Club oasis at The Hyatt Regency is more than just a spa; it’s a wellness center complete with a gym and a pool. Their continuous training programs to better their services make it one of the best spots in town to get a massage. Rammaya Lama, who has been working there for 15 years, tells us how the continuous learning process has helped her hone her skills and made her really good at what she does.
The treatment begins when you walk in through the door and sit on the couches to relax while the room is being prepared. You are welcomed with a tall glass of drink and a form to fill where you can state your preferences. After this you are led to the lockers to keep your bag and are given two options, to change right there or to change in the rooms. You have the option of taking a steam or a sauna to further relax yourself and help open the pores of your body and make it ready for the upcoming treatment. The main therapy beings with a ‘welcome touch’ where your foot is bathed in a ‘khadkulo’ of relaxing salt infused lukewarm water.
Choornaswedam: Because it’s hot
Choornaswedam is a traditional Ayurvedic therapy that is inspired by herbal infusion treatment and is one of its kinds in the valley. A poultice made up of a muslin cloth filled with garam masala like cloves and cardamom, rosemary, lemongrass etc and is heated in Ayurvedic herbs based oil. The hot oil seeps in through the cloth and helps bring out all the essence of the herbs. During the treatment, the poultice is placed on your body and your muscles are gently beaten by it, which enables all the essence of the herbs to get out of the pouch and into the body.
The heat along with the gentle beating helps loosen your muscles and the open pores help to circulate the essential oil through it pushing out any pockets of cold air that has lodged in there. These warm poultices in your body induce sweat and encourage energy detoxification. They are placed on strategic positions in your back that may have had a toxin buildup and they help get everything flowing the way it should by clearing the toxin blocks. While the heat gets intense at times, it isn’t unbearable as the complementary touch therapy helps sooth it out. This treatment is not only good for people with arthritis and rheumatism, it is also good for the winter season and helps fight the chill that has settled in your body.
Seeing hands Clinic
Established in Kathmandu in 2010, this social enterprise is run by the visually impaired people of our community. The concept first came about when a British couple realized how the sense of touch is heightened in people with visual imparities and how Nepal needs a place like this especially for people who have come back from trekking.
They trained people and opened a branch in Pokhara from where Chiranjibi Poudel also trained himself but later on, branched out to open his own enterprise in Thamel. He now trains other people for free and even provides food and lodging scholarships for some. The Seeing Hands Clinic was ranked the best spa by Trip Advisor in 2014 and 2016 and it has also earned a spot in popular international travel websites such as The Lonely Planet. They have garnered a group of loyal customers who keep coming back for their services and are thrilled about the response they have received up until now. As a visually impaired man himself, Poudel has ensured that the place is easy to navigate and accessible for all. Upon arrival, the clients are given water and asked if they need to use the restroom. When they are satisfied, they are taken to the rooms and the therapy begins.
Remedial sports therapy: Because it hurts
One of the clients, requesting anonymity, told us that though he has been to other spas in Thamel before, he finds himself constantly returning to The Seeing Hands Clinic. He explained he likes coming back because the massage here hurts more than any other therapy he has had anywhere which eventually leaves his muscles feeling looser and more relaxed than ever. The remedial sports therapy uses several specialized techniques to locate and repair the damages in the tendons, muscles and joints. This treatment is carried out by professionals who have been trained for well over a year in neuromuscular techniques and passive joints stretching.
However, this place isn’t only frequented by athletes and trekkers, even people with anxiety, asthma, digestive disorders and insomnia come here to relax and get treatment as they realize that prolonged massage treatments can help cure some of these disorders by stimulating the blood supply, allowing the toxins buildup in the muscles to be removed, and toning and relaxing the muscles to help improve joint mobility. Even though the therapists are visually impaired, privacy is maintained with fresh towels being used to cover the body before the treatment begins. Unlike other places, grape seed oil is used for the therapies as it is not only just non-allergens but also good for the muscles.
One of the biggest spa franchise in the country, they have many branches not only just in the valley but in Malaysia too. Suresh Puri, executive director of the spa, says that massage is a cultural phenomenon we have had for thousands of years and yet isn’t adopted by the western culture.
The clients here are offered a choice of herbal tea or water upon arrival and are made to fill out forms to note down their allergies. The first timers are counseled on the types of massages available and their benefits as their therapists work on readying their rooms. Upon being lead to the room, the massage starts with a foot ritual where your feet is placed in the ‘khadkulo’ and washed to help start the relaxation process.
Tranquility signature massage: Best of both worlds
The tranquility signature massage has a modern twist to the oily wooden board massages we have come to associate with traditional Ayurvedic massages that South India is famous for. The impracticality of the wooden massage and the need to maintain good hygiene have given rise to this less oily version of the massage.
This massage, like any other massage, helps to release the toxins buildup in the body and the clients can request any three of the available oils according to their needs. Lavender oil is used for relaxation, lemongrass oil is used to detoxify and juniper oil helps with invigoration. The lesser amount of oil used helps to increase the amount of friction that in turn helps give a deeper tissue massage.
The massage starts from the left foot if the person doesn’t have high blood pressure, in which case it starts from the back. This helps with the circulation of oxygenated blood throughout the body. A 60 minutes massage only focuses on the body while the 90 minutes and 120 minutes massage focus on the head and the face respectively as well. 75% of the time, the point of focus during the massage is the back as it is the gateway of all neurons that run through our body. In the long run, this massage helps not only with the blood circulation and the loosening of tight muscles but also to bring small involuntary muscular spasms under control. Apart from these physical benefits, the psychological satisfaction that comes with being relaxed is what makes this massage an immensely rejuvenating one.