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56 • Vacations

®

Summer 2018

In northern Thailand’s Chiang Mai, being mellow

is first nature.

Wellness seekers tuck inside no-frills roadside massage

spas where there are plenty for cheap foot massages, but

the more alluring treatment on offer is the traditional Thai

massage.

A full-body workout, I sport loose fitting attire and lay

face down on a low-lying bed while the petite-framed

masseuse uses iron grips to pull my limbs into strange

yoga poses. Her powerful fingers press on every pressure

point. An arm kneads my back like a rolling pin.

Surprisingly, the after-effects are heavenly. Stretching

becomes easier, limbs looser. I can’t get enough of the

body-bending benefits and venture daily to an array

of spas.

On another day after communing with rehabilitated

elephants as a

mahout

(elephant trainer), I choose a spa

hideaway by the Mae Ping River.

The spa therapist drapes me in a jasmine-infused garland

necklace and pours me a cup of herbal tea. She bathes

my feet in a bowl of warm water and milk as she exfoliates

using lavender salt before escorting me to a dimly lit room

scented with a calming lemongrass fragrance.

More spa rituals follow. Doused in mineral salts and

therapeutic melted chocolate, the treatment exfoliates my

skin’s surface. This royal pampering session, dubbed the

Lanna Ritual, is made complete when the therapist applies

ginseng oil – soothing my skin, as well as my soul.

It is time to mellow some more.

From traditional Thai

massages to herbal spa

treatments, get ready for

a royal pampering.

Health & Wellness

Mellow

in Chiang Mai

By llona Kauremszky

THAI MASSAGE THERAPIST

©ILONA KAUREMSZKY

POWERFUL FINGERS PRESS

ON EVERY PRESSURE POINT

MASSEUSE PULLS ON LIMBS

INTO STRANGE YOGA POSITIONS

Health & Wellness

Vacations® •

Summer 2018 • 57

No expansive white spa lounge with

fruit-flavoured water greets me: here, the

simple room is lit by natural light from

a small window. I get undressed, the

therapist wrapping me in a cotton cloth

covering me from chest to mid-thigh.

Sitting on a small wooden stool, the

massage begins on my scalp. Her hands

drop, slowly massaging my muscles

in short strokes – the pressure of her

fingertips following the angles of my

body toward my heart. Her strokes are

slow and deliberate, releasing my stress

and slowing my heart beat, her focus not

only on my body, but my mind too.

With an Ayurvedic massage, the goal

is to harmonize body, mind and spirit.

To achieve this, the therapist combines

massage techniques to focus on my

body’s energy points, or meridians, with

the healing benefits of sesame oil with

sandalwood and jasmine.

I move to an unpadded wooden massage

table, the therapist focuses her energy

on my legs and hips, using her forearm

and elbow to gently connect my body’s

meridians.

Gently pulling me into a sitting position,

I’m guided to a steam table with a cover,

where I’m tucked inside for 15 minutes,

my head is the only part of my body

not feeling the heat and worries about

being nude in front of a stranger are long

forgotten.

Although the luxe style of a western spa

treatment is missing, my mind and body

are stress-free and relaxed, revelling in

the calmness – a welcome after effect of

the simplicity of a Sri Lankan Ayurvedic

treatment.

SRI LANKAN AYURVEDIC MASSAGE

ESSENTIAL OILS FOR AN

AYURVEDIC MASSAGE

Ancient

Tradition

Ayurvedic

Massage:

THERAPIST

By Waheeda Harris

On the island nation of

Sri Lanka, Buddhist sites

and Asian elephants may

be bucket list fixations, but

visitors should add another

must-do to their list:

an Ayurvedic massage.