Indonesia is blessed with natural beauty and riches, including the dark petroleum that overflows from deep within her belly, its energy sustaining the lives and activities of her people.
Indonesian cosmetics mogul Martha Tilaar has converted this powerful energy into spa candles.
“It’s the latest innovation in Indonesia’s beauty industry,” said Rostamien Rogi, development adviser for the Martha Tilaar Group. “We use petroleum from the country’s own natural resources and make it into spa candles to beautify the skin.”
Infused with palm oil, Shea butter, herbs and spices, these candles emit a delightful fragrance when lit. Their molten wax applied to the body nourishes the skin and turns it soft and supple.
“Within the [petroleum] wax are atoms and carbonates that bind dust and dead skin cells on the body,” according to Rostamien. “Its palm oil and Shea butter moisturize the skin and prevent wrinkles.”
These scented spa candles are used for the Candle Massage treatment at Martha Tilaar Spas around the country. And, as I discovered, the 60-minute treatment is very relaxing.
Upon checking in at the reception desk, guests are asked to fill out a form that details their current health.
“The candles are actually safer than bee’s wax,” Rostamien said. “They won’t cause any skin allergies.”
But those who are worried can take an allergy test prior to the treatment. All you do is put a drop of the hot wax behind your ear and then see if it causes a reaction.
“If you don’t feel a tingling behind your ears three minutes into the test, you’re not allergic to the wax and can proceed with the treatment,” Rostamien said.
The Martha Tilaar Salon & Day Spa in Cikini, Central Jakarta, has a rustic feel that you might not expect in the heart of the city. The spa, which has been operating since 1979, features classic Tegel Kunci (ceramic tiles in the pattern of keys from the 1920s) flooring and antique hanging lamps from Yogyakarta. A small pond with colorful Koi fish is just one more calming touch.
My therapist, Ririn, led me to the treatment room with a smile. There are four single and one double (for couples) treatment rooms and all have private showers and bathtubs.
The treatment starts with a steam bath in the room. Guests are asked to step inside a box made of toile (fabric). Inside the box is a boiling earthen pot with herbs and spices. Guests sit inside the box and breathe in the aromatic vapors of the boiling pot for 10 minutes.
“The steam bath opens your pores and prepares your body for the treatment,” Ririn said.
Afterward, you are asked to lie face down on the spa bed and the therapist will then apply light effleurage strokes to your calves and thighs using the lower part of her arms.
“We don’t use a lot of thumb pressure in the massage to avoid the ‘njarem’ condition,” said Ririn, referring to the soreness that sometimes occurs after a massage, like you just spent 60 minutes getting punched all over your body.
Ririn said the soreness was usually caused by too much thumb pressure.
The therapist then lights the spa candle in its ceramic bowl and pours the molten wax onto you skin. Unlike normal candles, the wax from these candles doesn’t burn.
Exotic Frangipani candles contain emollients and vitamin E that is said to soften and moisturize the skin. Tropical Hibiscus candles are infused with citronellol (extracted from lemongrass) and geraniol (from geraniums) to lighten skin tone and reduce cellulite.
Lime Coconut candles have vitamin B, C, amino acids and pantothenic acids to prevent wrinkles and reduce body odor. Sacred Lotus candles are enriched with beta carotene, tannins, proteins and nicotinic acid to rejuvenate the skin.
The wax felt thick and warm on my skin. A fresh fragrance filled the air as the therapist massaged the molten wax onto my body with the palms of her hands.
Ririn then poured the wax on the small of my back and massaged along the vertebrae with her knuckles. Let the therapist know if the pressure is too much for you. The therapist also massages your stomach and chest area, which is said to enhance your respiratory and digestion systems.
Hypnotic and soothing gending (Javanese percussion) instrumental music played in the background throughout the whole treatment.
The treatment concluded with a facial massage. With her deft fingers, Ririn located every pressure-point on my temples, cheeks and ears and pressed them for a couple of seconds.
“It’ll brighten up your face and make you look a lot younger,” she said.
Guests are advised not to take a bath immediately after their massage. An hour interval is required to allow the wax and its nutrients to seep into the skin. However, if you need to get going, the therapist will wipe your body down with a warm towel.
A cup of hot ginger tea is served after the treatment and you can take it to the back garden while watching the Koi gliding in the pond. You will indeed feel refreshed and rejuvenated.
60 minutesRp 260,000
Marta Tilaar Salon & Day Spa
Jl. Cikini Raya No. 83
Tel. 021 3193 7616