Kinda not like waterboarding…….

Way long ago, I don’t recall when or where, I read something about a woman going for an awesome massage experience that involved a warm stream of oil being poured on her forehead, something about activating a chakra or some such. At the time, I was reminded of what my brain thinks waterboarding must be like, and this is kinda *not* like that.   Now, that’s about all that I remembered, but what did stick with me was her reaction to this – she was amazed at how it made her feel.   I thought “Hmmm….. I wanna feel amazing too!” This was where the hunt started.

Now none of the massage places I went to in Dubai understood what I was talking about, and perhaps I was really bad at describing it.   But, I noticed an ad in the Bahrain Gulf Daily News for Ayurvedic massage and treatment packages at a place called…..

Vaidyaratnam Ayurvedic Health & Treatment Centre  (imagine getting the sign contract for that one?? A loooong name!)  I chose their Riffa location as it was closest to me….

Villa 1137, Road 1427, Block # 914, Riffa , Shamali Near Muntaza  Super Market and Al Khaleej Arabic Girls School.

According to their website and brochure,

“We specialise in treating cervical spondylosis, lumbar spondylosis, disc-prolapse, sciatica, arthritis, frozen-shoulder, diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol, hemiplegia, facial paralysis, skin diseases, piles, gynaecological problems, urinary disorders, hair fall, migraine, sinusitis, obesity, sexual debility etc.”

Now, not knowing what a lot of those things are, it still certainly sounded like one-stop shopping to me. BUT! While I was reading these things, there was a slide show going on and bingo! There was a photo of a man with oil dripping on his head.

This is a snap from their website.  Do not judge their services by the site as it is incomplete and unfinished in places.  A lot of places.

This is a snap from their website. Do not judge their services by the site as it is incomplete and unfinished in places. A lot of places.

So – looks like I found the oil dripping thing….. I called and asked about that treatment, what was involved, what was the cost, and when could I schedule it.

Please, if you ever call this place, please do *not* pre-judge them by the manner in which your call is received. I was unable to make myself understood over the phone to the first woman that answered. I was transferred to a gent that fully explained the regimen to me and booked my appointment, and provided directions. Fabulous….. three sessions, 60BD, plus doctor consult 5BD. Each session lasts about one hour. OK, I’m in and booked and excited for this new experience.

Outside entrance.

Outside entrance.

Directions were clear, it was not hard to find at all. The clinic is bright, clean, pleasant and comfortable. Again, please do *not* pre-judge this operation by the manner in which you may or may not be greeted. I was not greeted at all when I walked in, even though I was the only person there besides the woman behind the desk talking on her cell phone. After a minute or two, she paused her conversation long enough to say “appointment?” while looking at her appointment book. I know I tend to rant about middle eastern customer service (or the lack of it) but, dang, y’all…. At least look at your customers (you know, the ones with the MONEY to pay your salary??). Maybe smile at them. Even say “hello” to break the ice a bit. Or just look at them and smile if you’re on the phone, at least you’ve acknowledged their existence, for crying out loud…. Mercy.

I gave her my name and appointment time, and she said “take a seat” and went back to her phone call. So I did. Shortly, her office phone rang, she answered it (just pausing her cell phone conversation again,) hung up and said “doctor will see you now.” And she resumed her cell phone conversation.  I stood up, and sort of hesitated, because I wasn’t sure where to go, waiting for some indication. After about 10 seconds of looking at her, waiting for direction, she waved down the hallway.

Sadly, this was my introduction to this wonderful center. Thank goodness that my treatment by Dr. Shinita and the massage therapists there was so *very* different. Dr. Shinita took all the time I needed, listened to my specific complaints, and made recommendations based on her knowledge and my needs. It was a good choice.

Therapy sessions consisted of walking into the other wing of the building, to a clean, well-lit room occupied by two female massage therapists. I saw a large table waist-high in the middle of the room, and another boxy-looking thing that I’m guessing was a steam sauna of some sort…. Counters held oils, lotions and potions and herbs…..

