The Benefits Of Indian Massage At Taj Cape Town’s Jiva Spa

Here’s what we learnt and why you should try it too.


Nadim Nyker |

When it comes to a good spa, the relaxation only kicks in when the treatments begin. But when it comes to a great spa, you start to relax as soon as you walk through the door. Jiva Spa at Taj Cape Town, is a great one. Scents of almond oil and sandalwood are smelt on arrival, before you begin to undress and unwind.

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*I tested their treatments, and not only did I learn about the benefits of Indian massage, I felt it in the weeks after. Here’s what I learnt and why you should try it too.

At first glance, Jiva provides an attention to detail and quality much better than your regular spa. There’s valet parking and your change room locker comes prepped and ready: You’ll find a premium bathrobe, disposable underwear and a pair of sandals that are yours to keep (which you don’t need to throw away after). There’s even a jewellery box so you can head straight from the office, with your pricey timepiece in good hands.

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You’re then taken to the Vishram room – where a variety of fruits and refreshments are served before your treatment. Roughly translated from Hindi, ‘vishram’ means ‘breathing space’ or ‘rest easy,’ and the room acts as a space of meditation before treatments begin.

The philosophy of Jiva Spa is rooted in India’s ancient approach to wellness, says Jiva spa manager Francisco Garcia. A veteran in the spa industry, Francisco worked as a spa consultant, also managing and directing both the Arabella Hotel Spa and Mount Grace Country House Spa.

One thing’s for sure; the Jiva experience is deeply rooted in tradition and healing is focused on a holistic approach to wellness – with treatments aimed at absolute relaxation rather than champagne glitz and Instagram glory. I tried their Winter Renewal package: a full body wrap with a hydrating mask, energising Indian aromatherapy massage, and Champi (an Indian head massage).

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(Scroll/Swipe to see what we learnt)

Indian Massage Focuses On The Temples

According to Francisco, the aim of the Champi is to release muscular tension around the head and neck area, to revive an 'inner vitality,' to create a balancing synergy and to promote clarity of mind, plus provide growth and shine to the hair.

"In the Champi, we use our specially designed Indian Head Massage blend, that contains Amla [oil] which strengthens and gives sheen to hair; Jatamansi - a balancer; and Neem an antiseptic," he says. "The aim of this massage is to ease tension around the head and neck area. We use different massage techniques in here such tapping on scalp, friction, press and release, hacking technique, caterpillar technique, pinching etc."

Be weary that during the Champi, it can get quite uncomfortable and there's temporary pain when your temples are pressed - but it's all for good reason. "The temples are one of the most effective and important points on acupressure as we tend to accumulate lots of strain and tension in this area.

"When pressure is applied to the area it helps relieve headaches and induces deep relaxation, as well as prevents migraines and relieves stress," he adds.

Indian Massage Eases Pain

Various techniques are used in Jiva Spa's Indian aromatherapy massage. But what I liked was their attention to detail with the body's pain points. Therapists take time to ask about irritable focus areas and each body part gets the time and concentration it deserves. Techniques used range from effleurage, thumb gliding and knuckling to long and small strokes while concentrating on pressure points.

"Like with most massages, it reduces the stress levels, and at the same time the energising aromatherapy oil blend used helps in gaining clarity of mind through the Tulsi ingredient," Francisco tells us. Other oils in the blend include Ashwagandha and Patchouliv, which allows for rejuvenation and stimulation.

All massages at Jiva are aimed at easing discomfort and pain, says Francisco. "Any massage that we do will ease discomfort and pain as all massages improve blood circulation, hence activating our lymphatic system (our detox process) and with that a higher sense of wellbeing is created.

"By improving blood circulation we bring new nutrients in the blood to our organs, which also aids in reducing internal inflammation," he adds.

A Hydrating Body Wrap Is Key

When it comes to body wraps, it's not what you're thinking — they can't be used as a quick-fix to lose weight; and when it comes to it, there's a vast amount of weight loss products which claim body wraps are the answer. According to Healthline, "depending on the type of wrap, the claims range from losing a few kilograms and inches in 30 to 90 minutes, to several dress sizes over a longer period of time."

But rather, body wraps are used to "nourish and hydrate the skin by pushing the body mask into your body and wrapping it so the skin can absorb as much of the benefits as possible," says Francisco. For me, the body wrap left my skin feeling a lot softer and got rid of a host of dead skin cells, too.

"We use the Jiva Signature body range, Posha Wrap and Oil. These products are all natural, without any preservatives. Some of the ingredients of the Posha range are shea butter, almond oil, sesame, papaya, coconut extracts, aloe vera, sandalwood, lavender , jasmine, chamomile, lemon and rose," Francisco adds.

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Tradition Counts

At MH, we're suckers for tradition. And if tried and tested methods have known to work – why change them? And when it comes to Jiva Spa, their treatments are backed by years of tradition and Indian ancient wellness techniques; which speaks for itself.  "The ethos of the carefully recreated treatments are drawn on the rich and ancient wellness heritage of India, the fabled lifestyle and culture of Indian royalty, and the healing therapies that embrace Indian spirituality," says Francisco.

As the therapy began, a therapist washed my feet, an act which is taken from Indian customs. "Traditionally in India, it is custom to wash the guest’s feet before entering the threshold. Besides eliminating fatigue and stress, it is also a sign of respect. The guest’s journey at our spa starts with this ritual and the special foot-bath blend, designed with essential oils, aids in relaxation and deeper comfort.

"We greet our guests with Namaste, meaning, 'I bow to you,' in Sanskrit

At MH, we're suckers for tradition. And if tried and tested methods have known to work – why change them? And when it comes to Jiva Spa, their treatments are backed by years of tradition and Indian ancient wellness techniques; which speaks for itself.  "The ethos of the carefully recreated treatments are drawn on the rich and ancient wellness heritage of India, the fabled lifestyle and culture of Indian royalty, and the healing therapies that embrace Indian spirituality," says Francisco.

As the therapy began, a therapist washed my feet, an act which is taken from Indian customs.  "Traditionally in India, it is custom to wash the guest’s feet before entering the threshold. Besides eliminating fatigue and stress, it is also a sign of respect. The guest’s journey at our spa starts with this ritual and the special foot-bath blend, designed with essential oils, aids in relaxation and deeper comfort.

"We greet our guests with Namaste, meaning. 'I bow to you,' in Sanskrit – with our heads bowed and hands folded.  It also has a spiritual significance of negating or reducing one’s ego in the presence of another . The true meeting between people is the meeting of their minds. Hence, Namaste, also means 'may our minds meet.' The bowing down of the head is a gracious form of extending friendship in love and humility."

*As experienced first-hand by Men's Health Digital Editor Nadim Nyker

with our heads bowed and hands folded.  It also has a spiritual significance of negating or reducing one’s ego in the presence of another . The true meeting between people is the meeting of their minds. Hence, Namaste, also means 'may our minds meet.' The bowing down of the head is a gracious form of extending friendship in love and humility."

*As experienced first-hand by Men's Health Digital Editor Nadim Nyker

 

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