Over the past few years, the Japanese art and science of wellbeing have been integrated into luxury spa regimens around the world. Ancient therapeutic techniques from Japan such as reiki (spiritual healing using the palms) and shiatsu (finger pressure) are now in demand among urbanites as a profound way to release not only physical distress, but also emotional unease.
To celebrate Nipponese wisdom, the Oriental Spa at the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok, presents a special therapy by Kaoru Kawarabuki, a therapeutic specialist from Tokyo, from now until Nov 11.
Using a newly invented technique called kiatsu, Kawarabuki, who was trained at the Institute of Traditional Herbal Medicine and Aromatherapy in the UK, promises to restore a healthy balance of mind, body and spirit through a gentle hand pressure massage. The peaceful movement of the palm of the hands is combined with finger pressure at specific ki (energy) points on the body in smooth and constant harmony.
The kiatsu method was said to have been created in the 1940s by a Japanese soldier to cure stomach pain, leg pain, eye irritation and diarrhoea. With inspiration from shiatsu finger pressure, it helps ease physical pain by activating the life power, allowing the body to begin healing itself. Yet, the merit of kiatsu is general good health because, as the life energy flows, your blood circulation improves and your body and mind will be deeply relieved of stress.
My kiatsu session (7,200 baht) at the Oriental Spa took place in a spacious Thai massage suite beautifully equipped with its own bath and steamroom.
After I had changed into pyjamas and lay face up on the massage futon, Kawarabuki began the 110-minute session with a shaking procedure using her hands to firmly hold on to my ankles, lift both my legs up and send a vibrating force through them until my whole body gently swayed for a minute. The kind-of-comfortable motion was followed by an extra soft, dry massage on my feet and legs and another half an hour went on with the same ritual.
Then I was asked to lie face down for another 30 minutes or so on a special chiropractic platform so that the therapist could work on my calves, thighs, back, shoulders and neck (I don't know if I had told her that I had a shoulder stiffness, but the pressure on my shoulders was extremely heavy). I then changed to lying on my side, and the long ritual continued before being wrapped up with a truly relaxing head massage.
I was told that most people usually doze off during the kiatsu treatment. But I simply didn't. My experience at the Oriental Spa had a five-star finish with a nice platter of Thai snacks with herbal tea.
The Oriental Spa is located at the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok. It is open daily, from 9am-10pm. Call 02-659-9000 ext 7440 for more details and reservations.
About the author
- Writer: Vanniya Sriangura
Position: News Reporter