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Tried and Tested: Alternative Therapies

We are all sceptical about obscure therapies, whether they work and what they achieve. So I’ve done the leg work for you and undergone some of the more unusual treatments available in Bahrain.

There is no denying that facials, massages and scrubs are fabulous. They do what they are supposed to and always manage to send you off into a utopian world of relaxation.

However, there are so many more options out there besides a classic massage or a Vitamin C scrub. Over the last few years, an abundance of new, some slightly bizarre, therapies have emerged enticing you to soothe your body in different ways.

There are many categories, inclusive of many treatments, at the top of which seems to be energy healing. Designed to help calm the mind, body and soul, this is typically linked to reiki, theta, acupuncture and crystal healing. But there are additionally many ‘hands on’ treatments that arguably achieve the same results. For example, certain types of massages will calm both the body and mind, while leaving you centred and soothed.

Although not all of these are available in the Kingdom yet, we have unearthed some of the less-known therapies to see what all the fuss is about.

The treatment: Bamboo Draining Massage

Our expert: Suphavidree Nasomchai (Eit), spa manager at Dessange At Dessange, I was advised by the spa manager to try a massage which uses smooth bamboo sticks. It did feel slightly like the therapist was using a rolling pin to flatten me out, but once I became accustomed to the motion, I could feel my muscles succumb.

Eliminating toxins
“This deep relaxing body treatment is a combination of sensuality of the woods and hand movements,” explained Eit. “This treatment uses bamboo as it moves along and covers the body better than hands,” she explains. Plus the dry oil used, Dessange’s own, has benefits.

“The dry oil contains orange and lemon fruits, both which are natural healers. This product helps boost the immune system, balances the pH level, clears skin and hydrates the lymph system. Additionally, it has an anti-orange peel benefit and works to relieve muscular tension. This activates the blood circulation, as well as increases drainage, accelerating the elimination of toxins,” she outlines.

Why it’s alternative
This treatment, which originates from ancient Malaysian traditions, is considered to be alternative because it is the only one of its kind that helps rid cellulite and lymphatic problems.

“We recommend this treatment to those who have bad circulation, water retention and who want to prevent orange-peel skin due to bad lymphatic system,” says Eit.

The treatment: Hot Stone Therapy

Our expert: Sapana Munikr, senior therapist at The Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel and Spa If you are after a vigorous massage, the hot stone therapy should be at the top of your list. Ideal for those who suffer from insomnia and muscular pain, this treatment uses heated volcanic stones to prompt relaxation and healing.

Targeting key points with heat
“The flat stones are placed on key body points to penetrate deep heat into the muscles,” explains Sapana. “This achieves complete muscle relaxation after one 80-minute session. However, if your aches and pains return then we suggest multiple sessions,” she advises.

The treatment begins with a full-body massage completed with aromatic minty oil. As normal, you can state areas of your body which are particularly tense and the therapist will focus there. “I use the hot stones to thoroughly relax the muscles and to improve the blood circulation,” she says. The incorporation of the hot stones with the oil forced every muscle to relent and I further relaxed when Sapana placed the stones in a vertical line down my spine to let the heat penetrate into the skin layers.

Why it’s alternative
The use of the stones meant that the massage was more intense than usual, nevertheless it was completely enjoyable. “The hot stone therapy is still relatively new and not many people are aware of it,” adds Sapana. “Using stones in a treatment can seem a bit strange, but the beneficial qualities received from the direct source of heat are tremendous.”

The treatment: Acupuncture

Our expert: Dr Yang, Chinese medicine doctor at Bahrain Wellness Resort Acupuncture is a treatment I have always been unwilling to test, but it is the most recognised form of energy healing and so I had to give it a try. The idea of having little needles imbedded all over my body wasn’t appealing. However, surprisingly, I felt incredibly light throughout the process.

Increasing energy
“This ancient form of natural Chinese medicine has been available to patients at the Bahrain Wellness Resort for four years now,” says Dr Yang, one of the resort’s three Chinese medicine doctors. “Primarily, it increases energy levels and improves blood circulation and we recommend it to people who have difficulty sleeping,” he continues.

The treatment is very simple; Dr Yang first consults with you and asks where you have aches and pains. He then takes your pulse and decides on which areas to concentrate.

In the treatment room, he will place the necessary amount of needles on various body points, each which assists certain ailments. You are then left with your own thoughts for half an hour whilst the needles do their magic.

Why it’s alternative
Sticking pins in a person isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but there is a reason that so many people frequently return to acupuncture. Nevertheless, there are other options that achieve the same end result.

“If a patient doesn’t wish to choose acupuncture, there are many similar therapies I recommend,” offers Dr Yang. “Try acupressure or reflexology to target certain trigger points that will promote relaxation,” he explains.

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