A lovely afternoon at Mandarin Oriental Manila

If you've been following my tweets then you know that last week was an extremely stressful week for me. To be quite honest, I hate being busy. That's why I took the freelancer route but alas! Reality does not agree with my theories about it. That's why when I got an invite to try Mandarin Oriental Hotel's Thai massage last week, I couldn't wait for my appointment! I was sooo looking forward to a couple of hours just lying face down, eyes closed, my mind completely blank...you get the idea.

The Spa at Mandarin Oriental is currently hosting a renowned Thai masseuse based in their sister hotel in Dhara Devi, Chiang Mai. Aside from taking part in the Thai Festival, Treen Paleeriam is here to train the hotel's spa staff. He's only going to be here starting today (May 31) until June 7, so if you want to experience an authentic, world class Thai massage, you better book him!

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I was given the option of a Traditional Thai Massage or the indigenous Lanna Massage (natively called Tok Sen). The Tok Sen used to be popular in Northern Thailand, but has since been practiced rarely. Being the curious cat that I am, I went for the Tok Sen.

When I entered the room (discreetly placed on the second floor from The Spa's reception area), soft music was playing in the background, and there was a pleasant smell of ginger tea floating lazily in the air. Before the massage started, I was asked to clear my mind of all thoughts - I thought that was a little cheesy, but when I started to consciously relax my muscles, I realized that so many of them were tensed!

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The masseuse kneaded my muscles with warm oil, and then proceeded to tap them with a light gavel carved out of tamarind wood. The rhythm of the tapping has a hypnotic effect, and I felt that it released all the tension I've been bottling up in my body. The pressure brought by the tapping is diffused by a hot herbal compress called Luk Prakhob. The compress is lightly pressed on the skin, and while it was really hot (it's freshly steamed), I didn't feel any discomfort.

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Predictably, I was storing all the muscle stiffness in my neck and back. The masseuse correctly guessed that I am in front of the computer a lot, so the affected muscles got special - painful - attention. He used a technique wherein the stiff points are pressed hard with one finger, to get them to release the tension. Like I said, it was painful, but I definitely felt a lot better afterwards! Actually my body is bit sore right now, but I'm considerably less stressed and tired.

I believe that the Lanna Massage is for muscle treatment. If you're suffering from headaches, backaches, or just general stiffness due to too much work, you should treat yourself to this massage. It's not cheap at P3,800 (exclusive of taxes) for a 90-minute session, but aside from the truly healing massage, the luxurious, relaxing environment of the hotel plus the warm service makes it worth the price tag.

If you're interested in this service, you may check out this price list and call +632 750 0968 for booking and inquiries. The Lanna Massage is listed as "Path to Tranquility".