Chi, The Spa by Shangri-La, Bangkok
Enchant yourself into a sanctuary of sacred indulgence.
Oriental grandeur inspired by Shangri-La legend . Oriental wellness graced by 5 Elemental Energies.
Align yourself to harmonic energies within opulent red surroundings, oriental fragrance and intuitive therapists.
I haven't experienced such visual indulgence of a scale that CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La, Bangkok, Thailand beholds.
Stepping through the entrance, I felt like I was walking into a kingdom of imperial majesty.
CHI, The spa at Shangri-La, Bangkok, certainly revels in ambient delight. Your eyes are momentarily held sway by Asian-like interior designs.
True to its name, I felt like being ushered into a soft, calm, restorative energy. And that's before I had even started my therapy session!
"Will my session indulge me to an even higher octave?", I wondered.
In the last 12 months, I have gotten increasingly driven to the pursuit for compelling spa therapies. I had envisioned a new evolution in spa dynamics. I called it "spa energetics".
Spa energetics, by its very name, are energy-based massage therapies that work on our subtle energy fields. They are, hence, MORE deeply therapeutic in scope and depth than the typical aromatherapy and Swedish massages.
These newer forms, as I envisioned, are derived from the healing philosophy of TCM and Ayurveda. Rooted in tradition, they are adapted for the modern spa environment.
I have discovered one such spa energetics in Singapore in June 2010. Uniquely Oriental, it remains unmatched for its therapeutic prowess.
So when "CHI, The Spa" came to my attention, I was intrigued to learn if Shangri-La Hotel's very own, world-wide spa brand, bear any resemblance in scope or depth to my vision of spa energetics.
As its brand name "CHI, The Spa" purportedly alludes to, I decided to take a trip to Bangkok to it check out.
The Bael of Consulting
I like Vikki, spa consultant from the Philippines.
She started me off with "Bael", a fruit drink also known in Thai as "matoom".
The manner at which she morph a refreshing fruit drink into CHI Balance (the name of their signature spa therapy) is spa consulting par excellence.
I was sold on the drink. You can buy it just about ANYWHERE.
I bought into their signature therapy. You can only experience it HERE.
For sure, it took MORE than just bael or matoom to convince me to part with 3900 baht.
Vikki took me through an appreciation of the Oriental healing philosophy of The 5 Element. That was not difficult to understand. I already have prior knowledge.
What was intuitively novel was her reading of my element!
I had NOT realized, throughout our conversation, she had uncovered my energetic element. All merely through observing my face, and thought patterns!
She identified in me two elements - Earth & Water. She explained their energetic attributes that correlated to my nature.
What did I make of that?
I reckon both elements very much describe ME. Nevertheless, I like to think I am MORE energetically balanced than that. But I am fine with being aligned to earth and water. I have much affinity to water, though.
Vikki asked that I select just one element massage oil from a choice of two that corresponded to my elements. I left it to my instinct to pick the one for Water.
All done. I was introduced to my therapist, Aorn.
I was led to rooms within a ROOM. So you can imagine how opulent and exclusive a guest is treated to at CHI, The Spa.
Aorn gently takes me through the ritual of a traditional foot bath. The foot bath - lasting just 10 minutes or less - may appear an insignificant routine to ordinary eyes.
It had occurred to me that its transformative value actually begins right here.
Not in the ACT of cleansing, though. In the SPIRIT of the therapist that gives LIFE to the ACT.
You could size up right away if the massage you are going to be receiving is more than satisfactory.
Thereon, I was initiated into the privacy of the next room where the massage began.
CHI balance is a full body massage that is focused on balancing the Yin energies of your front and Yang energies of your back.
The water element oil that was massaged onto my body offered a gradual warming antidote-like effect. It felt reassuringly calming to my mind and body.
The massage felt like Swedish. Perhaps, it was due to the gentle and pampering way the therapist glided her strokes.
And I am wont to think it MORE western than Eastern for most parts of the massage.
The obvious cultural difference came in the latter stages where Aorn applied TCM pressure points.
The entire sequence of the massage could be viewed as massaging the meridian channels of TCM. That appeared noticeable when Aorn worked her way from the Governing Vessel to Conception Vessel to the spleen and lung channels.
To the layman, this may be totally alien to you. But here it is, the physiological energetic aspects of the massage have been reviewed for you.
I had an associate, Irene, come with me to review another of the spa's therapy - SEN CHI.
SEN CHI can best be described as an initiation to the Chi Nei Tsang. It is very much a scaled-down version adapted for spa customers.
Chi Nei Tsang originates in Thailand, made popular by Mantak Chia, originator of The Healing Tao in Chiangmai, Thailand.
SEN CHI is dry massage - without massage oil. It emphasizes on energy points and channels that are concentrated at the abdominal.
It helps the body detox and restore optimal functionings of the internal organs.
Vikki had Irene prepared mentally for what to expect from the massage.
The massage can be slightly discomforting during and after the therapy. Irene had an enduring 45 minutes of clockwise and anti-clockwise palming massage around the areas of the tummy. Acupressure points were applied on her.
Her overall experience?
She wasn't used to dry massage apart from traditional Thai. And she felt painful at the ribs.
Did she feel any post-therapy symptoms?
She did feel it helped relieve abdominal bloatedness.
Does CHI, The Spa epitomize my idea of spa energetics?
CHI balance and SEN CHI do incorporate a fusion of Thai healing and TCM principles. In my opinion, they are entry level to spa energetics. I would deem CHI Balance as one that most spa visitors will love.
And, of course, I highly recommend Aorn, the therapist.
I am NOT sure most would be in favor of a dry massage on the abdominal. SEN CHI is priced at 4900 baht - 1000 more than CHI Balance.
SEN CHI aside, a visit to CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La, Bangkok certainly enchants you to sacred indulgence.
There are well over 30 therapies in their menu. I am wont to think the longer duration ones - "CHI Journeys" - could well make the cut for spa energetics.
Well, until my next visit ...........
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