We explore the best massage rituals from across the globe

Every type of massage offers a different cultural, historical and sometimes even spiritual experience. Here's what team Grazia made of the treatments...
We explore the best massage rituals from across the globe

Sarah Rose Huggins
Content Editor

The Moroccan spa experience begins before you even enter the treatment room at The One&Only Royal Mirage. In the changing rooms, I was invited to abandon my city clothes (and woes!) and wrap up in a crisp cotton robe and hair wrap before being led to the heart of the cool, tiled hammam. This beautiful chamber, complete with azure plunge pool, served as a relaxation area before and after my treatment. The massage itself took place on a traditional stone tablet topped with soft bed and scattering of rose petals. Using orange blossom oil that left my skin soft and scented for hours (even after a shower!), the treatment began by easing tension in my feet, before working up the body, clicking out knots along the way. The therapist spent a considerable amount of time working on my back, easing tightness with rippling waves of firm pressure – absolute heaven for post-workout soreness and aches. With every limb suitably soothed, I was served fresh mint tea from a traditional silver teapot and sweet, sticky dates before emerging into the sunshine renewed and restored. 

• Moroccan Oriental Massage Dhs500 for 50 minutes at The One&Only Royal Mirage Dubai. Call +971 (0) 4 315 2140

Olivia Adams
Features Editor 
There feels no better place for a Thai massage than at Anantara, as the resort is rooted in the beautiful country of Thailand (hello, picturesque pool lagoons). The traditional Thai Massage is 90 minutes of technique passed down through the generations. And the purpose? To alleviate stresses and strains through stretching and flexibility. This is why the massage is also known as passive yoga, since rather than rub muscles, the body is pulled. Proceedings kicked off (pun intended) with a Floral Foot Ritual. Your feet are washed in a basin filled with rose petals and gently exfoliated with lemongrass salt. Lovely. Next, you lie on the traditional Thai massage bed, designed to be very close to the floor, dressed in loose, pyjama-like clothing and experience the superbly trained therapist using the weight of her body to move yours into various positions. Our tip? Try and relax; she knows what she’s doing. I left feeling a little battered but also surprisingly energised – the ginger tea served at the end helped, too. Oh, and while you’re there, make use of the spa facilities – the crystal and gemstone steam room is amazing.
• Traditional Thai Massage Dhs785  for 90 minutes at Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort. Call +971 (0) 4 567 8888

Alison tay
Editor in Chief

While the white sands of Waikiki may currently elude me, the Lomi Lomi massage at Four Seasons Dubai was only a Careem ride away down Jumeirah Beach Road. Pearl Spa is influencer’s dream, complete with an outdoor hammock and rattan chairs just begging to be Instagrammed. Having the run of  the spa, my first stop was the Experiential Shower – hello, Caribbean storm! – before a stretch in the shimmering gold steam room and a dip in the Jacuzzi. Having picked my preferred music option from a selection of Asian fusion, nature sounds and instrumental, and daring to go à la carte with my massage oil, choosing coconut oil over the quartet of jasmine- and geranium-infused offerings laced with almond and hazelnut presented to me, it was time to say aloha to the treatment.  The Lomi Lomi – aka Loving Hands – massage is characterised by its long, flowing elegant strokes that sweep uninterrupted from the soles of the feet up your body to the tips of your fingers. It’s also known for its healing properties and helps release any limiting patterns and behaviours your body may be clinging onto, and which could give rise to muscular tension. Same time next week, please?

• Lomi Lomi massage Dhs655 for 60 minutes at The Pearl Spa at Four Seasons Dubai. Call +971 (0) 4 270 7777

Olivia Phillips
Digital Editor

In a city overrun with spas, it takes something extraordinary to take you from jaded to jaw-on-the-floor. That’s something that Talise Ottoman Spa is happy to oblige with, not only being the largest spa in the Middle East but also one of the most elegantly finished, with wafting drapes, day beds, piles of dried apricots and a labyrinthine layout peppered with plunge pools and a snow room. Good for the pores, apparently. I circumnavigated that and was directed to the Royal Majlis, where I lay down on the heated marble goebektas before being washed with jugs of hot water. More relaxing than it sounds. My excellent therapist Ghizlan then used Turkish soap and a kese mitt for a thorough, full-body exfoliation. I was then covered in a cloud of suds and given a foam massage. Just as relaxing as it sounds. My hair was shampooed, scalp massaged and I was taken by hand into a little alcove and enveloped in a homemade honey and lavender body mask. There’s a reason people have been doing this ritual for centuries.

• Royal Ottoman Hammam Dhs635 for 60 minutes at Talise Ottoman Spa, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray. Call +971 (0) 4 453 0456
Photos: iStock