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The Oriental Hotel Spa, Bangkok - The Ayurvedic Penthouse Experience
The Ayurvedic Penthouse at the Oriental Hotel, Bangkok, introduces you to an exclusive selection of healing and natural rituals through authentic Ayurvedic treatments.
We visited Bangkok's unrivalled authentic experience in March 2008 and found that the Oriental Hotel Spa was all it claimed to be in their brochures and press releases, "a holistic centre of tranquility".
A highly sophisticated Ayurvedic suite located in the penthouse of the Oriental Spa wing on the west bank of the Chao Phya River opposite the main hotel complex.
Ayurveda or Ayurvedic medicine is an ancient Indian sub continental system of health care that is in daily use by millions of people in India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka to name but three countries. The word "Ayurveda" is a compound of the words ayus meaning "life", "life principle", or "long life" and veda, which is a reference to a system of "knowledge". Thus "Ayurveda" translates roughly as "knowledge of life", "knowledge of long life" or maybe even "science of life".
We were greeted at the Ayurvedic suite in the traditional Thai manner and were welcomed with a refreshing herbal drink and cold towelling wipe.
We were requested to complete a heath questionnaire, necessary to evaluate our 'Prakruti" or constitutional type, to identify the particular elements, oils, herbs and spices etc of our eventual treatments.
Having completed our questionnaires, the Ayurvedic Coordinator, in the absence of the Ayurvedic Doctor, made an assessment of our requirements; she explained to us what our Prakruti's were and also explained the Ayurvedic therapies that we would be undergoing. One of us was dominant Pitta-Kapha (fire - earth and water) and the other was dominant Vata-Kapha (air and space - earth and water). Everybody has all five basic elements or 'mahabhutas' but the dominant elements are the main consideration for treatments.
We had requested when we booked the session that we shared a therapy room, as this was our first experience of Ayurveda and Ayurvedic therapies, and once we had the therapy massage explained to us we were introduced to our masseuses and taken to the twin massage tabled room where we were left alone to undress and don the supplied disposable pants and wrap bath-size towels around ourselves, for comfort, not modesty.
The treatment proper then began with us seated close together and having our feet washed in warm, scented and flower pettaled, water by our personal masseuses and then led to the twin massage tables where we dropped the towels and laid face down on the table with faces positioned over an aperture, above a bowl of scented water with flower blossoms and petals floating in, so we could be totally prone and still breathe!
We had entered the room at about 1500 and for the next hour and a half or so we were massaged with Ayurvedic oils from head to toe, back and front. A most pleasing and exhilarating experience. Following the massage period one of us had a session in a steam room and afterwards we were presented with a liquid scrub paste of Ayurvedic minerals, herbs and spices with which to exfoliate and remove the oils from our bodies.
When we came out of the shower, feeling fully refreshed and invigorated, there was a welcoming tray of warm herbal tea and a fruit coulee with melon balls to greet us.
We were left to our own devices to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and, feeling totally refreshed, once dressed, sit together and reflect on our first Ayurvedic massage experience.
This is a 'must try' experience for everyone, preferably as often as is possible.
Some of the photos are courtesy of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Bangkok - www.mandarinoriental.com
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