Plus, spa product insights from community members.
By Narisa ‘Nina’ Phitchitsingh
The dim ambient lights, fresh botanical scents, plush robe against your skin, and the spectacular service are just a few elements I miss about a spa. The moment you step inside, you’re transported away. When I was in Costa Rica, the most memorable spa experience for me was a decadent couples’ chocolate massage, triggering multiple senses; in Indonesia, an oil massage where the masseuse wrapped my entire body in a large banana leaf; in the Maldives, a massage where the bed’s face-cradle looked down into crystal-clear water in which delightful baby sharks frolicked.
With COVID-19, these transformative, blissful feelings seem distant and lost. Since COVID is here for the long-haul, it’s time we make our homes into our own spa sanctuary and take ourselves away, and we’ve put together a list of how you can do so, using inspiration from around the globe. Three community-members also provide pointers on how their products are ideal for the spa-like atmosphere.
DECORATE WITH PLANTS AND NATURAL ELEMENTS
Decorate and inspire yourself with indoor plants, whilst appreciating a plethora of benefits. Plants reduce stress and anxiety, and they absorb pollutants and toxins in the air, helping us breathe and cleansing our space, and in turn, our minds. A popular indoor plant that is a good starter is the snake plant due to being low-maintenance.Conveniently, it can survive in both bright light and lower light levels, while also being decorative because of its unique appearance. The rubber tree, aloe vera, Monstera Deliciosa and Pothos are other great options to have in your renewed space.
WEAR SOFT, EASYGOING CLOTHING
Comfortable clothing is important because it allows you to listen to your body and its needs without distractions from tightness, itchiness orheat. Instead, it promotes movement and freedom. Ditch polyester, satin, or thick materials that aren’t breathable. Ravleen Madan, the founder of clothing brand La Fresc (Instagram: @lafrescthailand) explains, “when searching for comfortable clothing, rayon and 100 percent cotton is the way to go.” Her brand’s own material selection is “soft on the skin and cooling in this tropical weather.”
Inspired by breezy weather and blissful beaches, La Fresc offers beach and loungewear, but is still “perfect if you can’t go on vacation but still want to feel relaxed and chic,” with a product range “from comfortable trousers and shorts you can lounge in at home to swimsuit cover ups, three-piece sets and kimonos that you can transition straight to your next vacay!” Her creation process involves having “all prints exclusively designed and printed, then stitched into garments in-house.”
STOCK UP ON SALTS, CANDLES AND MORE!
During lockdown, it may be difficult to utilise the same space for multiple functions: work, rest, exercise, entertainment, socialising (via video calls), and now a spa. Use a sense-based experience to create a distinction between functions, such as dimmed lights or scents to transform the space. Pree Chawla, owner of Pree – Energy and Sound (Instagram: @pree.energyandsound), a hand-crafter of healing products, suggests “burning a candle to create the perfect ambience to calm and destress you after a long day of work. Once you light the candle, watch the flame and just breathe for a few minutes and see what a big difference it makes to your mood.”
She also recommends using salts as they are “well-known for soothing muscle aches, decreasing stress, helping with insomnia, and blood circulation.” Pree fuses her salts with essentials oils for added relaxation from the aroma. She encourages people to soak their feet in warm water with the salts, if they don’t have the chance to lie in a bathtub regularly.
Additionally, her brand’s candles are made with 100 percent soy wax (paraffin-free) and offer a clean burn with the use of cotton wicks, with seven different scents that cater to different moods during the day. Pree recommends, “Pear and freesia as perfect for the dinner hours, Lavender for bedtime, and Lemongrass to get rid of pesky mosquitoes.”
INVEST IN MASSAGE GUNS, MASSAGE BALLS, AND ROLLERS
With masseuses out of reach, explore other options. Lazada and Shopee sell devices that can mimic the feelings of compression, stretching, rolling, pressing, and massaging that we crave. If you’re not ready for the intensity of a massage gun, opt for massage balls (‘trigger point’ or ‘myofascial release’).
These have nodes or systematic bumps on them to help iron out your knots. Stretching straps (which are very affordable and lightweight) can help with lower body muscle tightness, particularly hamstrings. If you’re even more committed, try a stretching pole (‘leg stretcher’ for split training). For the athletic or sporty massage-goers, foam rollers are also worth having in your arsenal.
INDULGE IN HIGH-END SKINCARE, WITH A PURPOSE
Besides body treatments, spas also offer facials. In lockdown, treating yourself to good quality, effective skincare can be a way of investing in yourself that can bring you pleasure (and results).
Swiss Perfection (Instagram: @swissperfection.th) is used in many luxurious well- known spas internationally, including the St. Regis Bangkok. Ishpal Kuckreja, the distributor of Swiss Perfection, explains that all products from the collection contain their “signature Cellular Active Irisa, a compound uniquely extracted from the root of the iris flower, which has proven to help in anti-aging of the skin. The superior properties stimulate the cell metabolism, boost cell regeneration, and increase tissue oxygenation whilst balancing the skin’s pH levels.”
Ishpal recommends the brand’s iconic product RS28 Cellular rejuvenation serum, which is similar to the products offered in spas, but instead for home-use. According to him, “cells renew itself every 28 days so the RS28 products offer intensive solutions to boost the skin’s 28-day renewal cycle. It repairs damages deep down and helps defy aging.”