Wednesday, October 4, 2017

A relaxing Ventoz massage at Jiva Spa, Taj Fort Aguada Resort and Spa, Goa

When you're working five or six days a week, an indulgent spa is what you wish for to soothe your aching back. Though I'm hardly doing any physical activity, I'm always mentally drained and physically exhausted on most days. So when the opportunity popped up to visit Jiva Spa at Taj Fort Aguada Resort and Spa, I jumped at the offer.

So there I was in the cab from my villa at the Taj Fort Aguada towards Jiva Spa which is sea facing! Yes, its spread across sprawling lawns and you are greeted by the beautiful Sinquerim beach beyond. You see a bunch of tourists taking selfies at the ruins of the Aguada Fort in a distance and even more at the beach. But, amidst all of that, there's a sense of calm to the place. Probably the setting, the vibe – there’s something about the place that's very appealing, and soothing.

As you enter, you cross a little canopy. The place in itself is very artistic with sculptures placed all around and a brown structure that houses the Jiva Spa which the Taj prides itself with. Taj’s award-winning spa brings the essence of the Indian wellness traditions and the promise of spiritual rejuvenation in a serenely luxurious space, and I wouldn’t agree less. Though it didn't look extremely fancy, the experience here was one of the best I've had in Goa.

The benefit of Jiva Spa’s unrivalled spa therapies is enhanced by their state of the art facilities and world-class equipment. The spa facilities include separate changing rooms for men and women with dedicated lockers, slipper and, towels. Between stepping in and out of the cocoon of beautifully appointed treatment suites, you can soak in the steam rooms, with showers to cool off.

Trust me when I say the warm and welcoming staff blew most of my worries away. They quite understood the entire idea of someone coming to the spa – to relax and rejuvenate. And they did everything possible to ensure you have a great evening.

They quickly checked out appointment details and got us seated on a comfortable couch just steps away from the reception. The pretty lady at the reception welcomed us and requested us to fill the form which asks you for preferences and any health complications and went about explaining the different type of messages before she let us take a pick. She insisted on helping us pick one by giving us option after asking is what our problem areas were.

My problem area was definitely my back. And she suggested a deep tissue massage with a little more focus on the back or Ventoz body massage which includes the cupping technique. I definitely went in for Ventoz the moment she finished explaining because this meant double back massage - first during cupping (where the focus is only on the back - right from the shoulder to lower back) and then during the full body massage. And I wasn't disappointed one bit. Read on to know why.

However, most of their signature treatments seemed interesting. For example, the Shudhikara, a purifying treatment that uses traditional cleansing techniques created from the greatest ingredients. Detox your body and mind or the Jivaniya, which lets you relieve those muscle tensions by combining exotic herbs from across India. They also have a wide selection of Indian therapies that involves oils generously applied and absorbed by the skin to ensure that their relaxing and therapeutic properties are felt throughout the body. They have a range of body wraps and scrubs, special couple only spas sessions and beauty treatments to choose from.  

We were then made to drink some hot herbal tea – which acted as a detox drink before our spa, until they got their stuff ready. The tea lovers within us absolutely loved the flavoursome tea; I could live on it. Someone please give me the recipe or make it for me every single day? The way the tea was made and presented in itself was very intriguing. A kettle placed atop a few lamps is where the tea come from. It was served in an arty tumbler which felt so warm and comforting while we sipped on our tea. Taj indeed ensures you enjoy a spa day and boost your wellness!

The team at Jiva Spa very quickly got our massage requirements ready and my therapist escorted me into the therapy room. The room smelt flowery, with a bronze metal tub filled with water and covered with rose petals occupied the space right in front of the entrance. The low-lit room comprised of a bed, a mirror, a safe, a side table and other necessary items. I was made to change into my robe and as I lay my head on the bed, I virtually let go of the baggage that I was carrying in my head and decided to just relax. I shut my eyes and let the masseur do the magic with her hands.

Post some stretching, the initial strokes were a bit hard on my body. But as my body flexed and got accustomed to the massage, everything went well and I could just relax and enjoy. We were told beforehand that Ventoz may cause some bruising, but mostly on sensitive skin. Since I don't really have sensitive skin, that wasn't my worry at all. All I did was kept my mind free of all thoughts and soaked in the experience completely, until my phone placed on the distant table rang with an incoming text. I know I'm supposed to keep my phone on silent, and I regretted not having abided by the rule the very moment my phone rang. That didn’t quite distress me though.

I was told that in this ancient Indian treatment they use heat in a glass to create vacuum which is widely known as an immediate relief for knots and sore muscles and is concluded with a relaxing deep massage with a signature spa oil which is readily absorbed by the skin leaving it smooth and recharged. The initial cupping felt incredibly good. The hot cups placed on several sensitive areas on the back and special focus on pressure points felt great. The pressure was medium to strong, and sometimes it did get too much to take for my feeble body, but it felt great on most instances and I loved the pampering my body was receiving. This is the moment I realised the masseur is well-trained and knows her job.

She made sure I felt super comfortable and did her job exceptionally well. The massage was so relaxing, I was always kneaded into a sleep. If it wasn't for my soft snores, no one would know that happened. But when I was done with the good 90 minutes massage, my body and mind felt relaxed and rejuvenated –  exactly what I went there for in the first place. We gladly accepted another cup of tea while we waited for our cab to pick us up, while the friendly lady at the reception enquired about our experience and we told her how good we felt.

I loved my experience at Jiva spa and would recommend this to everyone else who’s looking for something of this sort. The duration and price of their treatments vary according to the techniques and oils used. For example, the Ventoz is priced at Rs 5100 + taxes, the body scrubs and wraps are priced at Rs 2250 + taxes, yoga and meditation sessions are priced at Rs 500 + taxes to Rs 2000 + taxes and the Indian therapies and aromatheraphies are priced somewhere between Rs 2250 + taxes to Rs 4500 + taxes. A prior booking is advisable. You can click here to book an appointment and check out theirwebsite for a list of treatments and therapies. Enjoy! 

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