Monday, September 27, 2010

Promise of a New Day -- or at least a New Body


If there was a day I so needed a massage and some TLC, it was today. So perhaps it was lady luck or my guardian angel who beckoned me to the Devarana Spa on the second floor of the Dusit Thani hotel in Makati. I'd made the booking last week, simply because I'd wanted a little taste of authentic Thai massage, not realizing I'd be needing a major "pamper me" session exactly today. Dusit's Devarana Spa, you see, has flown in from Pattaya, Thailand a special therapist to do Thai-style oriental therapies; and she is accepting bookings at the spa until the end of October.

Spas in Thailand are truly special and the techniques used set Thai massage apart from other types of Asian massage. In addition, Thai therapists have a wonderful sense of touch. It's like the Thais were born to be experts at massage therapy -- I've never had a lousy massage in Thailand, and I try to get as many as I can. Even the 200 baht massage on the streets is pretty good. And if I have a half-hour before boarding my flight at Bangkok's international airport, I'll even try and squeeze one in at the airport spa.

Knowing this, I just had to take advantage of the fact that Dusit actually has a Thai masseuse on its premises for another four weeks. Driving across Makati for an appointment, after all, is certainly more convenient (and invariably more cost-effective) than flying to Thailand!

Massage at the end of a maddening day

But today was just a jampacked day of meetings and lots of work. I was still at the office past 6 pm, when I closed my Mac and fled my desk. Breathless and rather agitated, after having already postponed my appointment for half an hour, I arrived at Dusit tonight at 630 PM, not exactly in a spa frame of mind. But the moment I entered the spa, like magic I almost felt my tension away. Decorated in white and muted earth colors, the spa reception lobby was calming, tranquil and very relaxing.

I didn't realize you had such a pretty spa here," I exclaimed to Sudaporn Prasertsang, the spa manager, who greeted me as I walked in. It was my first time at the Dusit's spa, which is rather suprising, considering I'm at this hotel at least once a week. I'm a great fan of Dusit's Benjarong restaurant, you see, and so I come as often as my schedule permits for my standard green chicken curry, grilled pork neck, pad thai noodles, and bagoong rice -- and Thai halo-halo. In fact, I'm such a regular here that most of the restaurant staff know what I order and don't even give me the menu anymore. (Another Benjarong regular is former Thai country manager Nivat Chantarachoti who, unfortunately, is leaving Manila to take up a new post in Zurich, Switzerland.)

Anyway, little did I know that all these times I've trooped to Dusit's Benjarong, an oasis of bliss was just one floor above.

90 minutes of Eastern Promise Therapy

I tried the Eastern Promise Therapy (PhP 3800++ for 90 minutes), which is supposedly the specialty of Dusit's visiting masseuse, Apinya Buajapoh, and booked a deluxe corner suite with a steam shower and an outdoor shower plus a large massage area, for my treatment. The Eastern Promise Therapy is a 90-minute treatment that involves stretching based on yoga principles, followed by a hot ginger compress on the small of the back, and then a Kati Vasti (a special ayurvedic treatment for lower backache that involves pouring an ayurvedic oil on the lower back area) was done.

The stretching was especially welcome as it's done well so rarely by local therapists. The Thai style of stretching, which is done in spas all over Thailand, use of hands and feet in a way that really addresses the pressure points. You're stretched to just below the point of pain and discomfort, and the result is complete relaxation afterwards. Meanwhile, the ginger compress was hot and almost itchy at the beginning, but it worked so well in relaxing all the stress in my back. The heat helped to promote circulation and the warm feeling stayed on long after the compress had been taken away.

Similar to Japanese shiatsu

Then the treatment ended with a full dry pressure point massage similar to the Japanese shiatsu, and concentrating on the spine. According to Apinya, applying pressure on the key points along the spine helps to relieve tension and muscle stiffness, while balancing energy and improving circulation.

Balancing energy is a principle often heard in health spas in Asia. Practioners of Oriental medicine believe that illness is caused by unbalanced energy within the body that must be realigned for healing and optimum health. When energy pathways are blocked, sickness starts to form in some part of the body. Apart from relaxation, this is one of the reasons for massage therapy. Bold
Needless to say, I felt so much better after my extremely stressful day. "You've got very tight shoulders," Apinya said to me. "You should come back for at least one more treatment before I leave."

If I had the time (and the budget!), I'd probably be back at least once every week -- preferably before or after my weekly meal at Benjarong.


If you've never had a proper Thai massage,
this is your chance to try it.

Apinya is only in Manila until the end of October
so book your authentic Thai massage treatments now!


About Devarana Spa

Devarana is actually pronounced as Te-wa-run. It comes from Thai-Sanskrit, meaning "garden in heaven." Founded in Bangkok in 2000 as part of the Dusit Group and the recipient of numerous spa awards, it now operates from within Dusit hotels in Bangkok, Pattaya, Hua Hin and Chiang Mai, as well as in the Philippines. Last year, it also opened a stand-alone spa in Florence, Italy.



* * * *

My favorite massage experiences in Thailand
Chiva-Som International Health Resort in Hua Hin
Peninsula Spa at Peninsula Bangkok
Devarana Spa at Dusit Thani Bangkok and Pattaya


TRAVELIFE MAGAZINE on Facebook

No comments:

Post a Comment