I am tough on my body: late nights, early mornings, long hours spent typing, texting and mousing. And, like many people, I can’t seem to find room in my day for a yoga or Pilates class to alleviate the kinks. However, I can always make time for a spa visit, which is why I seek out treatments that allow me to take care of a myriad of ailments in one sitting.
The hammam in The Spa
Thai massage, focusing on stretching and compression, is the perfect alternative to more ‘relaxing’ bodywork such as Swedish or shiatsu. I am not a newbie to the Thai method, but until I visited The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas, I had never experienced a Table Thai massage. Traditional versions are done on a floor mat, whereas this one is carried out on a table, allowing a range of motion greater than 180 degrees. Like a yoga class where you exert absolutely no energy but reap all the benefits, Thai massage opens up the joints and works the body’s connective tissue.
My "energy" has received a detoxification as well as my body
A stark contrast to the hyper-fast life that exists outside of the hotel on the Las Vegas Strip, The Spa immediately calms the mind and body, so a true ‘return to centre’ can take place. Its blissful Table Thai Yoga Massage – for either 60 or 90 minutes – is new to the spa menu at Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas. Therapists highly trained in the discipline were brought in to teach the already skilled staff in the most authentic way possible.
The yoga and Pilates studio
Their shared expertise is evident: gentle rocking, rhythmic acupressure and assisted stretching work my body from feet to spine, to neck and shoulders, and back down to my feet again. I never want this incredible session to end, but when it does I feel suddenly invigorated versus sleepy as I usually would after a relaxing massage. Apparently, this is because my ‘energy’ has received a detoxification as well as my body. It is one of the health benefits of this treatment that has been part of Thailand’s traditional medicine and India’s Ayurvedic principles for more than 2,500 years.
I would have no qualms about taking this special journey during lunchtime or after a long flight when I need the extra boost. Note that during Thai practice, you remain fully clothed (before entering the treatment room, I was offered some loose-fitting clothing to change into) and no lotion or oil is used. The benefit is, that if you are running to a meeting or a dinner afterwards, it doesn’t mess up your make-up or hair.
A private treatment room
My therapist recommends pairing the Table Thai with the Hammam experience, consisting of a scrub performed on a heated marble massage table. The skin is hydrated with olive oil soap, leaving the body feeling energised and smooth. She also suggests trying the hotel’s extensive yoga programme. Surprisingly for a city like Vegas with all its eccentricities, Mandarin Oriental has the fitness-minded traveller in mind, according to the Director of Spa, Jennifer Lynn. ‘We have extensive fitness facilities and many of our guests work out,’ she says. ‘The Table Thai Massage complements any type of physical programme they are on.’
And I learn that with Thai massage, there is no such thing as too much of a good thing. Do it every day… after all, they do in Thailand. In fact, this experience has had me yearning to immediately book a trip to Bangkok or, failing that, a return visit to the fantastic Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas.