On my recent trip to HCMC over the Christmas week, I went over to Aveda Herbal located in District 2 of Saigon (the old name and the one that locals use for the city) for some pampering and relaxation.
Aveda Herbal Spa was started by Poonam Bhartwal about five years ago. Resident of Ho Chi Minh City for close to seventeen years now, Poonam felt that an Indian Ayurveda spa was conspicuous by its absence in the city which offers a wide variety of wellness treatments even other than the Vietnamese, such as Thai, Japanese and Pilipino treatments.
Natural inclination towards wellness and healing and ample encouragement by friends and family prompted Poonam to launch her spa about five years back. I was recommended Aveda Herbal spa by a close friend who used to live in HCMC and I booked myself for half a day in the spa during a five day city break before Christmas.
The treatments at Aveda Herbal spa are preceded by a body assessment that directs the spa to mix the oils for the massage as per the Ayurvedic body type. I already knew my body type so we headed straight to the head massage room for for a 60 minutes session of champi.
Champi or Champissage
Champi or champissage is the Indian head massage based on alternative medicine principle that is associated with energy flow or chakras. (I just call it an act of kindness to self. I gets you feeling lighter and ready for a good sleep.)
Dimly lit room, calming music and soft soothing aromas created an ambience where I could totally relax. The masseur placed a warm neck collar filled with Ayurvedic herbs and Himalayan salts over my neck at the start of the massage. This provided the added sensorial comforting feeling through out the head massage.
I enjoyed her firm and rhythmic hand movement over on my scalp. After the massage, she placed a hairsteamer to let the oils penetrate deeper into the scalp while she gave me a quick arms massage.
Already in a stuporous state after this ‘heady’ massage, I was taken to the Ayurveda room for the Abhyangam.
Abhyangam Body Massage
Also known as marma massage, Abhyangam works on the chakras (108 points) which are the energy points of our body. Poonam, the founder of the spa has improvised the traditional Abhyangam to cater to the larger international community in Saigon. For instance, the massage bed is a comfortable cushioned massage one as compared to the bare wooden bed used in a traditional Abhyangam.
The massage started with inhalation of oils. I was blinded by a cotton scarf and the four hands massage began. Two masseurs working synchronously on my body, making me inhale different aromas at different points during the ninety minutes massage, left my body and mind feeling so much more centred and still.
After the massage, a steam chair was ready for me with the aroma of fresh Ayurvedic herbs. I simply patted myself dry after the steam session so as to retain the goodness of oils for a while longer on my body and headed to the shampoo station to wash my hair.
In a simple act of shampooing as well, one can feel the personal touch that Poonam has added in her spa. Chilled cucumber shavings were placed on my face during shampoo and a quick face massage was given during the wait time for conditioner.
Refreshed, rejuvenated and feeling much more settled after my half a day at Aveda Herbal spa, I hailed a cab and left ready to join the dizzying pace of this very interesting city.
To drop in at Aveda Herbal Spa in your next HCMC visit, find them here : Villa 1, Hem 21, 21 Xuan Thuy Street, Thao Dien Ward, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Tel +84 8 35194679 Hotline +84 989031716, 906977110 Whatsapp/Viber +84 989031716