Total Medical Massage at the Orucoglu Thermal Resort, Afyon, Turkey
Like most spa journeys in Afyon, my treatment at Orucoglu Thermal Resort began with a soak in the thermal waters. I had one of the private thermal suites with a couple of loungers, and a separate room with a small thermal bath lit by a skylight. I was told to soak for 15 minutes, but the water is heated to between 40 and 42 degrees, so I only managed about ten. I was already out and dried when my therapist, Hulya, arrived to collect me for the Total Medical Massage (60 minutes, £30).
In the massage room, Hulya asked me to take off my wet swimming costume and lie on the bed face down. This meant that I was completely naked but Hulya seemed unconcerned. She covered me in towels, leaving exposed only the body part that she was working on. The massage oil was Orucoglu’s own medical blend which contains essential oils including bilberry and lavender.
Right from the beginning of the treatment, it was clear that Hulya was a very experienced therapist. Her movements were deft and she had strong hands. She used a kind of vibrating technique with her hands on my tight muscles. By the end of the treatment, there was not a tight muscle left in my body. Hulya has been honing her massage technique at Orucoglu for 20 years and unsurprisingly has a large fan base. The name “Medical Massage” may be slightly misleading for non-Turkish spa goers; it seems to mean that the treatment addresses physical tension: which it most certainly did!
After the massage, Hulya wrapped me in towels and led me to the large, marble, herbal bath room. Hulya introduced me to Zeynep, my therapist for the Herbal Bath Treatment (20 minutes, £12). There are four baths in the room, each lined with white plastic sheets for easy disposal and cleaning. My bath was already prepared so – naked again! – Zeynep helped me into the hot, oily bath.
The herbal baths are used to treat stress-related conditions. A blend of 18 oils is used including nettle, daisies, lavender, olive oil leaf and rosehip. Many of the other herbs are locally sourced and are specific to the Aegean region. Once I was immersed, Zeynep sprinkled dried pink rose petals and buds into the bath from a silver bowl, and tipped several bowls of water slowly over my head. She then sat at the desk in the room while I just soaked. After 20 minutes, Zeynep helped me out and dried me down; she spent several minutes picking bits of dried roses out of my hair and off my skin.
My Classic Facial (60 minutes, £26) started rather brutally with a brightly lit magnifying mirror held over my face. After some peering and prodding, my therapist, Arzu, turned out the light and began some blackhead removal. Next came an exfoliation. Arzu squeezed Sothys cleanser straight from the tube onto my skin, then spread it with a spatula. Throughout the treatment, Arzu applied all products this way.
Arzu used an electronic brush to work the cleanser into my skin, which meant that the cleanser exfoliated at the same time. I enjoyed the sensation of the soft bristles whizzing round on my skin; it did not feel at all abrasive. Next, Arzu applied a blackhead-removing nose strip and used a brush to spread the deep-cleansing mask onto my face and neck. Finally, she placed some damp pads on my eyes and went to sit quietly in the corner of the room. This is the Afyon way: you are not left alone during gaps in the treatments.
Arzu removed the mask with damp sponges, leaving the nose strip in place. She squeezed a vitamin mask onto my skin, used a paint brush to spread it, and went to sit in the corner of the room again. After five minutes, the mask came off. So did the nose strip. Ouch!
Arzu applied vitamin serum and eye cream. Next came generous amounts of very rich moisturiser which Arzu used to do a fantastic five-minute face and neck massage. She used the heels of her hands to sweep my skin upwards repeatedly. She ended with a scalp massage and a final gentle pulling of separate strands of hair. The effect was deeply relaxing.
Try these treatments if: You want to emerge from your Orucoglu spa journey cleansed, detoxed, invigorated, and thoroughly massage-buffed.