Saturday, November 28, 2009

Anantara Spa: Time for scheduled service.

It’s been awhile since I last had my body treated and kneaded like today. I went for the ‘Revival’ spa ritual because I thought my body needs overhauling before going back to the battle field next week. And boy, was I in for a surprise.

The ‘Revival’ option consists of a floral foot ritual (which really, didn’t make much difference to me), a detoxifying green tea scrub (oh yea!), a seaweed body wrap, couple of showers in between and the so called ‘indulgent’ Swedish massage.

I reckon going to a spa is like taking your car to service when it’s scheduled to. This is to ensure your wheels are on tip top condition, especially before and after trashing it on the tracks or hard driving. So like how you would polish your car once in awhile to keep that shine, you need to exfoliate your body too since your skin is the largest organ you own which you should thank God and take good care of it. The green tea scrub was applied with a bit of pressure so it felt good. Somehow I know it’s just psychological, visualizing how the little sand beads draw out all impurities from your pores and leave you soft and shiny. Like your car minus the soft part.

Then the seaweed body wrap is something like waxing your car, something like a moisturizer because your skin gets dry after you scrubbed it squeaky clean. When my masseur applied it on me, I was like ‘YEEEEOWWWWW’ because it was hot, boy! It almost burnt off a layer of my epidermis. But after withstanding the scalding experience, they wrap you in plastic so that the heat and moisture are kept in which is supposed to be good for blood circulation. Then I dozed off for about 15 minutes before she came in and cleaned me up. I had a soothing aromatic sort of sand bag on my eyes, but I could imagine what a mess I was in.

Next comes the challenge. I asked what was ‘Swedish massage’ before I signed up and if it was painful. The lady who attended to me showed me a very gentle ‘hand chopping’ sign and assured me that it will feel very soothing. Being a serious culture vulture that I was, I thought I should be adventurous and try different massages from all over the world. So, Swedish it was. And 10 minutes into the massage ritual, I figure that was how the famous meatballs came about. It started with warm assuring strokes on the back of your legs with fairly strong pressure applied. I requested for strong pressure in case I burst out laughing because I’m generally pretty ticklish. So I reckon better hurt than tickle. It was painful but not unbearable. Then the punctuated short strokes became more intense. It’s like after warming up your engine, you tap on the accelerator to rev the car a bit and it goes vroom vroom. And then, the strokes became really forceful before turning into a light rhythmic ‘chopping’ on my thigh, which was okay. At this point, she had almost straightened every single vein in my leg. Then the chopping became pounding. Yes, my masseur pounded on me like she was tenderizing minced meat for meatballs. And then it felt more like I was sparring with a Thai boxer and obviously I was at the losing end. I’m only 47.8kg and the way she pounded on my inner thigh (which by the way had me gritting my teeth to avoid any sudden outburst), I felt flabby. And she did the same to every part of my body, leaving no bone unturned. I was tempted to tell her, in case she didn’t notice, I’m no Swedish. My frail Malaysian body cannot take such hard pounding. And I’m no meatball. But still I clenched my teeth and fists all the way through the ordeal because I knew if I could survive a few pitches in a row, back to back flights and sleepless nights, I can survive this! So well, at least now I know. THIS is Swedish massage.

But it was all good at the end, my knotted muscles seemed more relaxed (yea, wait till I wake up tomorrow). My mind as the ritual suggested, sort of ‘revived’. Unknown to my masseur, she has kneaded into me a new sense of belonging in Anantara, Krabi. Darn, I don’t want to go home… Sigh

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