For those spa-goers who are tired of Japanese sand baths and who contemplate Moroccan mud body wraps or Javanese exfoliating scrubs with a jaded sigh, there is now the Himalayan Tsangpo Ritual. The latest curiosity to emerge from the world apothecarium is based on sowa rigpa, or Tibetan traditional medicine, and is available at the Chi spas in the Edsa Shangri-La, Manila, and the Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok. It will also be introduced to spas at the chain's upcoming properties in the Maldives, New York City, Paris, and Boracay in the Philippines.
Beneficiaries of this procedure are first scrubbed with salt crystals gathered by nomads from the ancient dry beds of the Tethys Sea, located on the Tibetan Plateau at 15,000 feet (4,500 m). The salt is mixed with high-altitude herbs like spikenard that apparently calm the senses. After the scrub comes a slathering of Himalayan mountain mud containing fulvic acids. Known as silagit, it has been used for centuries as an anti-inflammatory agent and to improve circulation. The treatment is completed with a bath and either a head-and-shoulder massage (in Manila) or a full-body massage (in Bangkok). Massages are done to the sound of singing bowls the standing bells common in Buddhist meditation.
The Himalayan Tsangpo Ritual will set you back $130 for two hours at the Edsa Shangri-La, Manila, (63-2) 633 8888. At the Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok, (66-2) 236 7777, the treatment costs just over $230.