By: Natasha Archary
Six months into the year and I think it’s safe to say that the adrenaline junkie in me needs a break from near-death experiences and action-charged dates. My body and mind still need to recover from my anxiety-fuelled shark cage dive last month. As fun as it undoubtedly was, I have to admit it’s taking a toll on me. So, perhaps, something a little more indulgent this time around.
With a trip to Thailand being well out of my budget at the moment and having never tried a Thai massage before, I thought a couples Thai massage was in order. I’ve always loved the Thai culture, traditions and healing practices. New to the Zen Buddhism way of life – which encourages balance and holistic treatment for mind, body and soul – I was eager to give this a try.
The Kai Thai Spa in Erasmia would make for the perfect afternoon retreat. An hour away from Johannesburg, the spa is tucked away in the heart of Pretoria to offer patrons an indulgent escape. Needless to say, my professional plus one didn’t hesitate when I threw this one his way. After everything I’d put him through over the past five months, it was no doubt a welcome relief.
I arranged our date with spa manager Zaheera Mahomed, who was not only helpful with the booking but was able to guide me with the packages on offer at the spa. The extensive list covers everything from hot stone therapy to reflexology and the regular beauty treatments that include mani’s, pedi’s and facials, Kai Thai Spa – Erasmia offers it all. With her assistance, we settled on the couples pain and stress relieve package.
A two-and-half-hour treatment that includes a full body exfoliation and mud wrap, complete with traditional Thai massage. It sounded like heaven. Booking made, I couldn’t wait.
We arrive at the spa thirty minutes before our appointment. Call me an eager beaver but I like to get comfortable and give myself time to mentally prepare for relaxation mode. A workaholic by nature, it’s not easy for me to switch off and completely unplug. My world revolves around digital media and I am always researching or writing, and managing social media posts. It’s become near impossible for me to go a few minutes without unlimited WI-FI. How would I manage two and a half hours?
“You need to. You work yourself to the brink of exhaustion.”
He’s right of course. I do. Pushing my body to the limit since the start of the year, I never take time to myself. As much as I stress that in my articles. I do try to keep up a regular exercise regime and recently pulled a quad muscle during a run. My body has been actively giving me signs to slow down and I’ve ignored them all. But I’m determined to unwind during these two hours if it’s the last thing I do.
Welcome drinks on arrival and refresher towels await. The staff at the spa are incredibly professional, courteous and receive us with hearty smiles. I’m given a tour of the spa and I immediately start snapping pictures of the décor. I love the huge Buddha at the entrance. If tranquility is what you’re in desperate need of, then this is where you will find it.
Feng shui is a huge factor in the ambience, the calming sound of the trickling water fountains instantly puts me at ease. There’s incense in the air and it takes me back to my roots. Indian and Thai culture share many similarities and it’s always nice to notice how we are all integrated in some small way.
Promptly at eleven, our therapists make their way over to us for introductions and to talk us through the treatment we’re booked for. Lucky and Nandzi would be taking care of us for the next two hours and once the consent forms are handed over, (the forms are so your therapist is aware if you have any injuries, which areas to be mindful off and the pressure you find tolerable) we head off to separate rooms for the full body mud wrap. Yes, separate rooms for this, I am a lady you know.
The mud smells ashy, almost clay-like in consistency and it’s slathered over my body by Nandzi. It’s a little grainy which is expected because this helps the exfoliation. Now completely covered in the mud, I’m wrapped in plastic in a weirdly relaxing mummification so to speak. This will also allow my body to sweat out any toxins, aiding the exfoliation process. After fifteen minutes, I shower the mud off and prepare for the Thai massage.
This is when I allow my professional plus one into my treatment room. It is a couple’s massage after all. We’re never exposed during the massage which makes it comfortable and yet intimate. Nothing could have prepared me for Nandzi’s pressure. Thai massage involves the therapists body weight at strategic trigger points on your body. If I had done some research before I went through, I wouldn’t have enjoyed the sensation as much. I’m glad I didn’t. It’s more intense than the Swedish massages I’ve had previously.
Every area of my body is now alive and tingly from the heat of the oils and the consistent kneading of my tight, sore muscles. The head massage was probably the most relaxing part of the massage. I could feel the weight of my thoughts and daily stresses just melt away at Nandzi’s fingertips. It was much needed.
I’m not ready to leave the dimly lit room but our time’s up and we dress in the luxurious robes and make our way to the private garden for lunch. It was the most intimate date I’ve ever been on without any physical contact between us. The Kai Thai Spa couple’s thai massage experience is an innovative date idea for this very reason. We tend to think about intimacy as sexual contact with our partners but it doesn’t have to be limited to that.
Taking the time to relax, completely submitting to your body letting go of all negative energy is a feeling like no other. See, I do enjoy the typical “girly” pamper time too. Until the next date, find your centre again with Kai Thai Spa – Erasmia.