Nestled away in the grounds of the Shangri-La hotel in Abu Dhabi is the award-winning Chi Spa. Designed to be “a place of personal peace, enchantment, and well-being,” its treatments are all inspired by natural healing methods of ancient Asian cultures, a way to reconnect your body, mind, and soul. I was there to experience the ‘Patra Pinda Sweda’ treatment, an Ayurvedic massage that strengthens and rejuvenates the back and spine whilst increasing circulation, reducing pain, stiffness, stress, and inflammation, and promoting a good night’s sleep – just the ticket after a busy week at work.
Patra, meaning “leaves of medicinal plants”, Pinda, meaning “bolus or pouch”, and Sweda, meaning “fomentation or sudation”, come together to form a 90-minute treatment that incorporates natural plants and a hot pouch to help with back ache, stiff joints, and even rheumatic arthritis. Leaves from medicinal plants and other natural ingredients (including neem, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, lavender, ginger, orange peel, lemongrass, and mint) are chopped into small pieces before being dried in the sun and tied in a cloth bolus to create the perfect massaging pouch. This bolus is then dipped into virgin coconut oil, which is heated and kept hot under a mild flame, filling the room with a subtle, tropical scent, before it’s used to massage the entire body.
As someone who suffers from lower-back pain and struggles with sleep, I can honestly vouch for how magical this massage was. Not only was it blissfully relaxing, but I could actually feel the tension and stress melting away under the heat of the pouch as it passed over my skin. I felt soft and supple from head to toe, and I smelled sublime thanks to the subtle scent of coconut and spices. I left feeling lighter, both mentally and physically, deeply relaxed, comforted, and warm to the core – like being snuggled up under a blanket with a hot cup of tea, a rare moment of peaceful bliss. This state of utter relaxation lasted throughout the evening and carried me through to a long, deep sleep that left me feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, as if I’d had a week-long vacation. So if you’re in need of a re-charge and some R&R, let your worries and woes melt away thanks to the Chi Spa’s ‘Patra Pinda Sweda’ treatment.
Chi Spa ‘Patra Pinda Sweda’ treatment, AED 850/SAR 868 for 90 minutes, Shangri-La, Abu Dhabi.
For appointments and information, call (+971) 2 509 8900.