My final treatment at The Spa at Four Seasons Resort Seychelles was a new one to me, using the indigenous Seychelles brand Yi-King -- a Chinese name which means "pathway" or "divination". The range consists of eight natural and organic oil blends, classified according to your Master Element, which is determined by your date of birth. The elements are not congruent with those of the more familiar Western zodiac so that while there I am a side-wise scuttling crab, in the Chinese-based Yi-King scheme, I am a rather more uplifting Sky. (The other elements are Wind, Water, Mountain, Earth, Thunder, Fire and Lake.) The treatments are a mix of Traditional Chinese Medicine, phytotherapy and aromatherapy, using plants biodynamically grown in Seychelles.
The 60-minute Hilltop Fusion Massage -- one of the most popular treatments at the spa -- delivers a treatment tailored to you. The treatment uses your Yi-King specific essential-oil blend and, as each element has a prescribed focus for massage, concentrates on that area of your body, too. If you are of the Wind element, your massage with lavender and rosewood might focus on your solar plexus; if you are a Water, your massage with spruce and bergamot would focus on your adrenalin glands. I was pleased to learn that the focus for us Skys is the head, as that is where I find my massage most soothing.
Like many treatments at The Spa at Four Seasons Resort Seychelles, we began with a foot ritual, a soothing foot-bath of salt and cinnamon leaves (the leaves picked from outside the door). My therapist, Elirose, started the treatment proper by walking her hands up and down my body for an initial letting go, then delivered medium to firm pressure throughout the massage. I asked her to go deeper on my shoulders, on which she concentrated as that is where I carry most tension. The scents of the Sky oil were uplifting -- mint and laurel in a base of coconut-- and, in the pleasant, sunny room, with its expansive wooden floors, I felt myself relaxing deeply.
- The natural world is never far away in this spa...
The founder of the Yi-King range, Coralie Mouge, told me over lunch before my treatment that the guiding principle of the Sky element is "Energy through movement". It is true that I often need to get moving to think out a problem: to walk, to swim, to throw myself into some sort of activity to come up with an answer to a question. I am pleased to report, however, that my afternoon with the Yi-King treatments was spent almost entirely INactive yet it was an energising, harmonious treatment from head to toe. The scalp massage for my element was particularly delightful.
The Hilltop Fusion Massage was a great way to end my all-too-short a time on an idyllic coral island. It felt very natural to experience in Seychelles a treatment inspired by, and developed in the islands. The local sourcing of products is a sustainable and admirable option. I left the sweet-smelling Yi-King products on my skin and wafted onto the plane smelling of coconut oil and mint -- how all holidays should end, in my opinion.
Top tip: If nothing else, take home with you your personalised Yi-King aroma-roller. When you're back in your everyday life, just a dab of this tiny but potent blend of essential oils will remind you of the sunshine and frangipani, and take your heart-beat down just a notch.
Find out more about the Yi-King elements.
4th April 2014
Warm floors when you put your bare feet upon them; heated treatment beds; soft towels; attention to detail, so that your treatment room looks and smells beautiful when you arrive in it.
Cold floors when you put your bare feet upon them; therapists who use your treatment time to write up a list of product "recommendations" that they hope you will purchase.
Behind the scenes