Java It only took two hours from the time a friend and I landed in Jakarta, Java, to find a massage. That massage, according to the eager therapists at the spa on which we imposed ourselves at 8 p.m., needed to be a mandi lulur. Five minutes later, behind and separated by table-cloth gold curtains, my friend whisper-yelled from his side, “What the hell is going to happen?” And then, “How naked do I get?!” This was our training for the rest of the trip’s massages. What happens during a mandi lulur is this: a scrub and mask made minutes before from fresh ginger, clove, rice flour, cinnamon, tumeric, sandlewood, ground coconuts and nuts usually displayed in wooden bowls, followed by a proper massage with some of the purest oils on earth, a shower or bath, then the biggest threat to the American mind – extended relaxation – with tea, napping, lounging. […]

Indonesia 2017-04-16T05:10:34+00:00

Asbury Park, NJ

Saturday. Rainy. October at the culture-dry Jersey Shore. Recovering from an early flu. It’s massage time. Tao Massage, originally in Wannamassa, opened TAO in Asbury Park in the summer of 2014. Director Vivian Taormina is known on the local scene as one of the most proficient Ashiatsu Oriental Bar therapists and each room is set up to let her and other therapists give that awesome foot-administered therapy to you. But at TAO, a small staff of talented therapists go beyond Ashiatsu and massage. Sauna, flotation, Chinese cupping, skin care, are all currently offered. […]

Asbury Park, NJ 2015-10-27T03:11:15+00:00

Mysore, India

Ayurveda is more well known than ever, thanks to the yuppified indoctrination of yoga bringing attention to Indian culture, the elegant intelligence of Dr. Deepak Chopra and Dr. Vasant Lad, and the ultra-positive and funny Dr. John Douillard. Far fewer Westerners are still confusing dosha with dosa. Talk of chakras, the concept of vata, pitta, or kapha body types, and oil pulling have made the rounds of conversation among naturalists and lunching ladies. A place to get to know it even better is Indus Valley Treatment Center in Mysore, India. A full retreat center, located above the buzz and blur of central Mysore's markets and crowds, every Ayurvedic treatment is available here. To enjoy them, you best be oil-friendly. Any given treatment uses enough herb-infused oil to declare a personal slick; on your skin, in your hair, up your nose, in your ears and occasionally other orifices (another post). Ayurveda, meaning “the science of life” is, like Chinese medicine, based on the body's energy flow. However, instead of using acupressure's staccato thumb pressure to stimulate chi along the meridians, Ayurveda is a fluid, flow of medium-pressure techniques focusing on the lymphatic system and regulating prana (chi) through marma [...]

Mysore, India 2015-10-22T05:05:23+00:00