Getting my energy flowing at Chi Spa, Bangkok edition

Jeepney Jinggoy

AS MUCH as I would like to enjoy every bite and slowly savor the flavors of the exquisite Thai cuisine served before me at Salathip in Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok, it can't happen. Dinner had to be light and quick for good reason-I was booked an appointment at Chi, The Spa.

It was during the hotel tour that the offer to sample the spa's services was presented, and I never decline such a gracious proposal, especially if it came from a reputable spa such as Chi.

Chi, The Spa is a Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts brand. Here, the theory of "chi," the universal life force that governs well-being and personal vitality in traditional Chinese philosophy, is incorporated into the Western spa massage to promote wellness. To be well, "chi" must flow freely around the body.

I had the opportunity to experience the luxury of Chi signature massages distinctive and exclusive to the city. One was at the 40th floor of the Shangri-La's Far Eastern Plaza Hotel tower in Taipei (where it's spelled as "Qi") and another at the sprawling spa village of Shangri-La's Mactan, Cebu. Though each spa presented a different technique, both extended the same energizing and relaxing result.

In Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok, Chi, The Spa is a two-level oasis in the Krungthep Wing overlooking the tropical garden of the hotel. The lower floor holds a common room designated for "lighter treatments" while at the upper floor, the private rooms for extensive therapies.

The spa's menu treatments are categorized under Facial, Massages (which includes the traditional Thai massage), Extra Luxury Treatments (baths and detoxification), Body Pampering (body scrubs and wraps) and Retreats (a combination of various treatments that extends to 120 minutes).

Like the spa required, I arrived 15 minutes before the therapy time. This allowed the spa to offer refreshment, gather personal information, present the menu and oils for selection and prepare for the actual treatment.

Like I always do, I go for the recommended therapy. In this branch of Chi, it was the Siamese Massage. It's a blend of Thai and Western oil massage techniques to promote relaxation and improve one's sense of well-being and physical flexibility. Using aromatherapy oils, the massage works deeply into the muscles to release tension with palm pressing and stretching techniques.

After the spa necessities, I was ushered to a large, dimly lit room with a large Jacuzzi bath, shower and changing area, king-sized mattress set low on the ground and two massage tables. It was designed for Retreat treatments for couples. No, I was alone and I had the entire facility all to myself.

Why is it that minutes into the firm flowing strokes of my therapy I enter Lala Land?

I was told that sleep is the best compliment any therapy can receive. Why? Because it shows that they succeeded in getting the client to relax.

After 60 minutes, the therapy must have aided in getting my chi flowing as I was energized yet relaxed.

Back in my luxurious corner room at the 20th floor, the comfort of bed was enticing but I wasn't ready to turn it just yet. I went up to the Horizon Club Lounge to enjoy a drink while watching the late night river life pass by.

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