For those of you looking for ways to pamper yourselves, masalamommas.com will be doing a regular profile on South Asian-inspired spa treatments each month. Here’s our first instalment!
By Anjum Choudhry Nayyar
Now if you’re like me, there’s no place better to get away and unwind like the spa—especially after months on end of shuttling your kids to all their events,, the one-on-one time and the daily race to get them fed, bathed and finally to bed. So this month I decided to learn more about chakra balancing and its role in using reflexology and energy work to decrease muscular tension. Hey, I’m all about reducing muscular tension especially after carrying my 17-month-old son on my left side for hours on end! So I headed off to the new Ste. Anne’s property in beautiful Port Hope Ontario, The Dorset Manor Spa for my first Chakra Balancing Treatment.
The Dorset Manor Spa is the perfect backdrop for this experience, nestled in a 14-acre private vista, overlooking lush forest with Lake Ontario on the horizon. Their innovative treatment focuses on centering the chakras using a variety of massage techniques. It features the Aveda Chakra Balancing Blend, used differently to balance each chakra. Chakra originates from Hindu texts and Hindu practices, deriving from the Sanskrit word “wheel” or “turning.” The concept of the chakras comes from Ayurveda, the ancient healing art of India.
So my first job when I walked into the room was to pick three cards from a series, each with a different Sanskrit letter, colour and word associated with it. Each card is associated with a different chakra, of which there are seven.
I spoke to John Ireland, a shiatsu massage therapist at Ste. Anne’s spa about what makes this treatment so successful at providing stress relief decreasing muscular tension and increasing energy.
“We start at the back and do a back massage, and add a hot towel to the back as well as pain relieving composition,” said Ireland. “The person is then asked to do some visualization and then he or she is turned over and we do a scalp, neck and arm massage, then we come to the feet to do some reflexology points, then we finish with some more visualization. We ask each person to visualize a colour sequentially by doing that we’re stimulating or promoting that function or chakra in the body. Each chakra has a different frequency. The lowest is red and that would be the first chakra- it’s very physical.”
This treatment focuses on the whole body and features deep tissue massage on the back and spinal muscles. I was much more energized after the treatment and very relaxed during. It really does engage the five senses, with its heat, massage, oil, touch, smell and music, so for those of you who want an energizing but relaxing treatment, the chakra balancing treatment is the one to get!
Listen here for the audio interview John Ireland Inverview
About John Ireland:
John Ireland began practicing as an Alternative Therapist at Ste. Anne’s Spa in 2005. He graduated with Honors in Shiatsu Therapy from the Shiatsu School of Canada and is a Certified Shiatsu Therapist (CST) with the Shiatsu Therapy Association of Ontario (www.shiatsuassociation.com). He studied Thai Massage with Pejman Ayoubzadeh at the Academy of Traditional Thai Massage and became a Registered Reflexology Practitioner (RRpr) through the Ontario College of Reflexology (www.ocr.edu/). John also graduated from Trent University with a B.A. degree in Anthropology and Development Studies. He spends his free time studying integral spirituality and philosophy, practising yoga, and exploring the great outdoors.
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