First Time Face Down

Confession: this is my first spa treatment, Ever! My first time in a proper spa (ever) and I have to admit, the entire concept makes me a bit nervous. I’ve always believed that spa treatments are a little excessive and unnecessary. Let me tell you now; my opinion has drastically changed!

CHI, The Spa, sits on level two of Sydney’s Shangri La Hotel. The location gets a huge tick. What’s not tickable about a tranquil Spa conveniently located in the heart of Sydney? Yet you feel as though you are anywhere but in the chaotic hustle and bustle of the city?

With a strong focus on using environmentally friendly and naturally processed products, The Spa offers a range of different treatments and therapies. I opted for the Crystalus Body Massage, where Western Australian healing stones and crystals are used to create a sensory experience focussing on the mind, body and spirit. A tall order for a small stone!

I’m ushered into a comfortably quiet, soothingly lit waiting area. Around each bend there are private, curtain enshrined nooks, with reclining day beds to relax in. I am still a touch nervous, but starting to calm! Christina, my therapist, introduces herself and asks me to fill out the client card as I sip refreshing iced rose tea.

Second confession; I am extremely ticklish and my body just loves to squirm. With this front of mind, I select the boxes that I thought could hide this fact the most. I decided to ask Christina to focus on my legs, hands and neck. Not my feet!

Now I’m led down the hall into a lush private treatment room and left alone to change and mentally prepare myself. It’s ‘go’ time. With a ‘no expectations’ attitude, I lie on the bed and surrender myself to Christina. She asks me to take three deep breathes through the nose, and as much as it sounds like a cliché, from the moment I inhale the oils she has prepared, my body relaxes and I can’t wait for what is to come.

My memory and thoughts blur. I feel as though I am sleeping although I am totally aware and awake.

I would be lying if I tried to recount every detail about the massage, as my body went into a total relaxed state. What I do remember is the way the healing crystals felt. It’s almost as though they were melting into my back and spreading some sort of energy throughout my body.

The aromatic oils massaged over my body not only left my skin feeling replenished and rejuvenated, but they connected my physical state to my spiritual one. I found myself reflecting on all sorts of random things in my life. I then had to fight my brain to switch off and shake away these thoughts so I could get back to being present in the treatment. From the tips of my fingers and toes, to my back, chest and face, every part of my body felt alive and all connected in perfect harmony. 

What I totally wasn’t prepared for was how good I felt post treatment and I don’t just mean the hour after. For the entire day and even for the next few days it was as though my body and mind was inspired to be a healthier and better version of me. I wanted to eat better, be more productive with important things, exercise more and take time out to reflect.

I had never before considered that perhaps a spa treatment isn’t just a luxury; instead it’s something beneficial for our health and entire wellbeing. I no longer see a spa as a place to indulge, but more a place to reconnect, unwind and refocus on the better things life has to offer.

Did I enjoy my first ever spa experience? Absolutely!  Although I’m worried that the benchmark has been set too high thanks to Christina at the Shangri La! Will it be my last? Absolutely not!



How Long: 90 minutes

How Much: AUD $240 (Mon-Fri) AUD$260 (Sat-Sun)

Highlight: The healing power of our local gemstones

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