A deeply invigorating experience

THE WILLOW Stream Spa was created by the Fairmont chain of hotels to help guests find their energy and personal renewal. There are currently eight Willow Stream Spas around the world, offering individual, select spa experiences.

By Punam Mohandas (Staff Writer)

Published: Sat 28 Apr 2007, 10:12 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 11:50 PM

The spa at the Fairmont Dubai, for example, offers Sunrise and Sunset Deep Tissue Massages as its exclusive signature treatments. Unlike the sunrise massage that has light and sure strokes leaving you refreshed to face the day, the sunset massage is meant to be more stringent, as it works out all the lactic acids from the body, thus leading to a relaxed night's sleep.

Before the start of the massage, you are given a form to sign, in which you should list out any ailments, body area to be avoided during massage, or medication you are undergoing. One is advised to take a shower/steam/sauna before, rather than after, the treatment — indeed, the spa attendant stresses this point, as the oils used during massage should be left to slowly seep into the skin through the night and so work their healing magic.

Post the shower, you are offered tea, water or juices; the more liquids you imbibe, the better, as this is a deep pressure 90-minute massage that will release all the toxins from your body.

The massage is done by using a mix of ginger and black pepper oils that have an underlying touch of lavender. After a cooling gel is first applied over the body to ease stiff muscles, the masseuse gets to work rubbing the oils in with sure, firm strokes. The guest is regularly asked if the pressure is too intense to cope with. Later, a paste of black mud and Kaolin clay is applied all down the length of the spine — since all the nerve points are located there — and left to dry.

The head, hands and feet are given a dose of reflexology treatment, where massage on the reflex points situated here further relieves tension. There is also a deeply penetrating and thorough scalp massage to follow.

It is important to mention here that, while one feels absolutely marvellous and revitalised soon after the massage, the soreness kicks in later, lasting a couple of days or so and that could make you feel lethargic as well. No need for panic, but remember to up your fluid intake.

Oil therapy

ESSENTIAL OIL is the essence of a plant in its most concentrated state; it is removed either by steam distillation or cold pressing. It is never applied directly to the skin — a few drops are mixed in with lotions, oils or creams. Since it is absorbed directly through skin pores and so enters the bloodstream capillaries, it goes straight to the muscle where the maximum impact is desired, bypassing the stomach and liver and thus is not compromised by metabolic alteration.

Ginger is a warming, fiery oil with antiseptic properties, good for stiffness and muscular pains as well as ailments such as arthritis, rheumatism, diarrhoea and catarrh. The scent is warm and spicy and stimulates the senses.

Black pepper is also a warm stimulating oil which when mixed with ginger, relieves pain by producing heat and increasing circulation. The spicy, woody scent is comforting and provides a mental uplift; black pepper oil is also used for those suffering from poor appetite, arthritis, catarrh, poor circulation, vertigo, low energy, muscle ache or stiffness and rheumatism. Blended with rosemary or marjoram, this oil makes an interesting aphrodisiac!

It is important to note that both these oils should not be used on pregnant or lactating women.

Massage away your aches

Deep tissue massage consists of a series of slow strong strokes and deep finger pressure that stimulate the muscles and release toxins from the body, using two methods — direct and indirect. In the former, pressure is applied to the muscle with the intention of finding resistance in the body, and maintaining the pressure till the resistance is released.

The indirect method employs pressure that moves in the opposite direction of the resistance.

Unlike regular massage techniques, deep tissue works on the skeletal structure itself. When muscles are stressed, they block oxygen and nutrients, leading to inflammation that builds up toxins in the muscle tissue. Through controlled strokes and pressure, this form of massage loosens the muscles thus releasing the toxins, allowing blood and oxygen to circulate freely again.

This is a therapeutic massage; while it does not require great strength on the part of the masseur, please bear in mind that there will be moderate discomfort as tight muscles are worked upon. Some people could experience soreness for a day or two. It is important to drink plenty of water afterwards to flush away the toxins released during massage.

While it is especially beneficial for athletes and increases blood circulation thus improving the functioning of the internal organs, it is not advised for pregnant women, those with bruised or inflamed skin, recent fractures, open wounds, those suffering from cardiovascular or osteoporosis conditions, or immediately after surgery/chemotherapy/radiation.

More news from City Times