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Inspired living

Health spa natural therapies


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Over the past five years, spas have become more sexy, sensual and spiritual places. Imagine French champagne served after rituals and live chanting during your healing massage. Or cleansing eucalyptus black soap exfoliations and classic rassoul clay wraps. Or almond oil massages with warm Vichy showers bestowed on a heated marble slab all this delivered in your very own private oriental hammam suite. It is possible to explore a world of North African and Middle Eastern inspired water facilities at a luxury hotel spa in Singapore, created by French-born spa consultant, Farida Brouwer.

Sacred spas are not new. In ancient times spas were traditionally a place where one could connect and experience the purity of nature. Today, in a world where computers, Blackberrys and mobile phones dominate, the sanctuary of a soulful spa experience is increasingly sought after.

Indeed spa treatments today are increasingly designed to bring one into moments of divinity – a wordless moment of authentic connection with oneself. But critics may ask why we should pay a mint for these when one can reach the same place by taking some moments of meditation or walking along the beach? “Nothing can compare with the experience of pure sacred silence blended with tension releasing massage, music and aromatherapy scents all wrapped up in an hour,” says treatment curator Maya D’Adam.

“Spas should deliver well-executed treatments with grace, professionalism and gentleness,” adds Farida. “The most exquisite spas are where I feel both at ease and rejuvenated, where the experience is not staged, the menu is simple yet potent and the therapists gentle, discreet, caring and supportive. When touching someone, the therapist must perform it as a sacred act.” However, she says she would not say that spas and spiritual retreats provide the same experience. “They complete each other but are not of the same dimension. For instance, I would not expect the same experience in a spa as in an ashram.” However, she adds that the spa guest is increasingly savvy and their expectations are high.

Farida’s Warm Jade Stone massage feels more like a spiritual experience than your average rubdown. During this “holy” holistic ritual, cool and warm jade stones deliver a deeply relaxing, grounding and cleansing experience. The stones and thermal variation take one beyond the physical experience of a typical massage deep into the body’s self-healing process. Even better, the finale, a glass of French champagne and handmade truffle chocolates lingers deep in one’s memory bank.

Likewise the Mantra Massage offered in Bali is something memorable. As part of the healing massage, an elderly healer chants deep Sanskrit mantras as she presses her healing hands into your skin. s well, the Maya Massage created by D’Adam will linger in your heart. During this 90-minute massage she places a large Tibetan singing bowl on the lower back and others around you. The sound of the various bowls vibrating through and around the body feels incredibly grounding and soulful.

Says D’Adam: “I wanted to create a treatment that had a holistic approach and noticed that sound made an impact on the healing process. I chose to include Tibetan singing bowls that I play above and on the body. The sound of these brings the mind into the heart space creating stillness and balance in the subtle energies of the body.” She says that Tibetan monks have been using singing bowls for centuries during their meditations so it makes sense they would suit a spa environment.

“Ultimately a spa is a place where at the end of the experience one can say, ‘I feel good about myself, I feel good in my body, I feel good the way I look, the way I am’,” says Farida.