Along with being a beach connoisseur, through trial and error, I’m starting to discover which spa treatments I like the most (ah, such difficulties I have in this life…)
I got started with the whole massage experience when Alex and I were on our honeymoon in Mexico. My very first massage was a hot stone massage. I still remember it fondly. I think it must have been one of my best massage experiences, ever. But I’m starting to think it was just that spa, or that woman, because almost every hot stone massage I’ve had since then has been a little lackluster. Either the stones are too hot, or too cold, or the ladies don’t know what to do with them, or they press too soft, or too hard. It’s kind of a special thing, so I know they’re all trained, I just don’t think they’re all trained well.
So, while we lived in Malaysia I got regular massages at the spa down the street. I found a lady I liked, who did a good hot stone massage, so I usually went for that, with the occassional standard Swedish massage.
Now, having moved to the land of fabulous massages, I’ve started experimenting a little bit more. I’ve tried a variety of kinds of Thai massage – the stretching, the luk pra kob with the hot poultice, lots of great foot massages, and of course the aromatherapy.
And somehow, this year in particular, I’ve been to lots of different spas and tried out a much wider variety of treatments. I’m not sure if I’ve been more stressed out (and thus more frequently in need of a spa) or just splurging more or just so amazed at how much cheaper it is here than in Malaysia (which is so much cheaper than in the US or Europe), but I’ve been on quite a spa bender over the last few months….
Back in January, when our friends Sabine and Neil were here, we splurged on a visit to the Chiang Mai Oasis spa. It just so happens that they were offering a special for a scrub and massage combo. That was my first scrub and I knew it would soon become a favorite. They basically massage you lightly with a lovely scrub instead of oil. My skin was so soft afterwards! Plus every room at that particular spa had this amazing outdoor bathroom, so I got to shower off under the beautiful blue sky. Amazing!
Last week, when we were in Phuket, I had a special 50% off coupon for the spa (thanks to the wonderful Marriott Gold Card) so I figured I would do something a little special while I was there. The JW Marriott has a gorgeous Mandara spa on site, with outdoor treatment rooms (and showers). Since I liked the scrub so much in Chiang Mai, this time I figured I would try a wrap. Talk about relaxing! They basically cover you with a thick lotion, wrap you up tightly, and leave you alone for about a half hour. I think that may have been my best nap ever! Totally cocooned and warm. And, since this was a splurge, I had a massage right after the wrap. Perfection!
And, thus, I’ve had myself a little revelation. I used to think that the hot stone massage was my favorite kind of massage. I think that was because I was somewhat unfamiliar with massage and wanted the experience to be as painless as possible. Now that I’m becoming somewhat of a connoisseur, I’m starting to learn that a few painful points in a massage only leads to more relaxation and feeling even better the following day. So, I think I’m done with the hot stone massages for a while, now it’s all about the aromatherapy massage (I still can’t quite stomach the pulling and pushing of the Thai massage).
Finally, I put all this “research” to the test yesterday. We have a great little spa called Salus Per Crystal (owned by an ISB grad) right down the street, so I headed out for a whole afternoon. Back when Sabine and Neil were here I made the mistake of buying a package there – one of those things where you put in a certain amount and they give you an extra lump sum on your account. I guess I thought I’d be heading there every weekend, but I’ve been so busy, I haven’t really had a chance. What a mistake.
I spent three and a half hours there yesterday. I got a scrub (with orange-scented oil and sugar), a wrap (orange-scented again), and a two hour aromatherapy massage (with peppermint oil). Oh. My. God. It was fabulous! The combination of the scrub and the wrap made my skin so soft and radiant and the repeated massaging was so so so relaxing. I was like a wet noodle on the walk home.
It’s the trifecta! A scrub to get you clean and smooth, a wrap to soften you up, and a massage to relieve all your tension and complete the relaxation experience. So, now I know, my spa treatment of choice is a combo scrub, wrap, massage. What’s yours?