Vapors from the herbs are believed to benefit the respiratory system, and a tea, prepared by the shaman, is said to help cleanse the body.
Because the temazcal was unavailable the time of my visit, I opted instead for an in-spa purification ritual that started with my attendant, Raniro Poot, a full-blooded Mayan, handing me a small basket with the instructions to place all my worries and woes inside.
Ramiro then began brushing me lightly with a wand of dried herbs and flowers while I stood and went along with his advice by transferring all my troubles into the basket, which he promptly removed from the room.
The treatment began by massaging an exfoliate made with products from the region such as yucca and jojoba over my skin, which was then wiped off with a cloth. As I began to relax, my attendant applied a lotion over my torso, then wrapped me in a thin plastic sheath and placed a cold cloth on my forehead.
Next came a gentle head massage that lasted for minutes "to stimulate the chakras," Ramiro said. At the end of the 80 minute ritual, I showered and returned to the real world, one where cares and concerns were sure to cross my path again.
That evening, mellowed by my spa experience, I dined with friends on the patio just outside the elegant Arrefices (the reef) restaurant, where the Caribbean waves rhythmically beat against the Westin’s shoreline just feet away.
Crashing against the sand, they glittered with silver-edged foam by the light of the moon. For the moment at least, cares and woes seemed miles away.
For more information on Cancun, log on to cancun.travel/en.
To extend your Mayan experience, dine at La Habichuela Restaurant, Blvd Kukulcan Kn 12.6, Cancun, where the sculpture garden recreates the look of a Mayan ruin and a Mayan floor show is offered Wednesday and Friday evenings at 10.
The Mayan inspired food is delicious and there’s plenty to choose from, including many seafood selections. Www.lahabichuela.com.
Dave Zuchowski is a travel writer for CNHI News Service. Contact him at email@example.com.