In Chinese philosophy, Chi is the universal life force that governs our wellness and personal vim and vigor. The Chi concept comes from the world of ancient secrets which have happily been revived.
My introduction to Chi spa treatments was at Bangkok’s Shangri La Hotel, one of the first to offer Chi.
Chi, originally from China and the Himalayas, has been practiced for eons, and the theory is that Chi must flow freely within the body and if and when there’s a blockage, illness follows. Therefore, the key to this strategy is to release the natural blockage with exercise, stretching, massage, hydrotherapy and meditation.
Five important Chinese elements, metal, wood, fire, earth, water are the signatures of the therapies. When your designated category works together, there’s harmony of yin and yang, hence creating inner compatibility.
The many lit candles in the architecturally-Tibetan-temple inspired spa, created a serene mood among artworks from the Himalayan region.
After filling out a two page personal assessment form which included preference of colours, early mornings or late nights , exercise activity and general health, and within a five minutes, I had the results. I was a mix of ‘wood’ and fire’. Wood loves travel, adventure, competition while fire is romantic and a natural leader.
Metal people are known to do exceptionally well at anything they try and have high standards while earth folks tend to look after others before themselves and water is curious and likes research.
Each Zen-calm suite, again lit by candles and the sweet smell of jasmine, had its own therapeutic tub, dressing/locker area, loo and often both mats and massage beds. Easily sliding teak ‘modesty’ screens, based on traditional Himalayan lattice work, separated the various areas.
First stop was a 15 minute relaxing foot soak in coolish water as pink flower petals covered the surface, ending with rigorous foot reflexology.
Next was unexpected. The filled-to the brim tub which had several strategically place forceful Jacuzzi, was where I floated like a cork in the dark in warm water for 20 minutes.
From there I transferred to the massage bed which I opted for over the floor mat. On my stomach, head through a doughnut type pillow, had me starring at weightless lotus plants in a large copper pot.
Specially mixed essential oils chosen to detoxify my body and relax my muscles were then rubbing into my skin. From the spa menu I had chosen a Himalayan Healing Stone Massage. This was inspired by the rituals of the Hor region of Tibet.
Using a combination of hot stones, each hand carved with mantras by Tibetan monks, already heated in oils and herbs, I was told this would “ground the body and restore vitality”. Later the cool stones would balance stress.
The finale was the vibrations of the ringing of a Tibetan bowl as it was rotated down my spine.
The 90 minutes flew by and added a new repertoire to my spa-itis.
Chi Balance treatment – a unique blend of Asian techniques encouraging the flow of energy. Acupresssure and energizing massage for yang followed by a relaxing massage for yin.
Mountain Tsampa – a barley scrub from the Himalayas, encouraging skin rejuvenation.
Couples can choose the Yin Yang massage – “balancing the flow of relationship”, done by two therapist.
Shangri-La Hotel, 89 Soi Wat Suan Plu, New Road, Bangrak, Bangkok
Tel 662 236 777
Rates in Baht… approximately 33 to the Canadian dollar
Himalayan Healing Stone Massage 4,900 Baht
Yin Yang Couples Massage per person 4,900 Baht
Traditional Thai massage start at 2,100 Baht
Chi Harmonizing 3,200 Baht
Biodrogo ‘Caviar Anti-aging 5,200 Baht
Hand and foot care – 1,800 Baht
Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok has once again clinched “The Best City Hotel in Asia” and “Top 20 Hotels in the World” accolades in Travel & Leisure’s 2009 World’s Best Awards. Celebrating its 135th anniversary in 2011, the recently rejuvenated “La Grande Dame” has captivated the hearts and minds of Royalty and heads of states, industrialists and artists, famed travellers and local residents alike by its unrivalled service, luxury and elegance.