Health: All you need to know about a chemical-free body massage

A new spa treatment uses red rice, earlier used to cure ailments in ayurveda, in a refreshing massage technique to relax stressed skin

At first glimpse, the spa located inside Four Points By Sheraton Hotel in Navi Mumbai, appears like a typical spa space, with neat white spa beds, a spacious couple room with an attached steam room and the works. The wooden floor and shelves displaying spa products didn’t impress us much. The warm smiles of the hospitable staff made all the difference.

Our treatment for the day was going to be a 60-minute massage using a paste of red rice and curd. “The red rice treatment is an improvisation from the original one that was used in Ayurveda. Initially, it was used to create neurological disorders. Patients would be recommended to eat Navra (red) rice throughout their treatment. They showed remarkable improvement along with side effects like fresh and younger looking skin. Eventually, when the same red rice was used to massage, people were delighted with the results,” shares Sabreena Hougaard, head of training and product development at Heaven On Earth Wellness. “We have grown this rice in our family for many years now, particularly as my father had a heart ailment and was a diabetic. The Ayurvedic doctor recommended it. We completely replaced white rice. I saw my own skin change. I started making a powder of it and mixing it with a little turmeric, sandalwood and curd and applying it on different parts of the body. It helps the skin self repair the damage,” she adds.

After being served a cup of warm green tea, we are led to a short steam session to begin the cleansing process and then to a spacious massage room where our soft-spoken masseuse Rose, tell us about the treatment. “The paste we make is a mixture of finely ground pure organic red rice mixed with rose water and curd. You have to make it fresh as the powder of organic rice gets spoilt quickly. Curd makes it easier to mix.” she tells us. “As she uses a mix of the Swedish and Ayurvedic technique to massage the body, we feel the stress leave the particularly stiff parts like the back and neck. The curd in the rice paste allows long flowing massage movements on the skin and has de-tanning properties. We found the deft movements used by our masseuse, relaxing. The paste that is granular in texture exfoliates and helps get rid of dead skin. “Repeated use helps reduce dryness, redness and inflammability,” Rose tells us. Post massaging the rest of the body and leaving a thick coat of the paste on it like a body mask, our masseuse gave us a dry head massage, focusing on the forehead, which worked well for us. We had to be woken up as we had almost drifted into peaceful slumber somewhere during the sixty-minute treatment.

While we had to undertake a few sittings or continue to use the red rice paste at home for the effects to show on our skin, the massage did make our skin feel soft and smooth, while the gentle massage made us feel pampered and relaxed. Try this one when you need a chemical-free skin treatment next.

Time: 11 am to 11 pm
At: Aristo Spa, Four Points by Sheraton, Sector 30 A, Vashi, Navi Mumbai.
Call: 09867832414
Cost: Rs 3, 000

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