The perfect spice mix
Hriatpuii hands me a bowl of dark mustard yellow paste, inviting me to take a whiff. Cardamom, ginger, turmeric and clove – these are obviously in attendance. But there is also a dose of black pepper and nutmeg present in the mix she tells me. No, we're not cooking with this mishmash of spices. It is the scrub I'm getting ready to have lathered on my body. It is, after all, said to promote deep cleansing and improve blood circulation.
A spice scrub therapy can relieve muscular soreness and improve blood circulation
I have Jiva Spa at the Vivanta by Taj - President all to myself on the weekday afternoon I spend there, which means the calm of the spa room is spread across the changing room and the steam room as well. After I down their honey lemon basil green tea, one of the most delicious detox drinks there is, I am led to the hamam for a 10-minute steam session.
Hriatpuii, my masseuse for the afternoon, then escorts me to the spa room. She is careful to ask me whether the temperature in the room and the soothing wind pipes in the background are to my liking. They certainly are and set the perfect mood for my upcoming 45 minutes of relaxation.
As the masala paste is gently rubbed into my skin, it isn't long before I start feeling its effects. There's got to be camphor or menthol in the garam masala mix, because there's a cooling sensation before the heat begins to emanate from my body. It is reminiscent of the muscle relaxants you buy off the counter and the scrub is said to offer the same relief from muscular soreness.
Hriatpuii carefully scrubs each of my limbs, making sure the applied area remains covered. Because I don't suffer from claustrophobia, my body is tightly wrapped in layers of warm towels after she has finished applying the masala scrub.
"Clients who do feel claustrophobic are only lightly covered with the towels," clarifies the masseuse. This is to allow the masalas to work their magic on my skin. My 15 minutes of mummified repose is made that much more relaxing because of a gentle head and shoulder massage I ask for.
Had I opted for the signature treatment, the invigorating Jivaniya, this is when I'd have received a revitalising body massage. "This treatment is recommended for people trying to lose weight. You need to come in once every 15 days for the treatment, based on deep-rooted Indian traditions, to work," claims spa manager Hemambika Varma. Those with sensitive or dry skin, however, are advised against opting for the treatment.
The heat-stimulating rub of spices and the subsequent wrap leave me feeling wonderfully relaxed. My skin, on the other hand, feels invigorated. My only regret is not going in for the Jivaniya treatment, something I'm determined to return to the spa for.
Masala Scrub Therapy
Where: Jiva Spa
Duration – 45 mins
Cost: Rs 2,000 plus taxes