Three days in a resort in Phuket is unimaginably long (beaches and exploited but adorable baby elephants aside). On Day Two, I decided to treat the resort as a health spa and indulge in a little tune-up.
I started my day with a stretchy abs class: forty minutes of deep stretching and balance moves -including several recognizable yoga poses – followed by twenty minutes of intense ab work. I topped that off with thirty-five minutes on the treadmill and reviewed the spa menu.
The usual relaxing massages and facials were tempting, but I was intrigued by the virtuous sounding “Ultimate Detox”; a one hour and fifty minute package consisting of a body and skin detox and lymphatic massage. I was going for a tune-up after all, and this promised the reduction or at least reshaping of “hard fat” and cellulite, and with exercise (check), a possible reduction in any water weight I hadn’t yet sweated out in the 90 degree + high humidity heat.
I presented myself for my detox and after a thimble of lychee juice and a hot towel, was lead to a room featuring a toilet cubicle, shower/steam cubicle, bathtub and treatment table. I was asked to strip and put on meshy disposable boy shorts and a shower cap – sexy. Not wanting to hang out with my breasts out, I put on the robe and was immediately asked to take it off when the aesthetician returned and to lie face up on the table.
Now I am by nature a fairly modest and overly body-conscious person, but I’ve spent enough time getting spa treatments to know to check modesty at the door. I couldn’t, however, push out of my mind the thought that the tiny Thai woman detoxing me must feel like she had just been asked to massage and exfoliate a Beluga whale.
Once face up on the table, I was asked to sit, and a hot clay mask was applied to my back, butt, all the way to the “cleavage”, and arms. Then I lay back down and the mask was applied everywhere else, and I mean everywhere except my lady business.
Once I was covered in clay, a thin sheet was placed over me and I was wrapped like a sushi roll in gift-basket quality plastic wrap. Another sheet was then placed over me and a table-length heating pad – thank goodness for air conditioning. The aesthetician then pressed down on every part of my body, making the sheets adhere to my body via the glue-like clay. This press-down procedure was repeated three or four times while I was encased.
I was released from my shrink-wrap prison thirty minutes later, when rivulets of sweat began running down my face. The clay masque was sponged off and then the exfoliating scrub was put on. Grit was put in places it just doesn’t belong.
After exfoliation, I was ordered to strip out of my disposable panties and hit the showers. I did and then was basically told to drop the towel and get on the table. I tried to get on the table with my towel wrapped around me and then unwrap and lay down at the same time. Of course, I got trapped in my towel and my attempts to place myself discreetly and gracelessly on the table turned into a limbs akimbo, tits out unveiling. Classy.
For the rest of the treatment I was massaged while being lubed up with lotion – everywhere except a porn star’s landing strip. The massage was an interesting combination of relaxation and abuse; nice soft, relaxing strokes and then BOOM! chopping, beating motions. I’m starting to think there’s a belief in Thailand that if the massage doesn’t hurt it isn’t working. Little did I know what I had coming.
Wikipedia describes manual lymphatic drainage as “a type of gentle massage which is intended by proponents to encourage the natural circulation of the lymph through the body.” Like hell.
Naked once again, without even disposable panties to keep me warm, face down on a table covered by a light sheet, the “massage” began. Strokes up and down my lower legs with light pressure, then more pressure, faster and faster and harder and harder until thrashing, pounding movements were raining down on my lower legs. My calves are pretty tough, so it was tolerable… barely.
And then she reached my inner thighs. As I was poked and prodded at a racing pace until I felt that the masseuse’s fingers just might reach bone, I made silent screaming faces into the headrest. It helped. I mentally counted off the areas she had left to beat, realizing with horror I would not be able to both maintain my dignity and silently scream and grimace once I was face up.
It was time to turn over. I attempted to maintain an impassive face while gritting my teeth. Poke, poke, poke, pound, pound, pound, thrash, thrash, thrash. Firm but gentle face manipulation and then… it was over.
“How do you feel?” the masseuse asked. While thinking “Mugged,” I smiled and weakly uttered a “great, thanks.”
But was it worth it? I noticed zero slimming or cellulite appearance reducing results. I did acquire quite a few colorful bruises in interesting and not so interesting places. Now that’s hot.