At a spa, a simple ayurvedic facial is anything but simple. It begins with a short consultation with a therapist who identifies your 'dosha' or mind-body constitution, following which warm stones are placed on your heart and solar plexus to stimulate the third and fourth chakras.
Next, the therapist asks you to breathe deeply using a dosha-specific mantra. For example, people with tired bodies are asked to imagine every breath they inhale as being fiery red and invigorating and each one they exhale as brown releases of stagnant energy.
All the cleansing, exfoliation and extractions, interspersed with soothing neck, shoulder, and arm massages are done using ayurvedic products specifically targeting that dosha. "As the creams and serums sink into your skin and you begin to feel at ease, we play traditional calming mantras in Sanskrit to induce a profound deep sense of relaxation," said Dr Vijaya Varshney, spa manager and ayurvedic consultant at Three Graces located in a quiet corner in Vasant Lok.
"We want our clients to experience complete calm when they walk in. As soon as one enters this space, we want them to forget about the outside world and concentrate only on themselves," she said.
Packed schedules, a never ending to-do list and the daily grind leave us with no time to do what we like to do best - relax. With the festive season just around the corner, most neighbourhood spas are packed to capacity with people booking their appointments for their favourite therapies and beauty treatments to experience a couple of hours of sheer bliss.
Day spas dotting the capital have reinvented themselves to create a perfect synthesis between the ayurvedic detox tradition and modern technologies. While most offer customised menus to meet individual needs - to destress, detoxify, relax, lose weight or get beauty fixes - some also offer nutrition and exercise guidance.
Almost all offer a perfect blend of luxury and relaxation. "All our therapies, treatments and facilities are geared towards providing a complete mind-body experience," said Dr Arihant Surana, dermatologist and chief of Medi-Spa at Asian Roots in Safdarjung Enclave. "With the wedding season just a fortnight away, most of our clients are women who want to look pretty and ask for immediate result-oriented treatments. Most men come for hair transplantation," he said.
"Spa and beauty treatments are like an addiction. When one looks good and feels relaxed, one wants to keep coming over and over," said Dr Simal Soin, medical director, Three Graces.
"Most young girls walk in for quick fix solutions for glowing skin, fuller lips, tighter skin on the stomach and buttock areas. Although miracles don't happen, beauty treatments that take no more than five to 30 minutes can make a difference," she said.
Though some treatments burn deep holes in the pocket, but many think it is worth it. "Just like spending on food and clothes is worth it, so is this expenditure is on mind, body and soul," said Kriti Agnihotri, 36, who works for a Knowledge Process Outsourcing centre in Noida.
Agnihotri is a weekly visitor of Kerela Ayurveda wellness centre in Green Park. "I prefer the traditional ayurvedic massage on the pati - a bed made of teak wood - as it helps me get rid of fatigue I have acquire through long hours at work," she says.
"Most working women and men -- especially over 30 and above - prefer ayurvedic massages, but the young 20-somethings prefer the Swedish and Balinese massages that place emphasis on aromas," said Dr Varshney.
Depending on the location and the brand of the centre, most treatments-including facials and peels to massages and foot spas are priced between Rs 1,500 and Rs 5,000 for each session.