Monday, July 17, 2006

Chilling out in Chiang Mai

Published on May 15, 2004
The Northern capital boasts a wealth of spas, all geared to treating stressed minds and abused bodiesChiang Mai spas are a modern take on an old concept, where modern seekers of good health, fitness and beauty immerse themselves in hot tubs much as how the ancients did.

The oldest known spa dates back 5,000 years to Merino, Italy and it’s believed that Egyptians used mineral baths for therapeutic practices during the same era. Most early spas were located near natural hot springs, but in 600 BC water in rustic cauldrons was heated by sizzling hot stones.Later, the Greeks discovered hydrotherapy for ailments such as jaundice and rheumatism, and more than 2,000 years ago the Romans introduced hot water to fun and decadence.

The Roman thermae was an elaborate technology of aqueduct systems carrying mineral waters throughout complex private chambers, steam rooms and public baths. In an effort to outdo their predecessors, each emperor would increase the size and extravagance of their spa, with the Diocletian capable of holding 6,000 bathers.The thermae or spa has since spread to resorts around the world offering sport, refreshment and therapeutic facilities. But they vanished with the fall of the Roman Empire and, apart from a brief revival during the Middle Ages, the concept was lost until its modern resurrection.Today’s spas have been updated to treat the stressed minds and abused bodies of modern humans. “It’s mainly a matter of education,” says Chitra Klanprayoon, co-owner of Chiang Mai’s Ban Sabai Spa Village.“

Greater knowledge of oneself might bring on a need to change, shed a few kilos, detoxify the body, relax the mind, and that’s where the modern spa comes in. We can provide a mixture of holistic and contemporary treatment, with some wellness spas seeking medical evaluations by physicians before giving prescriptions and advice on treatment,” adds fellow co-owner Matthias Froelich.Chiang Mai has a perfect environment for rejuvenation, with Lanna culture being a vital ingredient. Lanna – meaning “Land of One Million Rice Fields” – holds with traditions of tranquillity, politeness and living with nature and forms a philosophical base for spas in northern Thailand.

Natural surroundings, such as the mountainous landscape, hot springs, herbs and organic products also play a large part in this ideal setting for disease prevention, recuperation, comfort for the terminally ill or simply a place where one can be pampered.In the past eight years, many spas have developed in the Chiang Mai area, and 20 of them belong to the Thai Lanna Spa Association, of which Chitra Klanprayoon is president.“This organisation is essential,” she says.

“The word spa is being used for a greater variety of services these days and the public must be assured of what association members have to offer. Our spas can guarantee high quality and effective therapy from qualified doctors and staff, and we must not be confused with night-time entertainment places.”The association proudly took part in the first World Congress of Holistic Medicine, held in Chiang Mai last month. Supported by the World Health Organisation, Thai Ministry of Public Health, the event was seen as a major step toward the region’s endeavour to become a regional centre for medical and therapeutic care.

Apart from 50 presentation booths, lecturers and delegates attended from more than 20 different counties.The gathering also revealed the remarkable diversity of spas, and how many spas succeed by concentrating on specific therapies and themes.The Ban Sabai Spa Village, for example, specialises in detoxification courses for colon irrigation, life management, dietary advice, weight loss and fasting. Set in lush tropical gardens a few minutes from downtown Chiang Mai, guests are invited to drown their troubles in the swimming pool or salt flotation tank.

There is a range of single remedies and mixed therapy packages to tone up the body and evaporate stress including steam baths and assorted massages. Aromatherapy can help to achieve meditation and the beauty conscious can treat themselves to a manicure, pedicure and body wax. Prices range from Bt450 for a single therapy to Bt5,500 for the six-hour Jasmine Spa Package.Day visitors are welcome and for guests staying over, luxurious Lanna style villas are available at Bt4,800 per night. Each one contains a whirlpool, steam room, sauna and outdoor bathroom with aromatic plants. Standard rooms in similar design are Bt2,700.Ban Sabai Spa Village is an ideal place to improve your mental and physical condition or simply be thoroughly spoiled.For seekers of spiritual enlightenment, there’s the Tao Garden Health Spa, beautifully situated in a mountainous area 30 kilometres north of Chiang Mai

.Paths wind their way though more than 30 hectares of shrub lands shrouded by trees and lead to the Immortal and Lao Tzu’s Meditation Halls, and the Ba Shen Memorial Hall for Tai Chi, Tao Yin and Chi Nei Tsang activities. A swimming pool and gym are nearby.The body cleansing programmes here follow a Taoist or Chinese regimen supported by modern medicine and the spa is especially pleased with its Karsai Nei Tsang genital massage for both sexes. This manipulation of the sexual organs may help alleviate impotency, frequent and difficult urination, painful menstruation and intercourse, and low libido.

