Hala Khalaf tries out the Slenderizer treatment at The Nail Spa and comes away feeling satisfied, relaxed and rejuvenated
I've never been a fan of massages. They are meant to soothe aching muscles, reduce tension and stiffness, relieve stress and provide a documented source of relaxation. Try as I may, I have never been able to allow myself to relax at the hands of a stranger; the very idea of sitting back, emptying my mind and allowing someone to knead the knots of tension lodged firmly between my shoulder blades puts me on edge and I leave the massage table tenser than ever. It's a Catch 22.
And yet, surprisingly enough, I jumped at the opportunity to try the new Slenderizer massage available at The Nail Spa's outlet in Abu Dhabi's Wahda Mall, mostly because the massage did not laud itself as "relaxing" or "blissful" or even "invigorating". Instead, it came with the magic words that always have the power to make me sit up and take note: "visibly reduces the appearance of cellulite".
Having recently given birth to my first baby, cellulite and whether or not it can ever be banished is a conundrum that is always on my mind. The Nail Spa's masseuses have worked together with Deborah Mitchell, a beauty therapist and the creator of the Heaven line of organic skincare products, to create a "non-invasive, deep tissue massage that helps improve the tone and elasticity of the skin, eliminates toxins and visibly reduces the appearance of cellulite".
The massage also helps to increase blood flow and lymphatic drainage and facilitates the elimination of excess fluid and fat cells to smooth the appearance of the body. Mitchell has become internationally renowned both for her work with celebrities such as Kate Middleton, Danni Minogue, Gwyneth Paltrow and Victoria Beckham as well as for her use of bee venom in facial masks. I was intrigued.
The Slenderizer, I quickly learnt, is actually a three-step treatment: the "fix it" massage to detoxify, the "mould it" massage for a slimming effect and for attacking cellulite and the "shape it" massage that promises to lift and tone. Each use a different type of organic oil, from the Heaven line, and each is an hour and 10 minutes long and costs Dh310.
I settled for the "fix it", which was administered in a dimly lit, understated massage room in the beautifully decorated Nail Spa by a masseuse who made me feel at ease immediately. She began by scrubbing my feet with warm water as I stared, almost dreamily, at a faux ceiling above, painted black and dotted with pinpricks of light to resemble a starlit sky. Cleaning my feet, she explained, would allow her to begin working on a cleansed palette. I loved the idea, and immediately began to relax.
The 80 minutes that followed were not entirely painless.
"The more there is pain, the more you have cellulite," explained my masseuse quite matter-of-factly, and let's just say I'm not short on cellulite. Her confident hands and muscled arms allowed her to exert the needed pressure on my long list of problem areas, kneading nodules of fat just beneath the skin while simultaneously ironing out any residual tension. Perhaps because the purpose of the massage is not blatantly one of relaxation, I actually found myself dozing off at times, soothed by the rhythmic kneading and flicking movements of her technique.
The massage technique for each facet of the Slenderizer is essentially the same. The massage itself is identical, starting from your feet and working all the way up your body. The oils used, however, are what's different. The detox oil used in the "fix it" massage I had, for example, contains patchouli, juniper and cypress; combined, the smell was, for want of a better word, heavenly.
And although there was no way for me to know at the time if the massage really "slenderizes" when all its elements are combined, seeing as I just tried the "fix it", I believe that toxins really were eliminated thanks to that 80 minute session. I was desperate to relieve my bladder immediately after the massage - and throughout the day - and slept better that night than I had in a long time.
The Nail Spa is offering four Slenderizer massage treatments for the price of three (Dh930) - combine "fix it", "mould it" and "shape it" with one other massage of your choice from the Slenderizer line. Heaven products by Deborah Mitchell are also available at The Nail Spa. Visit www.thenailspa.com