SPA MASSAGES AND BODY TREATMENTS IN GOA

 

ABOUT SPAS AND MASSAGES :

THE WORLD IS Indeed divided in two: people who love going to the spa and those who want to, but are apprehensive of it. There are, of course, those very few people who actually detest being touched (by strangers, they always insist) and avoid the spa on purpose but we will ignore them roundly. For the saner world, here is a package from heaven.

In an attempt to demystify the spa and its complicated web, we simplify spa lingo and explain the different types of massages, so that next time you know exactly which one to go for, instead of asking for a ‘relaxing massage’. Read each massage type, so you don’t have to go through a series of half-enjoyable experiences before you pick the one you like the best. We also answer some Frequently Unasked Questions, things most people wonder about but don’t know whom to ask. So here goes, get familiar with the world of wellness and then so sink into tub of bliss.

Below are some kind of massages which could be very useful for you when you consider a Spa treatment in Goa.

SWEDISH MASSAGE (WHEN IN DOUBT)

Known as the 'classic' massage the world over, this is a basic, light massage that would be ideal for the first-time spa visitor. Swedish massage is what I would call an agenda-free massage: a feel good, light, full-body massage that relaxes surface level muscles and improves blood circulation without poking and jabbing at you. Your therapist will go softer on bony areas and harder and fleshy, to relieve the bit of stiffness that creeps in now and then. If you have had a painful massage experience before or are nearing 90, try this one.

AYURVEDA MASSAGE (WHEN THE TOUGH GET GOING)

Our contribution to the world of spa therapies, this massage is meant to detoxify and cleanse your system and rearrange your doshas (not the edible variety). And god do they rearrange things. Expect a couple of toughies slathering buckets of oil on you and then, more or less, beating you up. If you are looking for a massage that combines relaxation with cure of common diseases, this is the best option for you. Consult a known ayurveda expertand go to a reputed spa, though—being a home-grown massage, there are lots of quacks around. Oh and yes, don’t plan to go on a date afterwards: you will smell of herbal medicated oil for a couple of hours at least.

AROMATHERAPY (HERBAL ESSENCE)

A massage with fragrant oils is not aromatherapy. It is the art of using a dash of plant and herb extracts, called essential oils, with another soothing oil to work magic on your mood. If you are feeling low, or restless, or lethargic, try a soothing aromatherapy massage. Lavender is one of the most commonly used oil but I will warn you that it is a deceptively strong scent. At most spas you will be offered a choice of essential oils; most common of which are chamomile, jojoba, lemongrass, and mandarin and ylang ylang.

THAI MASSAGE (TRY THE DAY)

For those who hate to undress (in front of strangers), and those who need someone to help them do their yoga, the traditional dry massage from Thailand is a suitable option. You do not lie calmly and forget the world in this therapy; you are constantly reminded of your worldly body parts, as the therapist stretches your limbs in yogic positions. Thai massage improves blood circulation and hence mobility, and relieves you of annoying aches and pains. Wear loose-fitting clothes when going to the spa, or you can ask for a dressing gown. After leaping about the room for an hour, you will feel energised and, surprisingly, very relaxed.

SHIATSU (POINT A FINGER)

Shiatsu too is dry massage, from Japan, that applies finger pressure to key points on your body to improve circulation and relieve stress and soreness. In addition to 'acupuncture without needles', the therapist will also make you do gentle stretches. If you hate being poked about, this is not for you. Even if you don't, some areas may hurt more than others so do tell the therapist. I remember one time in Shillong when the masseuse poked my spine and I yelped. She decreased the pressure instantly—you only have to communicate with the therapist. Immensely relaxing and invigorating, Shiatsu is good to keep you flexible.

BALINESE MASSAGE (MIXOLOGISTS UNITE)

Often called the softer version of Ayurveda, and falling in between a light and a strong massage, this therapy from Indonesia uses a mix of acupressure, aromatherapy and reflexology to reach below the surface level muscles and ease your various aches, pains and stress points. Your therapist will knead and roll your skin to relax tense and knotted muscles and the warm oil will act as the soothener. Choose your own oil, if you are allergic to strong perfumes. If you are pregnant, or thereabouts, avoid this trip to Bali.

HOT STONE THERAPY (THERE'S NO SMOKE)

Often called the softer version of Ayurveda, and falling in between a light and a strong massage, this therapy from Indonesia uses a mix of acupressure, aromatherapy and reflexology to reach below the surface level muscles and ease your various aches, pains and stress points. Your therapist will knead and roll your skin to relax tense and knotted muscles and the warm oil will act as the soothener. Choose your own oil, if you are allergic to strong perfumes. If you are pregnant, or thereabouts, avoid this trip to Bali.

REFLEXOLOGY (HAPPY FEET)

Often confused with Thai massage, Reflexology, though not restricted to feet, often does concentrate only on the feet and is also called Foot Reflexology, to drive home the point. Casually called a foot massage it is anything but casual, focussing on acupressure points on your feet to clinically tap into the rest of your body. Whatever be the therapist's scientific measures, at the end of the day you get to indulge in that ultimate luxury: someone pressing your tired feet. The result is a happy pair of feet and a happier mind.

THE HAMAM (GETTING STEAMY)

Bringing life to the traditional concept of spa is the latest trend in India's wellness world. You walk into a huge heated room and are drenched in steamy water. Then you are scrubbed with soapy oil and cleansed so much that you won't recognise yourself in the mirror and then the steamy hot shower relaxes you further. The hamam is like having a bath of a lifetime and is a great option for wintery evenings. I prefer to follow a stint at the hamam with a massage, for a trip to a spa feels incomplete without someone rubbing your shoulders for a bit. Doesn't it?

LOMI LOMI MASSAGE (ELBOW OUT THE PAIN)

If you come to the spa in a foul mood, the name of this massage from Hawaii is enough to lighten things up. Lomi, in fact, simply means 'to rub'. To go with the Hawaiian theme the oil used is frequently palm or coconut, though this is not a strict rule. The massage can get quite intense, as the therapist uses elbows along with palms to get to the root of the problem and shoo away muscle tension and ache. But then, like all massages, you can ask your therapist to go slow or increase the pressure. Let this not be your first spa experience; spa addicts, give this one a try if you haven't yet.
BODY TREATMENTS

BODY WRAPS & SCRUBS (HEALTH COVER)
Massages and stretches are not the only aspects of the spa experience. More and more innovative and interesting sounding body wraps and scrubs are now on offer from the different spas across the country.These skin treatments often use natural products such as fruits and flower extract, which are traditionally known to be beneficial for the skin and detoxifies the body. A body scrub will exfoliate the skin, leaving it silky smooth. During a body wrap, the therapist will apply the mix on you and wrap a sheet around you, packing in the goodies and letting them do their job. Wraps and scrubs can cause irritation if you have sensitive skin—don't panic. Jump into a handy shower and head for a soothing massage. You are; in the right place!

BEAUTY TREATMENTS (SKIN DEEP)
Every spa will offer basic beauty treatments such as pedicure and manicure but most good ones will also have a range of male and female facials. Some of these are really exciting and I know many people who get their facials done only in the spa. The most common facial will be something loosely called an 'uplifting' facial, which is your basic routine of cleaning and massaging. One warning about pedicure: many spas will have something called a spa pedicure, which is nothing but the usual pedicure with an added foot mask. Don't pay double for this. If you have decided to settle for a beauty treatment in a spa then my suggestion would be to go for an exotic one, something you can't get at the neighborhoods parlour. That's the whole point of going to the spa—to experience something above the ordinary.

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