As the saying goes, the body is a temple, which means that sometimes it needs some maintenance—or, at least mine certainly did when I first came to Seminyak’s Soham Wellness Center. After a weekend of surfing Bali’s waves, I was in desperate need of something to help counter my recent bout of sun exposure and painful overuse of my upper body. And while Bali’s spa culture runs the gamut from ad hoc massages on the beach to full-blown wellness getaways of a Gwyneth Paltrow intensity, I wanted something of a mix—the levity of a day-spa with the level of professionalism and indulgence of a luxury retreat. And so I headed to Soham, a brand-new, one-stop-shop for everything health and wellness: all manner of classes, a spacious fitness center, an Olympic-size lap pool, steam rooms and Jacuzzis, a café, a boutique, and a gorgeous top-floor spa.
In the modern spa lobby with the accompaniment of some herbal tea, I sorted through the extensive menu of some 50 treatments, finally landing on the Best of Ayurvedic ritual—a two-hour treatment involving a massage, body scrub, and oil drip. As the spa specializes in Ayurvedic techniques, my therapist assured me that it was a good choice and promptly handed me a questionnaire to determine my dosha type. One of the principles of Ayurvedic practice is balancing one’s dosha, or natural state of body and mind (hot or cold, light or deep sleeper, calm or energetic). When certain channels in one’s body are blocked, clogged, or tense, the dosha can be thrown off and health compromised, but the focus of Ayurvedic treatments, such as this one, is to re-calibrate the body back to its most open and ideal state.
After determining that I was a pitta type, I was led through a set of Balinese double doors to a spacious, dimly-lit treatment room with a modern Balinese style, and the treatment began. Unlike the kneading of a Swedish massage, my therapist used Abhyanga techniques of long, gliding motions to stretch my muscles and focused on specific pressure points to activate my lymph nodes, helping to detoxify impurities and increase circulation. After about an hour of massaging, she began with the scrub: a natural mixture of ground chickpeas and herbs including coriander and cardamom, both known for being high in antioxidents. Finally, the treatment ended with warm coconut oil dripped from a brass vase that slowly ran over my scalp and through my hair—intensively moisturizing and deeply relaxing. When it was over, I could hardly get up from the table.
While I’m not an Ayurvedic expert, I do know that I left feeling wholly different and with that much-desired spa glow. My parched, red skin was calmed and smooth again, my hair was bouncy and shiny, and my muscles no longer felt like coiled balls of wire. Soham is certainly channeling something right.
For more information, visit Soham Wellness Center.