Rosy Moorhead finds you can be properly pampered in the comfort of your
Time Out Bahrain staff
Now I’m the sort of person who only gets a massage as a gift on important birthdays and a manicure/pedicure if I’m going to a wedding, so the thought of having these done in my own house on a Tuesday morning for no good reason at all had me tingling with guilty pleasure. Add to this the knowledge that someone else was sweating and swearing their way through the traffic instead of me, and I was positively buzzing before they’d even arrived.
Maria, Mayflor and Im turned up promptly at the scheduled time and I have to confess that I was slightly alarmed at the sheer volume of stuff they’d brought with them. Several enormous bags, trolleys, trays, bundles, their own sheets, towels, wash basins, portable light, scent burners and music, as well as the fold-away massage table and separate mattress – it was exhausting just watching them set it all up.
They were all very friendly and professional, though only one spoke more than passable English. All their equipment was clean, straight out of individual wrappers, much of it disposable (very reassuring, though maybe less so for the environment), the rest sterilised in an autoclave, something they were at great pains to point out as hygiene seems to be their byword.
Im, headhunted from Thailand apparently, started us off with my massage. The guilty pleasure was replaced by straight-out guilt as the other two headed out to sit in the van for the next hour, despite my protestations that they were welcome to use the rest of my house, something which almost overshadowed the enjoyment of the treatment. Almost. She gave me a five-minute sample of each the aromatherapy and Thai massages so I could decide which one I’d like to have for the hour. I’d been thinking I’d go for the Thai one, some notion of suffering for my art or some such nonsense, but after five minutes of bone cracking on bone I whimpered that I’d have the aromatherapy one, please, and relaxed into a jolly nice hour of pampering. Well, I did once I’d got over the initial horror I always feel in these situations at the thought of the rolls of excess flesh rippling up and down my back, and after, about twenty minutes in, the doorbell rang and there were a few minutes of decided tension with me wriggling around trying to cover my oily nakedness and Im trying to tell whoever it was in pidgin English that they should come back later. You wouldn’t get that in a regular spa.
So, the massage was jolly nice. Then it was Im’s turn to be banished to the van while the other two came in to work on my hands and feet. This started with my feet being ruthlessly sanded and me collapsing in helpless laughter which they both found highly amusing (surely I can’t be the only person they’ve come across with ticklish feet?) and then being compensated with a vigorous green tea exfoliation on my arms and legs, before they started my paraffin treatment. Now this, I will admit, had had me envisioning myself being flambéed, but was of course much less traumatic and only involved me sitting with my hands and feet in plastic gloves and boots of boiling hot paraffin for about ten minutes.
Then came their signature lava shell massage of my arms and legs (boy, were they going to look good after all this attention). Philistine me automatically assumed the shells were plastic but I was indignantly informed that they were in fact real and had been harvested from the South Pacific. That told me. Whatever they were, they were filled with, yes, lava and it was extremely pleasant and relaxing and undoubtedly did my skin the world of good. Though I’d suggest that you wouldn’t need to have this done if you were also having a full body massage.
This all left my hands and feet primed and ready for my manicure and pedicure (we were well over two hours in now; this was proving to be quite a marathon session). They left me with a rather fetching French manicure on my fingers but, unfortunately, a very sore and swollen big toe where they’d got a tad over-enthusiastic with one particularly stubborn cuticle. Oh well, at least it didn’t clash with the magenta varnish I’d opted for on my toes.
So, overall, a novel and highly pleasant spa and beauty experience. Personally I’d probably still plump for one of the hotel spas for atmosphere and facilities, my living room just couldn’t compete on that score, but for beauty treatments (they do hair and waxing too, and can even come to you in your office) they definitely have the edge over regular salons in terms of convenience. And there’s obviously the added bonus of not being roasted alive as you drive home in the Bahraini heat covered in oil. Though I never did find out who it was at the door. Aromatherapy massage, BD30 for one hour. Various packages available. The Mobile Spa (17 777 444; www.themobilespaonline.blogspot.com)
How to get the most out of your treatment
Chido, the spa’s manager, gives us her top tips for getting the most out of your massage, before, during and after.
Before • Let your therapist know of any medical conditions and if you are pregnant or planning pregnancy • Don’t have a heavy meal or drink alcohol before your massage or tratment • Have a hot bath (or a sauna or steam room if you have access) – this helps to warm up the muscles and makes your massage more beneficial • Let your therapist know your needs for the massage so they can assist you better
During • Report any discomfort to your therapist, i.e. pressure of massage, pain, volume of music
After • Drink plenty of water • Give yourself time to relax