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Japanese beauty

The Okura Spa celebrates the camellia with an exclusive package

Above  Pomegranate body scrub, tsubaki oil and bamboo rods used in the spa package.

The Camellia japonica, or tsubaki in Japanese, is a majestic flower, famous for blooming in winter. Found throughout East Asia, it is perhaps most revered on the volcanic island of Izu Oshima in Tokyo prefecture, whose biggest event of the year is the Tsubaki Festival.

The festival runs until March 24, and The Okura Prestige Bangkok is taking the opportunity to celebrate the beauty of the camellia with a package at The Okura Spa, available until the end of March.

The Ruby Rejuvenation package combines a body scrub with a massage involving tsubaki oil for a two-hour pampering (4,200++ baht). The ruby refers to pomegranate, whose extract, along with apricot seeds, are key ingredients in the body scrub, used to exfoliate the skin for 30 minutes. Hailed as a superfood, pomegranate -- rich in vitamin C and antioxidants -- helps combat free radicals as well as brighten the skin. The exfoliating effects of the fine apricot seeds further remove dead cells to restore skin radiance.

The body scrub is rather sticky and needs to be completely washed off in the shower before jumping back on the treatment bed to experience the body massage with tsubaki oil. Pressed from camellia seeds, the multipurpose oil has long been used by the Japanese, from head to toe, for healthy hair, scalp, skin and nails.

This beauty ritual with tsubaki oil is said to have started in Izu Oshima, where women were known to have beautiful tresses and radiant skin. It then became a beauty secret among geisha and a hair tonic for Sumo wrestlers. Its benefits are now backed up by scientific studies: analysis of the composition shows a favourable fatty acid profile, particularly a high concentration of oleic acid that contributes to its oxidative stability. Moreover, a component similar to that found in human sebum enables quick absorption of the oil into the skin to deliver phytonutrients.

The second part of the Ruby Rejuvenation package, the 90-minute body massage, involves manual techniques in rubbing the soothing tsubaki oil onto the skin and heated bamboo rods to perform the Ta-Ke Relief massage. The bamboo rods are rolled and pressed down on stiff parts of the body to improve blood circulation and relax muscles through the combination of heat and pressure. The relaxing kneading movements may make you fall asleep, with the therapist having to wake you up at the end of the treatment.

The Ruby Rejuvenation package is available until March 31. This is in sync with nature, as whole blossoms fall off the camellia plant at this time, which, in Japan, is seen as symbolic of a beheading and noble death. Then, in April, Japan's landscape will turn pink with cherry blossoms. Likewise, at The Okura Spa, a sakura-inspired package will be the next attraction, available from April till June.

Ta-Ke Relief massage.

  • The Okura Spa is located on the 25th floor of The Okura Prestige Bangkok, Park Ventures Ecoplex on Wireless Road.
  • For information, call 02-687-9000 or email spa@okurabangkok.com

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