Want to drive away your stress? Beauty parlours and massage centres are fast turning out to be a haven for harried people
THERE USED to be a time when anyone emerging out of a beauty parlour had a bright, cherry-red smile pasted on her lips, rouged cheeks, eyebrows that arched like bows and spray-set hair with not a strand out of place.
Not any more.
Now, you're more likely to see women and men stepping out of parlours with a freshly scrubbed look and contentment on their face that comes from an hour or more of pampering treatment.
Gradually, there is a change in the way people perceive beauty parlours. From places that gave people an image makeover, they have graduated into comfort corners where you shut off from the rest of the world and soak in the pleasure as your aching muscles are slowly kneaded back into life.
Take a body massage. As a trained attendant works her fingers around your pressure points with warm oil, starting from the scalp, you feel all the stress draining away. The little butterfly strokes help stimulate nerve endings and pep you up. Finally, it's time to sweat it out in the steam room or take a languorous hot water bath.
At the end of your 90 minutes, you're all ready to take on the world, head-on.
"So many middle-aged executives walk in through our doors to take a break. Their cell phones are switched off and they come to spend time on themselves," says Dr. Manveen Kaur, consultant dermatologist, VLCC (Ph: 5397722/33). They choose to surrender to the pleasures of a manicure, pedicure, body or head massage (using coconut, olive or aroma oils).
"We see more and more young people coming in to de-stress. Not as many doctors or engineers, but more of people into business or in the field of commerce. They can afford to take the time off to recharge their batteries," she adds.
Lakshmi Manoharan of Vikashni Beauty Parlour (Ph: 2233032) in Gandhipuram says more and more people are looking pre-occupied and want to relax themselves away from home and office. "Harried executives and housewives usually opt for our three-hour skin and hair regimen which comprises a range of treatments, including an extensive massage session using vegetable and essential oils," she adds.
The combination of oils is decided based on the skin type and constitution of an individual.
Not just beauty parlours. People are also flocking to ayurvedic centres for their psychological well-being. If aroma oils are the USP of beauty parlours, these centres fall back on time-tested herbal oils. At the Arya Vaidya Pharmacy (AVP) (Ph: 2313188, 2214693), those new to the world of stress can opt for the abhyangam treatment, which comprises an hour-long massage using a custom mix of herbal oils and a hot bath. Those suffering from chronic stress have to go in for a more systemised treatment, which will help diffuse tension, says Dr. K. G. Raveendran, Medical Director, AVP. His advice to those coming in for a massage - preferably come on an empty stomach.
At Sri Krishna Ayurvedic Pvt Ltd (Ph: 2217161) on Race Course, the attendants use branded herbal oils from Kerala to knead out the stress from your body. Manager Sadanand says that almost 60 per cent of their clientele are people in their 30s and 40s who are bogged down by work.
Shailaja, who works for an MNC, vouches for the efficacy of these facials and body massages. "I lead a really stress-filled life through the week. On Sundays, I entrust my kids to my husband and take off to my parlour or to one of the ayurveda centres. The hour or two that I spend there gives me the strength to carry on the entire week," she states.
What they cost
Pedicure - Rs. 150 onwards
Manicure - Rs. 120 onwards
De-stress package - Rs. 1,000 - 1,500
Body massage - Rs. 300 onwards (depending on oil used)
SUBHA J RAO
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