A Four-Handed Spa Symphony in Mexico

If two hands are good, four must be divine, or so I thought as I decided to try the Four hands Samunprai Massage at the spa at the Five Diamond Grand Velas resort just north of Puerta Vallarta.

The spa is a member of the Leading Spas of the World and winner of Conde Nast’s “Most Excellent Spa Hotel” Award.  With over 60 treatments offered there is something on the menu to fit everyone’s wellness taste.

The spa is known for its hydrotherapy ritual and guests are advised to come an hour before their scheduled treatment to “take the waters”.  Like the rest of the Grand Velas property, service reigns supreme at the spa, almost to the point where it becomes too much.  Upon check in, I’m ushered to a seat near some soothing water features to fill out the paperwork and drink herbal infused water. 

Get ready for the hydrotherapy ritual at Grand Velas Spa

A spa attendant takes me into the locker room and appears to be my personal spa butler.  I want to poke around the space and take in the hydrotherapy offerings at my own pace, but I can’t shake this well-intentioned young lady.  Thankfully, I do manage to communicate that I don’t want to participate in the cold deluge and walk over to the jetted tub which she sets up for me.  From there I move to the jetted tub for my feet and lower legs and then the sauna and steam.  Before my treatment I’m lounging in a chaise drinking the best tasting infused water (pineapple cucumber and carrots of all things) I’ve ever tasted.  Several minutes before the treatment starts my spa butler wraps a pillow around my neck and covers my eyes with an eye pillow.  I really liked this as it sets the tone for the indulgent relaxation that any massage should offer.

Finally it’s time for the main act.  The spa’s interest in rituals continues as one therapist leads me through a blessing and an intention to remain in the present before the massage begins.  The four hands is conducted by two therapists acting in tandem and using heated, herbal Samunprai poultices to attempt to ease the many assorted knots that dot the landscape of my back.  The treatment is based on Thai techniques and dates back to the 14thcentury. The poultices are filled with aromatic herbs like lemongrass, ginger, turmeric and more.  The massage is very soothing and puts me in that state of not asleep and not awake.  The two therapists feel like they’re playing a symphony over my body, although I wish they were both applying the same amount of pressure.

After the treatment I’m in that blissful relaxed state and since I’m at a resort in Mexico the only pressing decision is the next part of my day lunch or sitting by the pool!

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