The Oriental Spa introduces traditional folk wisdom to its treatments
CONSIDERING THE many therapeutic benefits of traditional massage based on local wisdom, it comes as no surprise that the use of different types of sticks to reduce muscle tension is being increasingly spotted on spa menus.
Now this technique has been adopted by the award-winning Oriental Spa, which has just launched two new “Essence of Thailand” treatments – “Lanna Ceremony” and “Spirit of Isaan”. They draw upon ancient traditional Thai techniques from the North and Northeast regions respectively to deliver comprehensive 150-minute treatments for guests who want to get the most out of the country’s rich traditions.
The treatment room is well equipped and offers true pampering.
Standing alongside the Chao Phraya River, the newly refurbished Oriental Spa, part of the luxury, five-star Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, is housed in a classic Thai-style four-storey building made from golden teak wood. Each of the 10 private rooms promise relaxation and renewal. Notably, the Oriental Spa was the first to open within a hotel property in Bangkok and since its launch in 1993, has been widely recognised as a pioneer in the Thai spa industry.
The Oriental Spa is housed in a classical Thaistyle building made from golden teakwood.
Every treatment begins with a private consultation to determine each individual’s personal and current state of wellbeing. The treatment and oils are then tailored to each guest so as to leave the body, mind and spirit in perfect harmony. Guests can unwind after each treatment in the relaxation lounge and are also provided with nutritional and exercise guidance to extend the beneficial effects of the programme at home.
The Spirit of Isaan treatment uses bamboo canes to clear blockages and stimulate the flow of energy.
The “Spirit of Isaan” ritual priced at Bt7,000 incorporates black rice blended with coarse coffee beans and jasmine rice soap for an indulgent detoxifying body wrap and exfoliation. The head massage is particularly relaxing, with the therapist’s healing fingertips tracing gentle circles all over the head and scalp.
That’s followed by a rhythmic Oriental bamboo massage. This specialised massage kneads and stretches away any tension, leaving you with a deep sense of relaxation. Here the therapist uses a roll of heated bamboo, which can change depending on the detail necessary for accurate gliding strokes. The longer, thicker sticks are used for the gliding and rolling movements, primarily for larger muscles such as the back and thighs, while the shorter, thinner canes are used to find built-up tension, knots and trigger points, and then vigorously knead these spots for release. The deep tissue massage technique can be applied with a firmer and more extensive technique to reach knots.
The bamboo cane also helps improve skin tone thanks to its anti-irritant properties and antioxidants. And after the treatment, there’s little more refreshing a glass of “go green” detoxifying juice. Guests will also be presented with a gift of embedded loofah soap to encourage them to continue the ritual at home.
The “Lanna Ceremony” treatment, also priced at Bt7,000, draws inspiration from Northern Thai tok sen techniques to stimulate circulation and release muscle tension in deeper tissue.
The ceremony begins with a herbal foot bath infused with fresh miang, a blend of healing herbs found in the North and continues with a luxurious herbal bath to prepares the body for the Oriental scrub. That’s followed by a body wrap using fang, another local ingredient, to awaken and refresh the skin.
The Lanna Ceremony draws on the traditional northern tok sen rhythmic tapping to relax muscle tension.
The Lanna massage gets down to serious business with tok sen, where the body is tapped rhythmically with a stick made from the bark of a tamarind tree. It may look a little like a hammer but it’s certainly much softer, giving off a slight tapping sound. With the muscles now relaxed, it’s time for a warm herbal oil massage and warm herbal compresses for the feet. The rubbing and stroking action dislodges accumulated toxins, improving the flow of blood, nutrients, and oxygen throughout. The gentle action of massage relaxes the nerves, giving off a calm if energetic vibe.
The four-hand Oriental Harmony treatment is recommended for jet lag.
Another new treatment is the adaptation of the spa’s signature “Oriental Harmony” (Bt9,000). Spread over two hours, this is ideal for those suffering from jet lag. Two therapists work wonders with a “four-hands” technique in unison for a harmonious massage that balances the body.
A Muay Thai elbows massage provides a deep sense of invigoration.
Another traditional Thai treatment is the “Muay Thai” (Bt3,900), which sees the traditional kick boxing form re-designed in a passive form of deep oil massage emulating the sport’s movements. These movements include kicks and punches, along with a massage that uses elbows and knees to provide a deep sense of invigoration and rejuvenation. Over 90 minutes, the massage relaxes the muscles, promotes better circulation, speeds up the removal of uric acid and other toxins, and raises mood and awareness.
Healthy spa cuisine by Sala Rim Nam Restaurant can be delivered to the treatment room.
Once fully pummelled, guests can chill in the lounge and sample one of the light dishes on offer or order special spa cuisine prepared by the hotel’s famous Sala Rim Nam Restaurant. Among the dishes well worth trying are Plah Pla Yaang (spicy grilled fish with Siamese herbs), Yaam Taeng Gwa Gub Goong (a mildly spiced cucumber and prawn salad), Tom Khlong Pla (spicy sour soup with fish and tamarind), and Tom Yaam Goong Gup Hed (traditional Thai river prawn and mushroom soup). Prices start at Bt250.
STICKS NOT STONES
The Oriental Spa is open daily from 9am to 10pm.
Book a session at (02) 659 9000 or drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org