Sometimes you just need to put your feet up, lay back, and relax… Whether it’s a beautifying spa treatment or a massage to stretch out those tired muscles, a day at the spa is the perfect way to detox after a hard day. I went along for a day of pampering.
The history of massage and spa
If we look at the history books, we’ll find that spa and massage go back many hundreds of years. Some people believe that massage and spa treatments were first created by a group of monks trying to make themselves feel comfortable after their daily routine of exhausting tasks. After researchers discovered the mental and physical benefits of massage and spa, the practices became an important part of health and wellness, with the ability to de-stress even the most highly strung worker.
The difference between Thai massage and Khmer massage
Khmer and Thai massage are separate treatments that you can enjoy in any massage parlor in Phnom Penh, but what’s the difference? There is no evidence as to which one came first, so we have to look at differences of technique.
Staff at Aura Spa will tell you that Khmer and Thai massage are very similar, but the skills and technique vary slightly. Khmer massage is distinguished by gentle assisted stretching and pressure point work to release blocked energy and tension. It comes from local masseuses in Cambodia. On the other hand, Thai practitioners claim to have brought their techniques from their own homeland.
Experience of a lifetime
Before now, I never had the guts to visit a spa and get a massage. But the idea of being pampered for an hour or so was too much to pass up, so a few weeks ago I went to Aura Spa to try it out.
As soon as I arrived in the spa, I felt different. The lobby, clean and modern, was decorated with care and smelt beautiful. With relaxing music playing and a friendly receptionist there to greet me, I already felt more relaxed. My senses were telling me that this was some kind of paradise. The staff in the spa treated me like a king.
The beginning of my message and spa journey was sitting down to have my feet cleaned with warm water infused with flowers. At first I felt awkward since no one had cleaned my feet in my entire life, but I soon relaxed and enjoyed the gentle washing. After that, my therapist asked me to lay down on a bed so that she could begin the massage.
In my imagination, I pictured a massage just like kneading dough to make bread – pummeling and powerful. But the technique was more like being wrung out like a cloth. My therapist bent and stretched me into submission, so that my muscles did a lot of work while I relaxed on the bed. At first my underused muscles felt sore, but soon my body unwound into supreme comfort.
After we were done with Khmer massage it was time for another spa indulgence. Another awkward moment occurred when I found out I would have to take off my clothes for the treatment, in front of a stranger! But my therapist left the room to give me privacy, and I had the chance to make myself comfortable on a bed and cover up. I faced a pool of cool water and sweet-scented flowers, which calmed my nerves. Then the therapist returned and started to pour oil on my back before scrubbing my skin. She used her skills to make me fall back into my happy place.
After my treatment, I received a cup of ginger tea. I was informed that not only does the ginger refresh your palate, it is beneficial to the stomach and intestine. (Plus it tastes delicious!)
All in all, it was one of my greatest experiences of my life. I will certainly be returning when I get the chance. Luckily, iOne Visa Cardholders can get 20% off at Aura Spa, meaning there’s no excuse not to come back soon.
Why should we spend money on massage and spa?
First of all, according to Aura Spa, both spa treatments and massage can help people who suffer from bodily pain. Whether it’s from an injury or general muscular pain, massage can bring relief to aching muscles. A massage helps by applying pressure to your muscles and bones to cure the pain. And it’s a good alternative to medicines, which can affect our health through their side effects.
What’s more, when we undergo a spa treatment, the oil applied to the skin promotes blood flow and circulation, helping with joint problems. It is especially beneficial for older people or women who have recently had a child.
Aura Spa ensures that the products used in their treatments contain natural ingredients which are chosen to bring brightness to the skin and keep it looking young. Their steam contains useful minerals to remove impurities and open the pores, leading to fresher looking skin.
Where should you go for spa and massage?
Find a spa that will provide you with everything that you need and make you feel comfortable. When I first stepped into Aura Spa, I already felt at home. The environment was enchanting and their service was second to none. A spa should give a holistic experience – not just the treatment you receive, but every moment should feel like a luxury.
BY: Huy Panhavorn