It’s a cold, grey day, but I’m being warmed from the outside in by exotic spices. A heady fragrance of cinnamon, ginger and cloves wafts around the room as my entire body is gently scrubbed with a blend of ground spices and rice. All I need to do is relax and enjoy the experience. Honestly, it would be impossible not to.
This may seem a bit decadent for a Wednesday afternoon but today it’s my job and I’m taking it seriously.
What does a day spa model do?
While all the therapists at ikatan, the award-winning Noosa day spa, are qualified in massage, beauty and wellbeing, they’re also specially trained for each of the unique treatments on offer. With a new therapist on board, I’ve been asked to act as a ‘model’ so she can practice the treatment on a real person, with help and guidance from her manager.
My job is to act as a guinea pig for the 90-minute Boreh Wrap body treatment and it’s a role I’m happy to handle.
What’s a Boreh Wrap treatment?
With a Balinese theme, ikatan’s spa treatments are all designed to optimise relaxation, and many of them are based on traditional ayurvedic or Balinese medicines. The Balinese Boreh Wrap and Massage treatment uses warm spices to relieve aches, pains and muscle tension, exfoliate the skin and improve circulation.
Once I’ve been evenly scrubbed and coated in the spice mix, which spa owner Katrina Thorpe blends herself, I’m wrapped in a thermal blanket and towels while the spices work their magic.
The treatment is based on an ancient practice that’s still used in Bali today, both by rice farmers to soothe sore muscles after a hard day in the rice paddies, and by urban Balinese who use it to ward off colds and chills.
How does the treatment work?
Everyone reacts differently to the spice mix and, while the rest of my body feels warm and cosy, my back starts to warm up like a hot plate. So much so that I ask if there’s a heat pad under the blankets. There isn’t. It’s just the spices drawing the heat out of my body and easing away the aches in my upper back, shoulders and neck where I hold a lot of tension.
It feels wonderful and I’m amazed how much heat generated purely by my own body and the spices.
I have time to enjoy the experience before being asked to sit up so the therapist can pour warm coconut milk over my skin. As well as introducing another subtle fragrance, the coconut milk has a cooling and hydrating effect.
After my entire body has been doused in coconut milk, it’s time for a shower before what the ikatan brochure describes as a “45 minute Balinese aroma oil massage to ease away muscle tension”.
After a shower, I lie face down on the table while warm oil is liberally poured over my skin and massaged in. It appears there isn’t much tension left; I soon start to drift in and out of sleep.
The combination of gentle music, dim lighting, a calming aroma and the therapist’s slow, flowing massage strokes have taken me from distracted rushing, to deep relaxation, in way less than 90 minutes. An hour and a half has never passed so fast.
I get to prolong the experience with a pot of chai tea in the garden afterwards while I reflect on my day spa model experience. When opportunities for deep relaxation like this come your way, it makes you realise how much we need them.
What was just another cold, grey winter’s day now feels bright and beautiful.
Guest post by Annabel Candy
Annabel is a travel writer and serial expat who currently lives in Australia. She shares travel stories and tips at Get In the Hot Spot and runs Web marketing agency Mucho. When she’s not hanging out with her husband, three kids and their tabby cat, you can find her walking, running or swimming at the beach.