Note: The following post is a guest post from my visitor Karolanne. It details her experiences with the various treatments we tried.
I should begin by telling you that I’ve only had a couple ‘real’ massages in the States. They were nice but nothing compared to the treatment and ambiance in Manila. When I first arrived, Sarah took me to ‘The Spa,’ which had the best ambiance of all the places we visited. You walked up the stairs into a dimly-lit hallway with running waterfalls and proceeded to enter the changing room where you got your lockers, robes, towels and slippers. You could either take a steam bath or shower at this point. The showers were really beautiful, as they had natural black stone lining the area where you stood. Then you relaxed with a cup of ginger tea while they prepared your room.
I had a hot coconut oil massage there, which is called the Hilot. They warmed the coconut oil on their hands by holding them over a set of candles. They also placed warm coconut covered banana leaves on your back during the massage. The massage was definitely luxurious and more of an experience that anything I’d had previously in the states. A note for future visitors: I would recommend ‘The Spa’ for anyone that wants the complete experience of a Spa, not just a good treatment.
A few days later Sarah and I went to Coras Dermatology for skin treatments. We each got a facial and diamond micro-dermabrasion. This was my first real facial experience. The part I found most intriguing was when they used this little tool to get out all the black and white heads. I really didn’t think I had any, but I am sure they were getting something as the pressure was intense sometimes. When I went to the mirror after the facial, I could definitely tell that my pores were smaller. After the facial came the diamond micro-dermabrasion. During this process they take an object that looks and feels like a small vacuum cleaner hose to your face. The end of the tool is about the size of a dime and the edges are lined with small diamonds around the nozzle. They move this up and down your face and gently exfoliate off dead skin cells, which the vacuum then sucks up. Having the equipment used on my face made me a bit uneasy, so it was not really that relaxing. I had them try it on my hand to show me what was going to happen. After that, they put on some lotion and went over my face with a laser to reduce the redness. I can definitely tell that my pores are smaller and skin dramatically smoother.
My favorite treatment by far was the 90 minute massage at Qi Wellness Spa. The entire spa was very mod. White walls, glass walls and glass sliding doors. Very chic! Like ‘The Spa’, they too had a little waiting area with white leather sofas to sit in while they prepared our room. The amenities like a shower, locker and robe were not provided like ‘The Spa’ but the Lymphatic Massage itself was great. They used long, circular strokes to work on the muscles. The music was just the right volume and rhythm to keep my mind from wandering. It really kept me in a relaxed state the entire time.
Last but not least was the acupuncture. We arrived in a one-room office that was partitioned up so they could serve about 7 patients at a time. It was actually pretty amazing to see how many staff and patients they had crammed into that room! They way they had it set up though surprisingly made you able to relax and tune out what was happening around you. First up was 20 minutes of holding two electrodes. He said they worked on the parasites in my body but it did not seem like an exact science. The technician said, “Is that okay?” and I replied, “I can feel the tingle.” I was not sure if I was supposed to try and take as much tingle as possible or just let her know when I could feel it. Anyway, I looked at the machine and it read 7 volts. There was another meter but it did not have units to it so I am not sure what it was measuring. 20 minutes of tingles. Then a 20 minute foot bath with salt to detoxify. After that he pressed on 5 parts of my hand and I told him the one that hurt the most and he told me that it is associated with digestion. Then he pressed on my calf and ankle in 5 parts (they were already sore from the massage) and I told him the back of my lower calf was the part that hurt the most and he said that was associated with sweets. I do like sweets but I have not had many on my three weeks of traveling in Asia so maybe that indicates I am going through withdrawal. Note to self: must eat copious amounts of ice cream when I get back to Wisconsin. That should not be a problem.
Then it was finally time for the therapy part. They warmed up the backs of may legs with heating pads and he pressed on some areas and then did some stretching. I am pretty flexible so it did not hurt much. He went easy on me because I have hives and a lot of pressure would inflame them. For the acupuncture, he inserted the needle in my 90 degree bent elbow. He said this would stimulate my auto-immune system and hopefully help with the hives.
The lifestyle discussion with the acupuncture doctor was helpful. Nothing earth shattering really, except that you should not drink with your meal, or if you must drink; only warm or hot water in little sips. I really enjoyed that a doctor wanted to take the time and talk about holistic healing which includes things like posture, exercise, stretching, fiber, diet, water, electrolytes and what bowel movements should look like. I really do believe it is all connected so it was refreshing to hear a doctor talk about them all in one visit.
Sorry for the really long post. I tend to get too descriptive when I am writing about something new. All in all, I loved all these treatments and would recommend them to anyone that wants to get back on the health wagon and start paying attention to their body more. Manila pampering and healthy healing rocks!