Fascinated with gemstones? Now, it is simply not enough to string them together and wear them on your person. Instead, spas in India are increasingly expressing their own love for these coloured stones in myriad ways and you can be part of the story too!
If you are a massage junkie, you’d probably be acquainted with LaStone therapy — where hot and smooth basalt stones are usually placed on key points on the body to relax your muscles. The stones are black in colour and rich in iron so that they retain heat, and the therapy has been popular all over the world ever since the enterprising Mary Nelson introduced it in Arizona decades ago.
More recently, however, spas have been further tweaking the therapy — mixing in elements from different types of massages, alternate healing traditions and so forth — to arrive at their own signature concoctions.
Above all, they are now using not just basalt (usually found on river beds) but more expensive and exotic semi-precious stones too. Coloured stones — from rose quartz to hematite and tiger’s eye are being used, clearly more fascinating even to audiences in India and not just Westerners struck by Oriental exotica. Obviously, when it comes to indulging yourself, nothing is too excessive.
Take Juvenex, for instance, a trendy New York day spa. One of the current rages there is the jade “igloo sauna”, along with the likes of Japanese-style soaking ponds filled with sake (!) and so forth. The “igloo” is made of 20 tonnes of semi-precious stones — enough to satisfy even the most jaded of spa junkies.
Other therapies abroad combine gemstones or crystal therapy with coloured light therapy —so that the body can be suitably replenished of deficient energies, if you believe in that. But whether or not specific stones, essential oils and light wavelengths do you any good is immaterial: it is enough that the massages are deeply relaxing and hugely pampering and now they are available in India too.
At the Westin resort and spa in Sohna, for instance, their signature therapy at the trademark Heavenly spa is something called the Rollersage — combing the best of hot stone and Swedish massages (in a hot stone massage, the human touch is often missing, not here) with crystal therapy. Round semi-precious stones that fit into a massage tool are rolled smoothly over your body in a deeply relaxing experience.
Before the massage begins with the gentle ringing of a bell (“to cleanse the room of any negative energies”, as one is told), a selection of stones is brought forth and you get to choose two according to what “benefits” you’d like to see in your life and person. The stones are imbued, supposedly, with metaphysical properties.
While hematite is good for grounding, tiger’s eye is for optimism and rose quartz to combat anger amongst other things. Once you make your choice, the stones are gently heated and at the end of the massage, you can even carry these back in special gift pouches as souvenirs. For Rs 5,000 plus (you can choose from 60 minute or 90 minute sessions).
At the opulent Kaya Kalp, the “royal” spa at ITC Mughal, Agra, your experience is equally memorable. Amongst the signature therapies that you can avail of at this magnificent spa is the “Chakra balancing gemstone massage” (apart from the “pomegranate aroma soul massage”, that plays both on the predominant Mughal motif of the pomegranate at the spa and on Babar’s legacy of fruit, and a Mughal hamam, which is certainly an experience). Even at Aura, the award-winning spa at The Park, Chennai, there is a navratna (or nine gems) theme and nine therapy rooms devoted to each gem are there to suitably energise you.
On the other hand, other treatments can be as exotic — and certainly as expensive too. One of the most talked about destinations in southern India is the year-and-a-half-old Radisson Plaza Resort and Spa in Kumarakom. The Maya spa here offers a package called “Cloud Nine” — on a water bed — that has a big fan following.
There is also a “body temple” for yoga and meditation on an island in the lagoon as well as Sabai stone therapy —once again a take on traditional stone therapy, this time using malachite and zincite (two micronised minerals) to alleviate stress and fatigue, relieve muscular pain and rejuvenate your body.
But stone or no stones, no mention of spas in India can be complete without this gorgeous Rs 1 lakh (for a couple) package at The Park, Kolkata. Here is everything that it includes: a bottle of Dom Perignon with assorted (aphrodisiac) nibbles, Evian-filled jacuzzi, a caviar facial, diamond polish for the skin, a warm chocolate body wrap and a wine dinner at the poolside. Total time: eight hours. Wow!
6 months ago