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Aug 21, 2017

Unveiling the New Maya Spa Experience

Belize’s certified massage therapists were busy last week developing their interpretations of a signature Belizean massage, conveying an authentic Maya spa experience. BELTRAIDE and the Belize Spa and Wellness Association organized the first ever “Maya Spa Experience Brand Competition.”  The branded massage will be copyrighted and promoted extensively, with a special showcase at this year’s Expo Belize. This morning, the prizes were handed out and News Five’s Aaron Humes spoke to the winners.


Aaron Humes, Reporting

What’s in an authentic Maya spa? Ask Lisa Villanueva of Holistic School of Massage and Spa Therapy.


Lisa Villanueva

Lisa Villanueva, Holistic School of Massage and Spa Therapy

“Mainly spiritual, dealing with the herbs and that’s really the main thing about it; and then we combined it with some of the spa rituals and put the whole thing together.”



“So, what makes this unique? Other than the Maya experience, what makes this unique and something that people will want to participate in?”


Lisa Villanueva

“There’s smudging involved in our treatment, after which we do an abdominal massage; and then we wrap you in herbs which help to heal you. We do the glass on your back, so we do copping, but with the copal. So the main thing about it is really spiritually healing you, using the copal and all the different herbs.”


Villanueva and her partner Dominica Busano collected five thousand dollars for their idea, which will be implemented at the up-and-coming NAIA Resort and Spa in Placencia.


Dominica Busano

Dominica Busano, Masseuse, NAIA Resort and Spa

“We had our help from Aurora Saqui, from Maya Center, a healer for over eleven years, and Lisa Villanueva the owner of Holistic School of Massage; this experience was new to us, and we actually had a good time. And we are glad that we learned a lot and we are willing to teach others and expand our knowledge.”


Second place went to the Maximon Spa Experience which collected three thousand dollars, and third to the Noche U Wichil Banech Group receiving two thousand dollars. Minister of State for trade, investment and commerce and former tourism C.E.O. Tracey Taegar-Panton told us that the experience crosses the lines of both ministries.


Tracey Taegar-Panton

Tracey Taegar-Panton, Minister of State, Trade and Investment

“It is very important that we create authentic Belizean products that we can use for the development for our industry here at home, but that we can also use for export, in terms of our goods and services that we offer to the rest of the region, and the rest of the world. And I think that this is a first attempt to create a unique brand for Belize, that is really authentically Belizean, because the teams that participated in this initiative will tell you they had to do a considerable amount of research in trying to get to the traditional methods and approaches used by the Maya for wellness and healing of the body, mind and spirit.”


And there should be no worry about any cultural appropriation, says Taegar-Panton, because the Maya is representative of all Belizean culture.


Tracey Taegar-Panton

“I don’t see why. There’s an opportunity for us to create new experiences associated with other cultures. I think this is a first step and I think it is one that should really be applauded, because as we know the Mayans have always been traditional healers. And so this really allows us to connect the past with the present and to make something uniquely Belizean.”


Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.


According to Taegar-Panton, an official manual of techniques will be created to standardize the Maya experience across all spas and wellness centers in Belize.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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