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Tried and tested: Massage and meditation

A 90-minute journey to relieve distressed and stiff muscles

Image Credit: Supplied
Laura Kohlhase uses frequencies and vibrations of Tibetan singing bowls

After busting your back in regular weight training sessions, you'd expect to feel like Arnold - strong and triumphant. Unfortunately, back pain and weightlifting often go hand in hand and the stiffness makes you feel weak and fragile. 

Both health professionals and athletes have long contended that a massage after vigorous exercise reduces pain and helps muscles recover. After some internet research I decide to try the State of One signature massage at Fairmont The Palm’s Willow Stream Spa. The spa’s treatments help your body relax through the use of breathing, sound and meditation techniques from pranayama yoga, nada yoga and dhyana yoga respectively. 

I’ve dabbled in these techniques at some point, so combining them with a massage was something of an intriguing prospect. With my hopes high, I land at the spa to meet my therapist Laura Kohlhase, who has an extensive background in art and drama therapy.  Kohlhase along with her husband Wissam, a yogi and devotee of Mata Amritandamayi Devi, have devised these unique treatments that can be customised according to your needs.

I’m welcomed with a refreshing shot of litchi-mint-ice tea, and after understanding my concerns I’m offered the Be One session, a 90-minute journey that features a full body massage synchronised with a guided relaxation and breathing technique, carefully selected to convey a sense of oneness, tapping into my energies. I’m led to the therapy room and given a choice of two oils, where I pick the lavender and rosemary (or distress oil). The treatment also uses frequencies and vibrations of Tibetan singing bowls and I’m asked to select the sound that I like.

Kohlhase begins by kneading my feet, while guiding me to a visualisation technique, to appreciate, communicate and heal the body from past or present pain. In a soft, steady voice, she tells me to focus on each body part as she massages with the oil. I find meditation really tough. I’ve got a busy brain, so lying still, focusing on nothing is impossible for me. Kohlhase uses the Tibetan bowls to ensure a sense of clarity and stillness of mind. All this contributes to getting me in a state that is receptive and ready for the meditation that follows.

The effect of the massage puts me into such a relaxed condition, I feel close to sleep. The gentle meditative guidance being chanted over me in a seated position, gets me from being highly strung to an almost zen-like state. And finally when I get done, I can tell you it was bliss!

The facilities at Willow Stream Spa are top notch. There are high-tech showers, steam rooms and ice fountains, where you can have a good time all by yourself. There’s also a relaxation space, where I’m offered a steaming cup of tea and nuts. Honestly, I didn’t feel like getting out.

Be One Massage costs Dh650 (90min), Contact 055 852 7112 or 055 852 8377