Entrance to toilet and changing area

Entrance to toilet and changing area

I was shown to a small changing room that had a toilet connected to it, and instructed to remove all my clothes and jewelry, place them in the cupboard, and put on the disposable panties, slip on the rubber shoes, and wrap a towel around myself. I did… and when it was time to exit the room, I saw one of these ladies on each side of the table, smiling and waiting for me. I knew I was in the right place.

Doesn't appear too comfy, but well-designed and easy to clean.

Doesn’t appear too comfy, but well-designed and easy to clean.

And the oil flows off your body and drains away into some collection something.....

And the oil flows off your body and drains away into some collection something…..

This end gets your head/face

This end gets your head/face

Face down, they removed my towel, placed my arms up with my hands almost at the edge of the table, and started the massage with copious quantities of warm oil, slightly menthol/camphor/eucalyptus scented. Because they’ve worked together for years, each movement mirrored the other almost exactly. This particular treatment consisted of fairly quick long rhythmic strokes, invigorating and releasing tension by the moment. I felt like I was in heaven.   Oh, and the room wasn’t too air-conditioned, either, I tend to freeze in air conditioning. Perfect temperature.

Fingers to toes, they worked in unison for – ever it seemed like.   I was feeling quite relaxed when they slowed, then stopped, waited for me to catch up and said, “turn please, madame”…….

So I did. More large amounts of warmly-scented oil, more luscious massage….. I was almost to that justaboutgonnadropofftosleepanysecond place, and they slowed, then stopped to prepare the oil drop.

This is the thing I saw in the search... the oil-holder thing.

This is the thing I saw in the search… the oil-holder thing.

This is what I’d been drawn to – the stream of oil on the forehead with massage….. it sounded so – decadent somehow. And, it was!

Here is the oil dribbler thing.... why I was here.

Here is the oil dribbler thing…. why I was here.

Rosewater-scented damp covers went over my eyes, smelling so very nice, and their coolness was welcome. Then, a strip of cloth was tied around my head, over my eyebrows and above my ears. They smoothed my hair back, and then the oil started a slow warm stream onto my forehead, falling back over the top of my head.

A-mazing. Totally.

After a few moments, they began massaging my scalp and the oil into it. My favorite part at the hairdresser is getting my hair washed, and this was a brazillion times better.

Now, remember, I’ve got my eyes closed with rosewater scented pads covering them, so I can’t see what’s going on, but I sensed that the oil was being collected and recycled through the streamer dealie thing….. warmed in between somehow.

After about 10 minutes of this decadence, they removed the pads, wiped most of the oil from my hair, wrapped it in a towel, sat me up on the table, and massaged my back while I was sitting, getting my senses back. Holy cow – I was relaxed, and VERY oily. This is NOT a neat treatment – you are oiled from head to toe, and not a nice little tiny bit of oil – you are drenched and dripping.

They helped me slide off the table, squiggle into my rubber shoes, and slip-slide into the changing room and toilet. Thank GOODNESS there’s a shower in there, and they’d placed a nice box of some sort of green body soap in there, and a packet of shampoo. Someone was even thoughtful enough to snip off the corner of the shampoo pouch, can you imagine trying to do that with oily hands?

Toilet and shower area

Toilet and shower area

toilet area

toilet area

Once cleaned, get back into your clothes, comb your hair (comb provided), and you get some kind of brown powder rubbed into your scalp. OK, if there is ANY part of this that I did not like, I had freshly shampooed (3X!) hair, and they rubbed this brown powder in my scalp. I asked what it was, and they said “no headache, madame”. Now, I still do not know what it was, but the smell/taste transferred to my mouth and almost made me wretch. Have you ever been around someone who has gum disease or infected or decaying teeth? That oddly soured/spoiled smell that their breath has? That’s it. Oh my goodness…. I could not wait to get home and shampoo it out!

That done, I was very relaxed, refreshed, and happy. Next morning, I expected to feel a bit sore, because some of the massage was slightly aggressive – but nope, just felt really really good.

I recommend this place – just do not pre-judge your treatment there by the reception experience. I dunno what that disconnect is, but it’s an excellent facility, with mostly wonderful and professional staff!

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