A detox treatment with a difference

The blue-green algae paste is the consistency of thick cream, and my body is covered in it. I am wrapped tightly in my cocoon and cannot move. The layer of paste is becoming hard as it dries, and my core temperature has become elevated. I’m having an Aquamar Spa and Vitality Center treatment – a Marine Detox Wrap with algae, detoxifying juniper, and lemon.

I’m on Oceania’s Regatta in November 2022, as part of a small media and travel agent group, on a 12-day cruise from Darwin to Singapore, experiencing the delights of this luxury small ship. The vessel was re-inspired in 2019 with a superb upgrade. My package includes a treatment of my choice, so I want to try something different. I certainly get what I wished for.

Oceania’s description of the treatment says it all. “Let your thoughts drift away while the body is enveloped in a comforting wrap of marine algae and detoxifying juniper and lemon. Active ingredients help reduce fluid retention and inflammation while a de-stress scalp and foot massage soothes the mind and body.”

Read: Country by country guide to a massage

My 100-minute treatment with Manilyn is so nice. Her excellent skills ensure a memorable experience. I don a pair of disposal netted undies and lie on a thin layer of foil. My body tingles as Manilyn uses a brush to exfoliate my skin.

Next comes the application of the warmed-up and perfumed algae poultice from my neck to my toes. I am then wrapped tightly in the foil, and except for my head and feet, covered in a thick blanket. A cool face cloth is placed over my eyes. So soothing!

I’m left to detox in this state for the next 30 minutes as the paste seeps into my pores. After a while, I feel that something is happening because my body starts to warm up – the toxins are leaving my body! The paste is getting harder, like mud drying on one’s skin. While this is occurring, Manilyn works on my head, neck, and feet with soothing massages. This feels so good – I start to nod off.

I hear a voice in the distance. “Max, Max … you can have a shower now.” I don’t really want this to finish. I feel so relaxed right now. It takes 10 minutes to wash the hardened paste off in the shower. I dry off and my body feels so light and tingly. What next? I don another pair of disposable nickers and lie once again on the treatment bed, this time for a full body Swedish massage. Manilyn uses her forearms for the massage, to release muscle tension by dissipating the applied pressure. This ensures a more enjoyable massage compared with the more targeted use of thumbs and elbows.

Read: Five types of relaxation and the power of rejuvenation

What a truly wonderful experience this is, but I feel somewhat drained. I’m going back to my stateroom for a nap, but not before a 30-minute steam bath in an adjacent area to unclog residual algae lodged in my pores.

I posted a photo of my experience on Facebook, and a friend’s response was “OMG Max, I thought you were dead.” I know the photo does suggest I’ve been embalmed, and the treatment did feel like heaven on a stick, but I’m not dead by a long shot, Jen. There’s lots of travel and life still left in the old bones.

Thanks to Oceania, it didn’t cost me the US$299 + 18 per cent gratuity (that’s about A$520). But hey, you only get one go at life. Why not live it!

Max Williams travelled as a guest of Oceania Cruises.

Have you ever had a spa treatment like this? Do you enjoy being massaged? Let us know in the comments section below.

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