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#06.01

Wellness

The new beauty priestesses

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Are you comfortable?
How would you like the pressure; soft, medium or strong?
Could you turn over please?

They're gentle, prompt, precise and generally hail from Bali or Thailand.

They're the «spa therapists,» magicians with highly qualified fairy like fingers whose mission it is to restore us anew with spa treatments. Do you know how they're trained?

«Are you comfortable? », «  How would you like the pressure; soft, medium or strong? », “Could you turn over please?”

BTPK_Spa_Academy

If you're a spa addict, these words are certainly reminiscent of some excellent moments. More oftne than not, they're pronounced by gracefully furtive silhouettes dressed in Thai pants or kimonos. As discrete as they are effective, the spa therapists are the new priestesses of the culture of wellness and relaxation. Thanks to their gentle hands and know-how, a massage in a spa no longer has anything to do with the sanitized fiddling with 100% bleached water one can be subjected to at times in a thalasso centre... Their entirely Asian refinement has purely and simply revolutionized wellness and beauty, allowing just about everyone to achieve Nirvana - using their credit cards!

Wellness has two new sources, Bali and Thailand

Spa-Gaya

And yet, simply having your eyes curbed and downing ginger tea aren't sufficient to transform you into a world champion of «rolling and palpating» or queen of Mandi Lulur! Of course, a small frame and solid natural disposition to massage constitute essential qualities, especially when jumping lightly onto a patient's back to realign their coccyx... But it simply isn't enough. These days, two countries have taken the lead in terms of training masseuses.

Bali, the Mecca of spas

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Bali, its temples, colours, flowers and ancestral treatments. Here, massages are a part of daily life, and women rub and pamper each other all year round. Moreover, the natural refinement of the inhabitants and their aptitude to fill with grace even the most minute gesture of daily living has made Bali the new Mecca of spas.

In the capital Denpasar, schools now flourish, attended by a good many foreigners who have come to absorb the ancestral teachings of the Balinese on matters related to wellness. Rice water scrub, yogurt and curcuma wrap, herb bath and frangipani oil massage… These Balinese ancestral techniques make up the famous Mandi Lulur, a beauty treatment right out of the Middle Ages which was lavished on a bride the day of her wedding.

Studied, broken down and sold at the price of gold, this fabulous treatment will nonetheless never be practiced quite as well as by someone who learned it from her family from a tender age. This is the reason why young Balinese girls are now a dying breed, or just about, courted by luxury hotels and sent off to the four corners of the globe to help Europeans who are stressed out and scorched by the sun to relax.

A «Spa Academy» in Phuket

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With its renowned dry massage, Thailand is the other eldorado of spas. People come here from all over the world to be trained in Wat Po, a famous temple in Bangkok. With sessions lasting 3, 5 or 7 days, trainees can learn the rudiments of this art. Yet, once again, nothing can replace that ancestral know-how. To provide everyone with the same basic knowledge and chances to succeed in the spa business, combining tradition and modernity, the Banyan Tree hotel chain has opened a Spa School.

Located in Phuket and opened in 2001, this «Spa Academy» trains future caressers in 300 hours of theoretical teachings. A note of caution however, although wellness may be a noble and empirical notion, there's no mixing it with health treatments. Anatomy, acupuncture, dermatology, biology, the study of plants and their effects on man, preparing treatments…here, everything is analysed and repeated to achieve perfection, so as to send future customers off to Nirvana as quickly as possible.

With 200 students trained every year (and about the same number in Balinese schools), the Banyan Tree Spa Academy cannot supply the extensive demand in the booming sector. From which certain spas don't hesitate to fall back on under qualified personnel, at times spoiling the expected pleasures of a given treatment. Thus, since the labelling of «spa-therapists» is not yet a requirement, when making an appointment don't hesitate to ask for the qualifications of your future wellness provider, so as to profit fully from your wellness investment.

 

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