More than smelling good

More than smelling good


More than smelling good

Sometimes you just don’t realise that your body needs attention. It took a visit to a spa for Jisha Krishnan to tune in to her inner ‘chi’

The choice is instinctive. Red. The yellow and blue bottles look attractive too, but my mind is made. “It’s what most young people choose,” says Melody, my therapist. Turns out that red is ‘revitalising, energising, uplifting’, while blue promises ‘peace of mind, rejuvenation and detox’ and yellow stands for ‘balancing, soothing and relaxing’.

On that happy note, we walk towards the treatment room, ready to indulge in 90 minutes of ‘Aroma Vitality’ at Chi, The Spa by Shangri-La Hotels, Bengaluru. In traditional Chinese philosophy, ‘chi’ is the universal life force (prana in Hinduism) that governs wellbeing and personal vitality. To maintain good health, the ‘chi’ must flow freely within the body. And that’s exactly what the signature spa treatment offers to do.

Eyes shut, mind relaxed

We start with the foot cleansing ritual. “Where are you from, Melody?” I ask. “Mizoram, ma’am,” the therapist responds. And before I can say another word, she places a soothing mask over my eyes, with a request, “Try to relax, ma’am.” And so, the rules are set and there’s no more talking. Except for the occasional “Is the pressure okay?” and “Yes, thank you”.

Earlier, at the reception, I was asked to fill a form with details about medical conditions, if any; areas the therapist needs to focus on. I had circled the shoulders and feet on the accompanying drawing of a human figure.

Unlike a typical aromatherapy massage or essential oils therapy, ‘Aroma Vitality’ combines the elements of Swedish massage techniques (known to break the knots and tension in the muscles), Shiatsu (Japanese therapy with focus on pressure points in continuous rhythmic sequence) and reflexology (where the emphasis is on reflex areas in the feet and hands which correspond to all the organs, glands and parts of the body).

Time stands still

At the massage table, as I lay face down, counting the red rose petals floating in a bowl below, time comes to a standstill. The oriental aromatic essential oils work their magic, as do the soothing strokes on all the muscles of my body. But when we get to my shoulder muscles, the discomfort begins. There’s a lot of stress in the muscles, informs Melody. After much kneading, it’s time for the face and head massage. “No oil, please,” I say.

And for the first time ever, I experience a face massage at a spa. Unlike the head massage or body massage, there’s no instant ‘feel good’ factor here. But the ‘chi’ perhaps needs to flow freely through the face as well.

It’s finally time to go in for a shower. Let the warm water help one sense the renewed balance of energies in the body. At that blissful moment, the mind is still, no emotional chaos, no urgency to tick things off the ‘to do’ list.

As I get ready to head back to the reception area and look around the place, what stays with me is not the opulence of the five-star hotel but its tranquil vibe. Soon, Melody is back with my herbal tea — the perfect way to wrap up a session designed to strengthen the body’s vital energy. “So, what was the oil you used?” I ask. “The red bottle one,” she responds. It’s a secret; none of the staff members know what’s in those bottles.

My shoulder muscles still feel a bit tender, I confess. It is normal, assures the therapist, given the pressure points stimulated during Shiatsu. “You can come back for another session. But not tomorrow, the day after. The muscles need rest,” she says.

Did I go back for more? Well, that’s another story.

All in the oil

* If you are going through some anxiety-inducing phase of life, there’s nothing like a lavender oil massage to soothe your nerves.

* Aches and pains of the body and mind disappear, if only for a while, with a gentle touch of eucalyptus oil.

* For an instant ‘feel good’ experience, try an indulgent massage with some jasmine essential oil.

* A hint of Ylang-Ylang’s sweet aroma is all you need, with a firm massage, to bid adieu to stress.

* Patchouli essential oil massage is the perfect answer to the constant fatigue of urban life. 

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