoxifying my body. Then I moved to the infrared sauna. I sat for 20 minutes and sweated it all out. When the timer chimed, I got ready for my massage. 

The hour-long massage focused on my problem areas, which I told my therapist, Trisha, were my neck, shoulders, back and calves. Trisha used medium pressure and dug in to my shoulders a couple times to the point of this-really-hurts-but-in-a-good-way.  

Then it was off to the floatation tank for my last service of the day. Tullis’s float tank was custom built into the building. I showered and shampooed to get all the massage oil off me, and I put ear plugs in to help muffle sound and keep saltwater out of my ears. After you shut the door, there are still tub lights, music and ceiling lights that look like stars. After a few minutes, I turned off both sets of lights and the music to go into total sensory deprivation. I tried to focus on my breathing and nothing else. This calmed me down to the point where I almost fell asleep. Then I realized I almost fell asleep, got freaked out that I almost fall asleep in water and turned on the ceiling star lights and music. The last 15 to 20 minutes of my float I was still relaxed but more awake. 

The next morning started with an hour-long Mind Spa session. It started with a guided hypnosis combined with a brainwave device that has pulsating light goggles and entrainment tones in noise-canceling headphones. I sat in a massage chair with a blanket over me and listened to a guided narration start, divide into two stories in each ear with subtle suggestions (like “raise your self-esteem”), and go back to one story to awaken out of a hypnotized state.  

Photo by Rose MarthisThe virtual reality guided meditation sessions help transport you to a new place for stress relief.

Then I started a virtual reality meditation session. I have only experienced VR as a video game, and fighting robot aliens seemed a long way from a form of therapy. Tullis explained that this is good for patients who need to override their current state of mind and be transported to a more peaceful state. I finished with a biofeedback session. Tullis hooked a monitor to my earlobe, and I played a game in which I tried to raise my score by matching my breathing to the computer. It wasn’t always calm, slow breathing. The game taught you how to control your body by your breath and heart rate. Tullis says this is good for patients who don’t feel like they have control in other areas of their life, like with chronic pain. This was definitely the oddest of the therapies, but it taught me more than I expected.

My last session of the morning was a 45-minute halotherapy. The inn doesn’t have a salt cave room, because you only need the halo generator that vaporizes and distributes salt, Tullis explained. I sat in a living room and breathed in the salt vapor. I went in a little sniffly, and near the end I started sneezing a lot and clearing out my sinuses. 

The Effects 

Tullis used her 20 years of experience in the wellness and nutrition fields to design her spa as a wellness destination, and it shows. Mental and physical benefits are considered in every service. I left feeling relaxed and rejuvenated and learned how to focus on my breathing to take control in stressful situations. Now I know how to help calm my brain—and it doesn’t take almost falling asleep to do it. 

Experience EnlightInn

LEARN MORE

Price: $249 for Overnight Wellness package; bring a friend for an additional $135

What to Bring: Comfortable clothes, an overnight bag and an open mind!

Stay Tuned: Tullis is planning to do weekend retreats in the future and make the spa available for others to host their own workshops.

Learn More: Read Christa Tullis’s book, Mind Mirror: Three Minutes Without Air Three Days Without Water Three Weeks Without Food, to learn more about her personal wellness journey and her experience with mindfulness and consciousness.