Contributed by: Nick Wang
As we entered the immaculate premises, we are greeted by the staff who promptly show us to the lockers to change. The dress code is white linen robes of course and we are taken to a private hot tub to soak while the masseuses get our rooms ready. There is also a cold tub for those so inclined. The tubs are made of marble and inviting as I quickly slide in to soak and begin my relaxing journey.
After enjoying the massaging jets and the serenity surrounding me, our massages are ready. We take a short walk to the massage rooms and the masseuses offer us different scents to enjoy during the massage. I chose eucalyptus and we immediately lay down to begin the service. The massage was so relaxing we ended up both falling asleep in their capable hands. Little did we know we were about to embark on an existential journey.
After our relaxing massage and nap, we go outside and to our surprise we are greeted with a Aztec production that would make Mel Gibson proud. Our senses are inundated with burning incense, a beating drum and a smoky adobe hut in front of us. As we approach the Aztec ritual, a shaman appears from the smoky hole and begins chanting in Spanish. We are told to spread like crosses and close our eyes as she blesses us before we begin our journey.
This ritual is called Temazcal meaning ‘house where you sweat’ and is a steam bath used in traditional Mexico. These baths, have been used by several indigenous cultures of Mesoamerica with healing purposes of detoxification by sweating with herbal infusions.
Before we could enter the adobe, we had to kneel and place our heads at the front of the steps. This spiritual journey is a metaphor. The adobe represents a mother’s womb, the hole on top is the belly button and the interior is the fire from Mother Earth. As we enter the doorway, the smoke and mist from the herbs blinds us. We quickly feel claustrophobic and apprehension sets in. The shaman comes in and closes the door, there is no escape. It is hard to breathe, intensely hot and you are sweating profusely. Your heart races as your body tries to consume every bit of available oxygen. The shaman takes us through a 4 level journey. Each level is more arduous as your body starts shutting down and your mind starts hallucinating. You feel like quitting but the shaman helps by dousing you with cold water and encouraging you to focus on your breathing. We go through our childhood, forgiving our parents for their mistakes, speaking to our deceased loved ones and screaming at the top of our lungs. Did I mention this wasn’t for the faint of heart? After an hour inside the womb and a psychedelic journey through the past, the shaman mercifully opens the door and we finally get to taste the sweet crisp oxygen we so commonly take for granted.
As we emerge from the doorway, a fresh fruit plate with refreshments awaits us and we are quickly reminded we are still in a 5 star resort! We discuss our metaphysical experience and collapse with exhaustion onto the beach chairs. We experienced ultimate relaxation after the juxtaposition of a relaxing massage and an intense spiritual journey. One we will not forget for a very long time!