By Kupluthai Pungkanon
The Nation Weekend
THE JAPANESE have been enjoying communal bathing at the local onsen since ancient times, but the benefits accrued are just beginning to be appreciated in Thailand.
There are healing properties in the water and, after all, anytime you go for a dip – whether it’s swimming a robust few laps or having a leisurely paddle – the muscles and blood circulation are stimulated.
And, if a therapist is on duty to give you a massage, that’s a major plus.
Panpuri Wellness, occupying 2,000 square metres on the 12th floor of Gaysorn Village in Bangkok, matches the authentic onsen experience. This is the latest outlet for a company that’s been operating spas around Thailand for years.
Noted interior-design firm A-Asterisk and architect Nobuhiro Nakamura set out to create a relaxing atmosphere right at the busy heart of the capital.
Panpuri is an elegant place to indulge in organic spa treatments, snack on natural food and beverages and focus on getting well and staying well. There are group activities on offer such as movement classes, meditation sessions and health talks.
Here you’ll find Bangkok’s most complete hydrothermal facilities and 12 treatment rooms, six of them made for couples and one that has five beds for clients wanting a traditional Thai massage.
There are two beautiful, spacious suites that include private onsens and double beds, designed for couples, families and small groups of friends. Elsewhere are a private lounge and areas to relax after your treatment.
There’s nothing better after a difficult day than unwinding with an onsen treatment. The 30-minute session costs Bt750 and features a soak in the mineral-rich waters of one of five pools (men and women are segregated).
Choose among the Kusatsu Onsen, Soda Bath, Vitality Pool, Cold Plunge Pool and Seasonal Onsen. They’re all rejuvenating and healthful, with the waters primed to fight bacteria, alleviate stress and muscle tension, promote restful sleep and replenish moisture in the skin and hair.
The recommended course is to visit the steam room between each dip in a different onsen pool.
Medical studies have attributed a wealth of goodness to hot-spring therapy, derived from the multiple minerals and other elements that help the body secrete its natural hormones and bring under control blood pressure, heart rate and blood sugar level.
Treatments typically leave you feeling healthier, with restored energy, for a few days or a week.
The original Kusatsu Onsen in Japan, after which one of Panpuri’s pools is named, has the dual benefits of high temperature and acidity.
For client safety, Panpuri Wellness uses an automated system to refill its pools, keep the water warm and circulating – and power-massage your back thanks to ingenious Japanese technology.
“Yoga Sleep” is one of the programmes available at the wellness studio.
Filtration takes place twice each hour, so the hot water is always clean. The chlorine concentration adheres to Public Health Ministry regulations, with staff testing hourly to make sure it stays between 0.5 and one part per million, so there’s no risk of skin damage.
Panpuri Wellness, which boasts 15 years’ experience in the business, developed its wellness programmes in collaboration with “healing guru” Dr Aaron Bullington, who is accredited in both Western and Eastern medicine and specialises in holistic health and mind-body healing.
With Panpuri he has designed a programme to enrich sleep, manage stress and fatigue and minimise the harmful effects of urban pollution.
The treatment begins with consultation and covers spa treatments, movement classes and onsen visits for a single day or three, five or seven days. The price ranges from Bt4,500 to Bt26,000.
Organic Rainbow Summer Roll
The “Signature Massage” (Bt3,500 for 90 minutes) blends classical Eastern acupressure and traditional Thai massage with Swedish massage. Long, flowing strokes mingle with deep compressions and gentle stretching to alleviate stress and fatigue and detoxify.
Afterwards, reward yourself with a trip to the wellness bar, whose dishes and drinks are made with all-natural, all-local ingredients. No dish has more than 600 calories and all are low in sodium and devoid of MSG.
Savoury Lotus Petal Wrap, to choose one example, is a generously sized appetiser of cashew nuts, young ginger, toasted coconut flakes, red onion, lime and Thai red chilli encased in lotus petals with Thai salad dressing.
For use at home, buy the award-winning “Lotus Defence” package of facial oil and cleansers, day and night cream, lip balms and more, each one gentle for all skin types. And grab an aromatic neck pillow while you’re |at it.
THIS WAY TO WELLNESS
>> Panpuri Wellness is on the 12th floor of Gaysorn Village and open daily from 10am to 11pm.
>> Book a visit at (02) 253 8899. Find out more at www.PanpuriWellness.com.