I’m going to write a full round up of my time at The Farm, along with my personal results shortly, but I’ve had a few queries about the treatments I had, and I thought I would do a round up here. The Healing Sanctuary is one of the main planks of The Farm’s philosophy: what it offers are not standard spa beauty treatments, but a carefully thought out complementary part of the holistic healing process. (Additionally I had acupuncture, colema and colonics under the care of the medical clinic there.)
Because I was on a set programme (the six day organic weight loss programme), my treatments were booked for me and I experienced the following:
Yin Yang Dry Brushing
My first appointment at The Sanctuary was for a skin brushing treatment using natural bristle brushes. It has a similar effect to that of massage, although, unlike massage, it is not intended to relax or soothe away tension. Instead it is used to stimulate the blood and lymph circulation, whilst sloughing off dry skin. (My therapist was very keen to show me all the dead skin she had removed.)
My brushing was followed immediately by the Kidney Cleansing. The treatment designates the skin as a “third kidney” and the body’s largest organ of detoxification to quickly and effectively remove toxins. An organic charcoal mixture is thickly applied with a paintbrush over the entire body and left for thirty minutes as a mask, before a shower to remove the goop, and a lovely soak in an open air hot bath laced with Filipino herbs for another thirty minutes.
The staff at the Sanctuary create these beautiful flower petal mandalas every morning:
(The entrance to two of the treatment rooms.)
I had two traditional Filipino healing treatments whilst I was at The Farm. The first was a ninety minute Hilot Massage. This is designed to stimulate the nerves, increase lung activity, and soothe the nervous system, as well as break up deposits found in the joints. This massage applies kneading and some stretching techniques, so feels similar to a traditional deep tissue massage.
The second Filipino treatment was one of The Farm’s core signature treatments, the Stimulating Skin Kayud & Barako Body Pack combination, which takes two hours. This treatment is designed to tackle the build up of toxins and waste in the lymph system and in the skin. It aims to improve circulation, stimulate the lymph glands, remove dead skin, attack cellulite and strengthen the immune system.
The treatment begins with skin kayud or scraping. Using two large mother of pearl shells, the therapist applies oil to each limb and then the trunk, before rhythmically scraping the entire body with the shells.
After the Skin Kayud, a Barako Coffee Scrub is massaged into the body. (This feels, smells and looks like coffee grounds.) This is also designed to stimulate circulation, and elimination of waste fluids. After about 15 minutes, the pack is rinsed off and a very hot soak in yet more coffee follows in the heavenly outdoor stone bath, in its own walled garden.
When you look up, all you can see is sky and palms.
Afterwards I was given a cup of ginger tea and a heat pad for my tummy, as I lounged around in the Sanctuary.
I started day two with a Detoxification Salt Bath, and had another on day four, where five kilos of salt is added to warm water in a deep stone bath. First your blood pressure is taken, then you get in the bath, and a very large banana leaf is placed over your body, to keep the heat in.
Then you spend thirty minutes soaking. I think you are supposed to meditate or relax, but I am utterly incapable of spending thirty minutes doing nothing, so I read a novel (Sarra Manning’s new one) on my iPhone instead, and felt extremely happy as a result.
After each Detoxification Salt Bath, I had a thirty minute session of Relaxology. This is The Farm’s combination of Reflexology and Acupressure Massage. The treatment is designed to relieve tension, improve circulation and promote balance holistically, and involves a thorough head and foot massage.
My penultimate treatment was a Thai massage, designed to stretch the body and clear its energy lines, which took place outdoors in a pavilion. Dressed in loose cotton trousers and a T shirt, my therapist turned me into a human pretzel, in what felt at times like a series of yoga poses.
My very last treatment was an Anti-Stress Facial, using aloe vera. This isn’t a facial per se, but a relaxing facial massage, with an aloe vera mask afterwards from the Farm’s garden, which both cools and soothes. Aloe Vera is believed to stimulate and activate the heart chakra allowing one to be insightfully sensitive to one’s own self and others. It also rejuvenates the skin, stimulates the nervous system and improves circulation when used topically.
One of the nicest things about The Farm is how cherished you are made to feel by the always charming staff and therapists. After every treatment a glass of hot water, infused with ginger and herbs from the garden appears at your side.
Sasha was a guest of The Farm at San Benito