Shivago Thai Clinic
After a month of debauchery, Anna Millar discovers some Eastern flavour is just what the doctor ordered
Mental note to self: stop channelling Gwyneth. As a glass cup is set alight, blown out then placed on my back, things at the Shivago Thai Clinic, off Edinburgh's High Street, are feeling decidedly un-Hollywood. Indeed, as the foreign contraption comes towards me, Ms Paltrow, Madonna et al, have a lot to answer for.
Within moments though, any fear is gone, as a slight pull on the back is replaced by a feeling of complete detoxification. My back may have come up in four large circular red marks by the time my ten-minute treatment is over, but this is merely a sign that the blood cleansing treatment is doing its job, or so traditional Thai therapist Kei Ngu assures me.
My first foray into this latest celebrity fad has followed a range of Thai therapies courtesy of this refreshingly authentic new clinic. Following practices begun in Thailand over 2500 years ago, Shivago strips back the pomp of the more humdrum gym massage experience. Naff panpipes are mercifully absent, as visitors are invited into airy rooms filled with traditional Thai ornamentation; while a thin red mattress on the floor affords a baggy pair of Aladdin-style trousers to change into. The treatments that follow are individually created to help prevent stress-related ailments, such as muscle pain, stiffness, headache, joint pain, tiredness and low energy.
The Thai foot massage puts any previous reflexology experiences to shame, as a therapist works first on the feet before working her way up to pummel the inner thigh area with her toes. Later, a hot Thai herbal compress, used over the clothes, helps gently eek out any festive stresses before some impressive stretching and breathing exercises complete the experience.
A home-made tea adds a suitably familial end to proceedings and I leave with my chi suitably intact.
Shivago Thai Clinic, Buddafield, 25 Blackfriars Street, Edinburgh, 07878 256 174.