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The Dheva Spa and Wellness Centre - Review

Celestial Beings and Secrets to Healing

by Evelyn Chen

Karmic rebirth in the Lanna Kingdom

Dheva is Sanskrit for "celestial beings." And The Dheva Spa and Wellness Centre at the The Dhara Dhevi in Chiang Mai feels like it was built to cater to the gods. A grand resort providing special Ayurvedic treatments and spa therapies, this lavish sanctuary was modeled after a Mandalay palace. At 3,100 square meters, the majestic Dheva Spa is currently unrivalled in scale throughout Asia. Needless to say, its intricate golden teakwood architecture, ornate moldings, sculptures and symbolic Buddhist motifs also make it an architectural icon in the spa world. With a highly experienced husband-and-wife team of doctors (Dr. Rajeev and Dr. Suchada Marwah) directing the spa, the Ayurvedic Centre and — in the near future — an academy, the Dheva Spa is set to compete with the Chiva-Soms of the world for a share of the wellness pie.

A flight of white marble steps takes you to the spa’s white marble courtyard and a Thai-style sala, which stands under a seven-tiered teak roof symbolizing the seven steps to nirvana. Don’t be surprised to be asked very personal questions on a form about bodily functions and diet, sleep patterns and bowel movements. It's all part of an Ayurvedic diagnostic session.

Spa room

We were deemed a "vata" body type (made up of air and fire), and to see improvement with insomnia and dry skin, Dr. Suchada recommended refraining from cold milk and coffee. After that, Dr. Suchada prescribed a series of spa and Ayurvedic treatments beginning with a fifteen-minute hamman steam bath with Alaska mint. Thereafter followed the Oriental Body Glow treatment in a room with a heated marble tabletop. The paste consisting of sesame seed, lavender, mint leaf and honey is totally gentle, unlike some harsher scrubs we have experienced. The paste is rinsed off in a rain mist shower room. Interestingly, the pressure emitted by the gigantic showerheads above gave the sensation more like a storm than rain mist, but it worked its magic in removing the paste from the body in no time.

Between treatments, you can sip refreshments in the teakwood spa pavilion, such as an aromatic ginger and fruit tea served with delicious green tea biscuits. While enjoying the hot beverage, the therapist performed a soothing Foot Ritual — this is said to be a traditional Thai practice to show respect and to offer a warm welcome to guests. The 100-minute Abhyanga massage on a traditional Thai bed is also highly personalized. Dr. Suchada had instructed the therapist to use a softer touch due to our "vata" constitution, and the therapist did just that. Abhyanga is a deeply relaxing warmed oil massage using rhythmic, gentle but firm strokes. As we lay almost comatose in the dimly lit room, a male therapist swept into the room for the last treatment, hand reflexology.

At the end of the session, four hours had gone by. We felt completely re-energized. More importantly, we gained Ayurvedic insight on the permanent lifestyle changes we could make to enhance quality of life. And yes, we will give a serious thought to eliminating coffee and cold milk from our diet.

See also: Best Spas in Thailand

The Dheva Spa and Wellness Centre
The Dhara Dhevi
51/4 Chiang Mai
Sankampaeng Rd. Moo 1
T. Tasala A. Muang
Chiang Mai 50000 Thailand
66 53 888 888

Travel Information
SilkAir flies four times a week to Chiang Mai from Singapore.

(Updated: 09/03/13 CT)

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