Oriental Awakening at the Mandarin Oriental Barcelona

A combination of traditional Chinese medicine and aromatherapy to cure aching muscles. Friday, 3 May 2013

By Maria Pieri

A combination of traditional Chinese medicine and aromatherapy to cure aching muscles.

I'm a typical time-poor, office-based worker who spends too much time in front of a computer screen – and my aches are only made worse by the heavy shoulder bag I tend to carry.

I signed up to the Oriental Awakening signature treatment at the Mandarin Oriental Barcelona hoping not just to release some tension in my back, but to get a bit of me-time too. The treatment's grounded in traditional Chinese medicine and aromatherapy, consisting of a full body massage with a lavender-based oil – one of the three oils I was asked to choose – good for releasing tension and stress.

The therapist concentrated on my shoulders and back first; I lay face down as a bowl of what smelled like lavender and menthol was placed under the massage table. A heat pad was placed on my back while she worked on my legs, before moving to my front. Throughout the experience, she checked the pressure suited me and that I was comfortable.

Usually I make a point of asking not to have my stomach done, but this time I went with it. And it was worth the risk, as my therapist was a master at massaging the area without making me feel like I needed the toilet.
Moving on to my shoulders and head, she said I felt ‘very tight but with good muscle tone'. Luckily I had no other major areas of tension, but I was advised to stretch more.

As the treatment came to an end, I headed out to the relaxation area for jasmine tea and fruit kebabs, and was given a little card with my treatment details.

Internally the spa's been designed to ensure privacy is paramount, with a series of opaque glass doors, muted woody colours and lighting. The design outwitted the lady ahead of me, almost stumbling into the men's changing room, but enabled me to follow her lead and find my way back.

Treatments from € 240 (£205) for 1h50m. Passeig de Gracia, 38-40, Barcelona 08007, Spain. www.mandarinoriental.com

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