Ancient beauty ritual the new word in relaxation

The ayurveda treatment at One Spa. Picture: Contributed
The ayurveda treatment at One Spa. Picture: Contributed
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ACCORDING to the people at One Spa, ayurveda is the beauty buzz word for 2013.

This seems slightly ironic, considering that this Indian holistic medical system has been around for about 3,500 years.

However, media company SpaFinder Wellness have indeed named it as one of this year’s top ten trends.

At Edinburgh’s One Spa, you can choose from a menu of ayurvedic treatments, or you can simply invest in “time”. The latter allows you to be instinctive about what you want at that moment.

I was booked in for three hours of the latter, but arrived two hours early, in order to prime myself in the outdoor Jacuzzi, hammam and other heat experiences. I also needed to factor in lunch in the Spa Cafe, where I scoffed one of their Superfood Bento Boxes, which featured salmon, pumpkin seed and pomegranate salad, and other healthy nibbles, although I let myself down with a delicious chocolate orange pannacotta. Well, orange is a fruit.

As my treatment time approached, I already felt as if my stress levels had plummeted, which made my therapist’s job slightly easier.

Although they don’t diagnose one’s dosha (a traditional part of ayurvedic medicine), she did ask me questions about my lifestyle and beauty routine. I explained that my skin was parched and I was recovering from a cold, so she suggested their two-hour-long Ama Releasing Abhyanga, as well as an Express Facial.

After my feet had been bathed, I was scrubbed all over with a warm and oily exfoliant, before rinsing this off in the shower.

Then – while birdsong, babbling streams and chanting sounds played on the stereo – I collapsed onto the treatment bed, happy that I wouldn’t have to move for a couple of hours. It didn’t take long before I was in a Zen-like trance.

As part of the facial, my face was sloughed, rubbed and moisturised.

Then it was on to the full body rub-down, and there are some heavenly moves in this experience. For example, have you every had someone cup your head in their hands, then stretch your neck up and forwards? No? Well, it feels incredible.

Also, who knew that someone gently rubbing on your joints, as if they were trying to conjure a spark, could make you go “ooh”.

My therapist massaged my back with her elbows, stimulated marma points (energy pathways, according to ayurvedic medicine), stretched my limbs and used twisting finger movements in my hair (while performing an invigorating scalp massage), all using bucketfuls of ESPA oils.

Afterwards, I was decanted into the relaxation room, with a cup of cardamom-scented tea.

I felt a bit like a jigsaw that had been disassembled, then put back together again.

This ayurveda business could really catch on.

• The TIME Spa Day includes three hours of personalised spa treatment time, access to Escape at One and a light lunch at One Spa Café. One Spa, 8 Conference Square, Edinburgh (0131-221 7777,