On the first week of January 2017, I’ve decided to try something different. Welcoming the year with a body treatment to myself—something relaxing for both the mind and body—I went to Karada.
Unlike other massage spas that I have visited, this “something different” offered by Karada doesn’t include oil in the process. It’s basically a dry massage that uses body weight to put pressure on certain spots of the body where pain frequently occurs. Karada translates to the word “body” or to “the form of our body.” The Karada team is made up of professionally trained therapists, who are knowledgeable about the possible causes of the stiffness of our muscles, and misalignments of our cervical bone and pelvis. They are very nice and will even explain your body’s condition while correcting it. You may hear your bones popping in the process. But you don’t have to worry because it’s normal and guaranteed safe; not that scary at all. I may perfectly describe the therapy as, what they call “Itakimochii”—a Japanese word which means “painful but relaxing after” or commonly known to Filipinos as “masakit pero masarap.”
Karada sessions are scheduled by appointment. Personally, it is best to book your schedule as early as possible. And be there at least 5 minutes before your appointment to avoid waiting for the next available therapist. Another important reminder is to go to your Karada session while your stomach is empty—light meals are also recommended.
Initially, I was asked to fill out the client information sheet, which includes basic information and some questions about your body, discomforts, recent operations, recent accidents, etc. It is really important to be specific as much as possible because the therapy varies and focuses on what the client needs most. This also allows the therapist to know which methods aren’t allowed for you. There are many kinds of therapies to choose from. In my case, I signed up for AP Balance Therapeutic (Atlas, topmost of spine to Pelvic), which will run for a good 45 minutes. A cup of warm water was offered to me before and after the session to relax my muscles. Clothes and slippers were provided for changing (though clients may opt not to if they’ll be more comfortable in their own clothes) in one of their changing rooms. A basket for my personal belongings was also provided, which was later on placed under my massage bed for safekeeping.
The therapy area has no dividing curtains, yet despite this, the ambiance gives off a soothing experience as their relaxing music played in the background. Other clients will barely notice you because they’re mostly pre-occupied from the relaxation or pain of their own therapies.
I was welcomed by my assigned therapist, John, and he assessed me based on the information sheet I filled out earlier. The basic assessment included standing with feet hips apart then bending to reach the toes, bending back, and other stretching exercises to determine which part of my body he’ll focus on. Lying on the massage bed facing down, John started the process by putting pressure on certain spots from my head, down to my neck, moving down towards my shoulders, straight to my spine and pelvic area—which happens to be where my most stiff areas were—so the pressure makes it a little painful. He then proceeded to align my neck and shoulder carefully. It is so gentle that you won’t even feel anything but your bones popping—don’t worry, that’s a good sign. I was asked to sit upright for the reassessment of my neck and shoulders, which surprisingly felt lighter and better already.
In some cases, they can also determine leg-length discrepancies that can cause balance instability. Leg-length discrepancies are mostly caused by improper posture that tilts one side of the pelvis upwards, that’s why one leg appears to look shorter than the other. They have a separate room to treat this kind of misalignment, wherein they have a bed different from the ones in the therapy area that can entirely help correct the pelvic area. After this treatment, you’ll notice that your legs are perfectly fine again and in the same length!
Muscle treatment is also included in the AP Balance-Therapeutical package. The muscle treatment also depends on the part of your body they intend to concentrate on. This part is where I get to relax most. With warm compress placed on top of the treated muscles, nothing can be more relaxing than this. I mean after all the bone popping and alignments, this probably is the best way to end this session.
As a first timer, I was then debriefed with the following reminders to achieve the best results:
- No cold drinks at least 4 hours after the therapy.
- No extreme physical activities for the day.
- Bath is okay but preferably with warm water.
- May have after effects such as burping, farting, and muscle sore.
The price starts from PHP 645.00 to PHP 2,195, depending on the type of therapy and the length of session. You can save a little bit more by buying their gift certificate to avail 10% off. They also sell posture-correcting merchandise such as shirt, nightwear pelvic support, skeletal frame correction pillow, and even Japan’s best-selling hydrogen water.
I know how life can get so stressful at times, so if you need a restart to your routine and give your mind and body a fresh and relaxing time, I highly recommend you visit Karada for a different kind of spa experience.
Check out this list for the Karada branch nearest you:
- New Glorietta Mall, Makati City – (02) 553-8731
- Serendra , Taguig City– (02) 730-4546
- Alabang, Muntinlupa City – (02) 894-1575
- Radisson, Makati City – (02) 843-7425
- Greenbelt 1, Makati City – (02) 503-6004
- Greenhills, San Juan City – (02) 621-6261
- Eastwood, Quezon City – (02) 901-3785
- Eight Forbes, Taguig City – (02) 801-5062
- Mall of Asia, Pasay City – (02) 877-6390
- Eton Mini Suites Tower, Makati City – (02) 960-6831
- Venice Grand Canal, Taguig City – (02) 960-4351
- SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City – (02) 721-1991