Chi Nei Tsang is a stomach massage, but one designed to soothe both body and mind. Stress and worry move from the brain to create physical obstructions in the tummy. This therapy not only clears out toxins and smoothes knotted intestines, but also provides spiritual well-being.Sitting in the Dark Room is a departure from the physical. Totally devoid of light or sound, this method of detachment, meditation and discovery of one’s inner self is endured by some for as long as three weeks, while others might start screaming shortly after the light goes out.Individual spa treatments start at Bt300, and there are inexpensive beauty preparations. One- to seven-day packages range from Bt1,900 to Bt32,300, without accommodation, which is priced from Bt3,200 to Bt5,300 and includes use of facilities.Some spa goers prefer vigorous sport to blissful tranquillity, and that’s where the Northern Heritage Resort & Spa comes in.

Located 25 kilometres east of Chiang Mai Airport and surrounded by forested mountains, one can jump out of the jacuzzi and straight onto the first tee of the challenging Chiang Mai – Lamphun Golf Club. And if 18 holes on this magnificent championship course aren’t enough there’s cycling, trekking, pool, snooker, tennis and karaoke.Five spa pavilions – spread around the swimming pool – are waiting to rejuvenate worn out bikers, adventurers and foot sloggers with a large selection of therapies. The athlete’s rejuvenation course costs Bt6,200 and a sport massage is Bt2,500.For those who might have overdone things, an in-house medical centre is linked to Chiang Mai Ram Hospital.Back in the spa, one can experience the benefits of soaking in Dead Sea minerals for Bt8,000. Or how about a bath in red wine for Bt7,400? There are many packages, and prices can be found on the resort’s website. Luxury rooms and suites in a hotel environment go from Bt3,500 to Bt10,500 per night and log cabins cost up to Bt12,000. There are special rates for long term guests.

The Chiangmai Oasis Spa has adopted the Roman concept of unadulterated pleasure. After negotiating the stepping stones in the fish pond and soaking up the warm greeting at reception, it’s easy to forget that you’re bang in the middle of town.Escape the rigours of modern living. Slip out of the office to a haven of fragrant flowers and fountains and into a relaxing steam room. Or watch your troubles float away in the bubbles from the bath. The Oasis is a place to be pampered by therapists trained to take care of your every need.

At the two villas you’ll find steam rooms, private gardens, and alfresco showers and jacuzzis. Once settled into this perfect setting, there is an exciting menu of treatments to ponder.This day spa provides many individual therapies and six packages, and the proprietors are particularly proud of their Tibetan style “hands on” foot massage.

Massages range from Bt550 to Bt2,500 and most of the scrubs, wraps, facials and hydrotherapy cost less than Bt1,000. Packages start at Bt1,900. Or lash out Bt5,400 for a fully gratifying four hour Oasis Experience.So for the body pampering, health conscious, sporty and decadent – when in Chiang Mai, do as the Romans did.
Bob Kimmins

The Nation

Weight Loss Plan Kit

Weight Loss Plan Kit

[ learn more ]

Add to Cart

Includes: Oxy-Powder, Slimirex (180 Count), Weight Loss Secrets Revealed, Ten Super Secrets for Weight Loss

No comments:


Balancing Your Hormones Without Drugs... You Can Feel Good Again

Balancing Your Hormones Without Drugs... You Can Feel Good Again

[ learn more ]

Add to Cart

Hormone imbalance can be reversed! Look and feel better than ever, just take the time to learn about yourself and read the information contained in this just released e-book about reversing hormone imbalance. Are you ready to finally look and feel great? If so... read on... - E-Book Version.(BH)