An astro massage for your soul

Rasi, an Andheri-based spa, offers to soothe your muscles corresponding to your zodiac sign. Did the Sun gods know this Arien has sore shoulders? We find out

It's a sticky day on the streets of Mumbai as I reach New Link Road in Andheri (W). I ogle at the shiny new German models posing at the Audi showroom while haggling with my cranky rickshawala for change. Still thinking about the luxury cars that carry  passengers through a nasty journey on the rain-battered roads of Mumbai, I take the elevator in the building opposite, to the second floor to Rasi, a new spa that promises a massage customised according to your sun sign.

A whiff of brewing lemon grass accosts my nostrils as I enter and lose my footing on the wood-polished floor of the spa. Elevated flooring carries you through the vast spa via mini bridges, half a foot off the ground.

Seated at the conference room, Tabeer Amrohi, Director of the spa, introduces me to the range of treatments available at the two-week old space. A three-inch thick bookcase will decide your faith. "What sign are you?"

Aries, I answer, as she leafs through the index, pulling out a sheet that explains in gold print -- this sign has frequent trouble with weak feet. That is where you store your stress, she explains. I raise my eyebrows. My shoulders hurt just like my colleague at the next desk, a Libran by sun sign, a keyboard punching newspaper junkie by profession.

But I keep my mouth shut, who am I to challenge the Sun gods! Can you opt for a massage other than your sun sign special? "No, we don't suggest that. A Scorpion can't get the Capricorn massage," comes the response. You can however, opt for one of their regular massages like the Deep Tissue massage at Rs 1,800, Hot Tone massage at Rs 2,200 or have your Rasi massage customised.

"Are you ready for your 'journey'?" asks Amrohi, and this time my eyebrows cringe at what appears to be a strange use of the term. I mean, it's only three doors down. My Rasi Aries massage begins with a foot and head massage for which I am ushered into their therapy room. The drapes are drawn, incense is lit and lighting is low as I take my place in a reclining chair and two masseurs work simultaneously, one kneading my feet while the other rubs my temples with fragrant oils. Grapeseed, apricot, safflower and cottonseed will be used for my massage. A polite voice asks if the pressure is okay and I say, "It's just right".

Not an inch of my cheeky being can complain. Each toe gets special treatment, each strand soaked with oil, each eager muscle calmed with measured pressure from skilled hands and the word 'journey' suddenly seems to make sense. My thoughts return to the cars in the showroom but wrapped in a cocoon of towels as I get pampered, luxury on wheels doesn't seem enviable anymore.

The masseur standing behind me warms his hand with aromatic oils and begins to pinch my skin starting from the ears, later prodding the tight muscles in my neck. My feet are then subjected to the same treatment. I can't say I agree with the Arien's foot fetish but I'm definitely left with happy feet as I move to the next part of my journey.

Next up is the facial that a smiling masseuse assures will leave me with a glow. After slipping into a tube gown, I lie down on a therapy table for a steam, exfoliation, extraction and massage, turning the clock back on the mean humidity outside that has ravaged my pores. It's nice to lie down and be taken care of, without making reference to an Italian mob movie, but I can hear my stomach growl and the fragrance of crushed fruit in the peel is tempting.

It's all I can do to stifle a laugh thinking about a scene from Loins of Punjab where beauty-conscious rappers munch on  cucumber slices covering their eyes. But slapstick humour doesn't find space in the soft coloured walls of this elegant spa, and I'm treated to a snack of pineapple and green tea before I head for my customised body massage.

Therapists say it's not uncommon to feel hungry after a massage, especially if you aren't hydrating enough. After what must be the healthiest snack of my life I'm introduced to the main masseuse who leads me to my new wardrobe -- what looks like a bikini made of tissue and a bathrobe. This therapy room is large with an attached washroom and tub, incense fills the air and an instrumental song is playing in the background.

The masseuse reenters holding a towel and looks away lest I get uncomfortable as I lie face down on the table. Oil is lathered and it's surprising that my petite masseuse from Manipur offers a strong grip, putting elbow and arm into the process. She's been practicing for four years, as it's important to be gentle but firm, she informs me. Head to toe  is massaged to knead out kinks and knots.
We get chatty as she tugs on my arms and legs with expert agility, stretching my limbs and flexing my muscles as I listen to her pop-contented joints. She even offers me a package deal of a free pedicure with 15 body massages or something to that effect; but my mind only registers it partly as it floats on a cloud of relaxation.

I'm feebly able to do the math -- a three-hour massage at Rs 5,000 on a journalist's salary is not convincing but enticing.
Owner Amrohi informs us that the Rasi massages have become quite a rage as a birthday gift option. I can only hope my truffle cake comes with a spa surprise.

At: Rasi -- The Zodiac Spa, S-2 second floor, the Link, New Link road, Andheri (W)
Call: 66710326

What's your rashi?
The spa offers a unique massage based on your zodiac sign.

The Water Bearers are humanitarian by nature and neglect their own well-being. The circulatory system is a key area for Aquarians.

Pisces' greatest strength is their imagination and creativity. Their feet are ruling parts of the body. A massage, along with a  scrub, gives them a dreamy upliftment, amplifying their sense of personal power.

This quick-thinking sign often finds their head and shoulders sore due to stress. A customised massage helps to calm their brain nerves followed by a gentle skin treatment, to give them an exuberant glow.

Taureans' energies are governed by the neck.  Treatment will include a sensual fragrance oil, used with long soothing strokes to massage the body followed by a Taurus body wrap.

This sun sign needs constant mental stimulation and variety, hence a rejuvenating exfoliation, a massage concentrating on the arms, will relieve sore muscles, stimulate circulation and refresh the skin.

These conservative home-bodies love a spa treatment that makes them feel at home.
A customised body massage with fluid strokes, focussing on the upper body , adds to the nurturing feel of this special treatment.

Kneading out knots on the back will release stress. A massage will concentrate on the blind spot, combined with a fire element soak.

Since purity and cleanliness drive their attention, a Virgo exfoliation will carry away dead skin cells and leave this sun sign dazzling clean. Virgo is governed by the stomach and a customised massage will work on this.

To soothe aching muscles, this air sign should opt for a massage that concentrates on the back, reducing stress and stimulating better circulation.

Since their emotions run deep, a massage will include special attention to the lower back.

Working on the lower body, a trouble area for this sign, helps rejuvenate them. A detoxifying Sagittarius wrap is also part of the procedure.

Their joints bear the brunt of this hardworking sun sign. A massage and a soak with rhythmic strokes and stretches helps boosts circulation.

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