AUG 2014

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78 DAYSPA | AUGUST 2014 GLOBAL SPEAK will allow spas providing quality professional services to grow and expand, while others reasonably fall by the wayside." The spa standards are part of a strategic tourism plan to raise the quality of spa services, facili- ties and human resources in member countries. TREATMENT APPROACH The spa experience varies widely in Thailand. Thai body massage and foot massage are plentiful, and numer- ous outlets can be found in many neighborhoods. A simple footbath with a 30-minute head, neck and shoulder massage can be enjoyed for 195 Thai baht, or $US6. A full body massage can be had for as little as $US26 (845 baht). Indigenous ingredients commonly used in Thai spa treatments include Kaffi r lime to tone the skin; prai root, a natural moisturizer that relieves muscular aches and pains while softening the skin; turmeric, whose anti- septic properties cleanse and soothe the skin; camphor; sesame seed; and lemongrass, whose ubiquitous fresh, grassy scent greets you upon entering many Thai spas. The signature spa treatment of Thailand is certainly Thai massage, also known as Thai yoga massage. This modality is believed to have originated 2,500 years ago, with a holistic practitioner named Jivaka Kumar Bhaccha. The tenet of Thai massage lies in recognizing sen, or 10 key energy lines that fl ow through the body at specifi c points (similar to the concept of meridians in Traditional Chinese Medicine), and incorporating ma- nipulations and pressure by the therapist during the treatment to release that energy. The treatment is performed on a futon or fl oor mat, and the recipient wears loose-fi tting clothing as the practitioner uses his or her whole body to stretch and rub all parts of the client's body. It can be one of the most relaxing and rejuvenating types of body treat- ments, and many people liken it to having a yoga ses- sion done "to" them. Traditionally, practitioners have been taught that performing Thai massage is a meth- od of practicing healing through kindness and love. There are other uniquely Thai treatments available. "While spas in Thailand are considered 'Thai spas' by the global community, most are classifi ed as Western spas, due to the international menu they offer," ex- plains Jacka. "Nearly all offerings include Thai massage and an herbal compress, but treatments with roots in traditional Thai medicine are often 'watered down' to be more palatable for the pampering spa market." NOTABLE SPA SPOTS Opened in 1999, Jitsanga's Green Leaf Spa is one of the fi rst top-quality day spas in Bangkok. The spa's high- profi le locale—an apartment building serviced by Thai- land's luxury property giant Chatrium—guarantees a steady supply of clients; Jitsanga estimates Green Leaf's client base as 40% expats, 40% tourists and 20% locals. "We have had the good fortune to build our reputation over time, and many customers come back to visit after they have moved to another country, sometimes bring- ing family members," says Jitsanga. "Key customers are nearby residents because of the traffi c problem. We are busy on evenings and weekends, and our frequent user and loyalty programs have been very successful." Thailand's spa scene doesn't end at Bangkok's bor- ders. The popular tourist destination of Phuket, south of Bangkok, is a huge draw for international tourists looking for a little sun and fun. Many of the major hos- pitality brands have hotels and resorts in the area, which Oasis Spa in Chiang Mai offers lush gardens and private treatment villas. PHOTO COURTESY OASIS SPA

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