Perpetually stiff shoulders, tense lower backs and not to mention stressful minds from an office drone lifestyle have us constantly searching for new methods of total relaxation. With spas in Bangkok typically following the long-respected Thai treatment methods (and some trying to stand out from the pack with innovative wellness experiences), we were thrilled to find that a five-star hotel spa is offering bamboo massage. Despite having ancient origins from Chinese, Indonesian, and Japanese cultures, this rather unusual holistic therapy is still rather novel in Bangkok.
Enter The Suthothai Bangkok’s Spa Botanica, a haven of wellness and pampering for stressed city executives. Currently available until 31 May 2018, the unique bamboo massage is dedicated to tired souls looking for a deep tissue body treatment that is at once blissful and effective.
Bamboo massage therapy is essentially the same as deep tissue massage or Swedish massage. It might bring to mind gua sha, the traditional Chinese (and somewhat gruesome-looking) therapy involving scraping the skin with jade stones to help improve lymphatic circulation. But rest assured, with the smooth, organically-treated bamboo cane used in this treatment, you won’t be getting any marks. In fact, bamboo massage can help improve skin texture, with bamboo extract containing silica to assist your body in absorbing calcium, potassium, magnesium and other essential minerals that give your skin a healthy glow.
Located in a peaceful garden of The Sukhothai Bangkok, Spa Botanica is a hidden oasis at the back of the hotel’s swimming pool. Boasting a natural palette of light stone, soft teak wood and Jim Thompson silks, Spa Botanica has three single treatment rooms and four couples suites in total. My bamboo massage was done in one of the latter types, fully equipped with a locker, toilet, shower and steam facilities, ofuro (outdoor Japanese tub) and a private balcony with garden views.
The 105-minute bamboo massage is a combination of aromatherapy and preventive therapy using the bamboo technique. Similar to the techniques found in a hot stone massage, the bamboo sticks are used at room temperature to roll and knead the tissue to help relieve muscle tension, promote blood circulation and regulate mood and feelings of bliss.
After spreading the lemongrass massage oil from leading Thai spa product brand HARNN onto my legs and back, my therapist Nen got to work relaxing the tension in my body with slow, rolling motions using a bamboo stick oozing up and down along my spine to ease each knot one by one. A rather unique sensation compared to any other massages I’ve experienced before, it took me a while to get used to the feeling of the bamboo stick on my skin.
Works best when alternating bamboo canes of varying lengths and diameters to provide deep tissue work, the full body bamboo massage involved a long stick for gliding strokes on the bigger muscle groups such as the back and thighs, while a shorter, thinner cane was used for more detailed work. I found the bamboo technique especially effective in pushing pressure points on the soles of my feet, as the bamboo cane was pressed down with fluid, firm strokes at the bottom of my feet, slowly rolling the pain away.
The use of HARNN lemongrass massage oil increased the soothing component of the massage, which surprisingly worked well with the bamboo to spread the oil evenly on my skin. With the aromatherapy scents in the air and the ultra-soft bedding, I gradually fell into a state of bliss as my joints yielding and the tiredness melting like butter.
At the end of the bamboo massage experience, I was given a generous portion of HARNN body cream to apply all over my body, leaving it luxuriously scented and my skin even more supple. Feeling rejuvenated (even more so than getting an eight hours’ sleep at night), I was led to the relaxation zone to enjoy hot lemongrass tea and dried banana chips after the treatment.
The 105-minute bamboo massage is priced at THB 4,500++ per person.
Spa Botanica, 13/3 South Sathorn Road, The Sukthothai Bangkok, +662 344 8900