x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

The search for a massage match

From Thai to Swedish to Balinese varieties, it's been a long journey to find a massage that really satisfies.

There are those who love to luxuriate for hours in the spa and those who simply don't. One woman's pampering is another woman's pummelling. Or so I thought until I paid a visit to Dubai's best kept secret: a new spa in the Jumeirah Lake Towers area.

Now, I've never been the greatest fan of massages, and over the years have inflicted countless hours of pain upon myself by working through the entire catalogue of Swedish, Thai and Balinese varieties in the hope I might find nirvana. Needless to say, such a U-turn never occurred and seaweed imports have surely spiked on the back of my opting instead for frequent slatherings in the purifying plant at beauty salons across Dubai.

However, upon hearing of a new spa's opening within a stone's throw of my home in the Marina, I decided to deviate from the norm and try the one massage treatment that had evaded me thus far. And so it was that after a long, hard day, which no doubt involved some walking over hot coals, it was time for a hot stone massage.

The room was candlelit, ambient chime music played in the background and the heady scent of joss sticks hung in the air. As I rested face-down on the massage table, peering through its opening, my eyes fell upon a floating orchid in a wooden Thai bowl below. I was determined to erase all previous massage experiences from my mind. In fact, I needn't have worried, for this treatment blew all the others out of the flower-infused water.

Unwittingly, I had picked the granddaddy of spa treatments. It's essentially three for the price of one, comprising a rigorous deep tissue massage and a dash of aromatherapy topped off with the hot stone finale, which will leave you glowing much like Goldilocks after a warming bowl of porridge.

Moreover, I've come to learn that the hallmark of a truly relaxing treatment is having to be woken up by the therapist after falling into a deep slumber. Which is exactly what happened. Embarrassing? Not a bit. If anything, it proved the perfect moment to ask for another appointment the following week.

So there you have it; I'm a convert. And although seven years, 50-odd massages and unthinkable amounts of money will attest that I am clearly not the fastest spa researcher on the block, I'm arguably the most thorough. Gone are the days of being beaten-up, twisted, contorted and walked all over. Instead, I will forever wax lyrical about the heat-retaining qualities and sleep-inducing properties of those big, flat basalt rocks and elevate them once and for all to the status of semi-precious stones.

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