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Burke Williams spa in Westfield Mall, San Francisco

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Had a hard day going round all the tourist spots in San Francisco? Wish there was somewhere you could just relax and let the cares of the day (or the week, or the month), melt away into nothing? Wish that place was downtown so you had somewhere central?

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Well, then, you're in luck because, actually, now there is.

Now you can head for the Burke Williams spa, right here in the heart of San Francisco's shopping area on Market Street.

The Burke Williams day spa is just inside the Westfield Shopping Mall and it's a great place to head after a morning of shopping, or sight-seeing. The spa experience here is all about reducing your stress, improving your circulation and enhancing your peace of mind. And what could be better than that?

You would never even know there was a shopping mall just a few feet away from this day spa, that's how quiet it is!

While others might be leaving their heart behind in San Francisco, you will be leaving behind your worries and cares. For the best value, arrive an hour early so you can use the services and relax before your treatment.

"It was the best spa experience I have ever had," say San Francisco resident, Lisa Quiroga. "I had their brand new spa massage - the 80 minute Dot.com treatment. I can tell you, after 80 minutes there, I didn't have a single knot or an aching spot anywhere on my body. I wish they were there for me every day after work!"

The treatments vary and include such delights as the Burke Williams Massage which is their flagship experience. They use their own "Signature Blend" of essential oils, along with their unique Burke Williams scent. The massage uses warm, moist heat packs to relax your muscles and exotic herbs to shine your skin.

You can chose either Swedish or Deep Tissue. There's also a Deep Tissue with Sports Massage, a Deep Tissue with Firm Swedish in a combination, and a host of others. Check out the Therapist's Choice massage--one way to leave all that stressful decision-making to the therapist, as you luxuriate in nothing but bliss.

One of the massage therapists, Alegria Edelman, is one of the best therapists this Examiner has ever had a treatment from.

After your spa treatment, check out the Spa Baths where you can have a therapeutic herbal bath. You will be thoroughly rested and relaxed. A skilled attendant will help you here and you'll have plenty of alone time to unwind. This world-class experience is offered with other treatments.

And should you decide to make a whole day of it, then know that there are full day packages that include a massage, facial, scrub, foot massage, lunch and manicure/pedicure. Hmmm, delightful!

Lunch can be ordered in advance and the choices range from sandwiches to full platters, so no matter how big or small your appetite, you won't walk away hungry.

So how did the day spa start? Glad you asked. According to the Burke Williams website:

"In the early-1980s, Bill and Theresa Armour were an over-worked businessman and over-wrought stay-at-home mom. They needed to get away, find an escape that would restore their minds and bodies so they could keep up with their fast-paced lives! Back then, luxury massages and top-of-the-line skincare were only available in the finest destination hotels. Who had the time or money for such indulgences?"

"The company opened its doors in Brentwood where Bill and several friends performed the treatments themselves!"

If you live in the San Francisco Bay area, know that you can become a member, although you certainly don't need to be a member to visit. You do need to be 18, however, in order to take a treatment. Have a daughter who'd love a treatment but she is not 18? No problem: she can easily take a facial or a nail treatment.

After a spa treatment here, you'll be saying that Burke Williams puts the ahhhh back into spaaaaah.

Need an excuse to receive this as a gift? Don't you have a birthday coming up? Isn't it going to be the holiday season soon? There you go, that's all the excuse you need.

Don't miss it!

Website: BurkeWilliamsSpa.com Tel: 1-866-Beyond-5

World travelers flying in to San Francisco will arrive via SFO International Airport. Deals can be found to the City by the Bay on www.kayak.com. Residents who live here should look at public transport on transit.511.org

See photos and slideshow on the left-hand side and at the top of this article.

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If you want a skin-tightening procedure without surgery then see this article by Sheila: New skin-tightening procedure now available without surgery

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