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An ancient detoxification from modern-day stress.

ONE escape from the toxicity of today's news cycles and other stressors have been staring us in the face for thousand of years.

Also known as Turkish bath, the hammam is the Middle Eastern variant of a steam bath and traces its origins to the Ottoman period that began in the 13th century. The ancient practice made its way to the country in 2015 with the opening of Discovery Primea through its Terazi Spa, which is named after the Turkish word for 'calm.'

Three years into its launch, Discovery Primea Gym and Spa Manager Camille Santos said the offering continues to grow strong: 'We get a lot of positive feedback and mostly, guests say it's the best spa experience they've ever had.'

Based on a trip to Terazi Spa earlier this week, it's hard to disagree.

The experience starts with a selection of two drinks: lemon water or tamarind-pineapple juice? The concoctions are offered at the tea lounge, past the reception area's sliding doors, after the guest fills out a form about basic personal information, medical history and massage pressure preference.

The Discovery Leisure Co. Inc. has some of the best welcome drinks in the industry, and the tamarind-pineapple juice is a testament to this excellence. It's the perfect drink for what's to come, especially under the mix of Terazi Spa's serene music, balmy scent and dark-wood interiors.

When ready, guests are led to the massage room to undress. Disposable underwear is provided for the conservative; otherwise, it's all skin and thin cloth throughout. It is, after all, a sauna experience, and the star of that equation is what's next.

The Terazi Spa has the only marble-line steam-heated room in Makati. The unique facility doesn't reveal its entirety at the instance of the guest's entry, as the steam's brume befogs everything in sight, save for whatever's within arm's distance: marble walls, marble sink, or the heated marble slab at the center of the room, called the gobek tasi.

Guests are guided to a corner where they can stay for the duration of the steaming, which lasts up to 15 minutes and the temperature can rise to 38 degrees Celsius. Within reach is a bronze bowl that guests can use to scoop water from the sink for dousing, a towel drenched in ice for damping and a pitcher of lemon water for hydration.

After the sauna comes the hammam treatment itself. Guests are asked to lay face down at the heated marble bed, as therapists prepare to start the exfoliation process using traditional kese mitts from Dubai.

The scrubbing begins at the foot, around the ankles, up to the legs, then to the hips and buttocks. Next is the torso, starting from back and then to the arms. The sequence is repeated at a supine position, with each gentle scrub of the rough mitt scraping away impurities from sweaty skin.

Then comes the signature wash. Therapists dunk a Turkish-style sarong onto a bubbly bowl of water with castile soap, an olive oil-based bar known for its nourishing and moisturizing properties.

The soapy cloth cut like a pillowcase is spread and swayed from side to side to catch air, an ancient ritual of a movement where the therapist appears to dance with the cloth. It is then held from one end and squeezed to the other, producing clouds of bubbles that are directed to fall onto a specific area of the guest's body.

The first target is the back. The drop of foam on that area produces little sensation at initial contact, but proceeds to grow like a thousand massaging hands with the slow and gentle bursting of the bubbles. And then the foam is dropped onto the extremities, where the nerves create a more pronounced feeling.

I felt my legs and arms melt at the weight of the foamy clouds, until only my head, and my relaxed thoughts, were left-an out-of-body experience, if there's ever one. After letting the foam work its wonders, the therapist washed it away with a splash of water, and suddenly, I'm more than a thinking head again.

That experience alone is worth the look, but Terazi Spa rounds out the unique bath treatment with a signature massage.

The Terazi Signature Massage is a mixture of eastern and western techniques, including Hawaii's Lomi Lomi movements that involve forearm rubs and elbow presses, acupressure points, as well as Swedish massage.

'The treatment is designed exclusively for Terazi Spa, so you won't get that same sequence elsewhere,' Santos said, adding that they even send their therapists to yoga classes to sharpen their flexibility and body mechanics.

To go with the unique massage, guests are given the freedom to select the oil to be used for the session. Each choice has its own therapeutic properties, such as deep healing and calming.

This season, Terazi Spa (955-8888, [email protected]) offers a 'Holistic Holidays Spa Package' that includes 45-minute Citrus Body Glow scrub, followed by a 45-minute Terazi Signature Massage and concluded with a 45-minute Natural Facial for a special rate of P6,000 net per person. The ongoing offer is available until January 31, 2019.
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Publication:Business Mirror (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Nov 7, 2018
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