October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Salina Handa, founder of my favourite spa, SensAsia Urban Spa, is one of Seashellsonthepalm’s Mums of 2015. She places a strong emphasis on organic living, loves Pilates and a huge supporter of charity. She highlights this good cause by launching the In the Pink treatment. Breast cancer, shockingly, still accounts for 30% of deaths in women in the UAE.
The 1 hour and 50 minute treatment costs 565 dirhams and every single dirham is donated to the local non-profit organisation, Friends of Cancer. We applaud Salina and her team at SensAsia Urban Spa for this brilliant initiative. They also have their best-selling signature oil that costs 99dirham, and all proceeds will also be donated to the same charity.
What we tried: In the Pink Treatment 1 hour and 50 minutes 565 dirhams
This treatment is ideal for Seashellsonthepalm. If time was on our side, we should all follow the rule of thumb and use treatments on our bodies that we can consume, and this is one of those amazing treatments that is good enough to eat. The treatment is a combination of a scrub, a mask and followed by a soothing Balinese massage.
The scrub – treatment time 25 minutes.
It is a homemade receipe created by the SensAsia Urban Spa Team of ground rice, rose hip, lemon juice, lemon essential oil, and fresh yoghurt. Anna, my therapist, applied firm pressure to remove all the deadskin, and the scrub definitely brightened up my skin.
The body rub mask – treatment time 25 minutes
This is another homemade receipe made from clay, coconut, milk, fresh yoghurt, honey and rose hip. The mixture is rubbed all over the body, and you are wrapped in plastic sheets and towels to allow the ingredients of the mask to absorb into your polished skin. I was told that the coconut milk is absorbed better into the skin after a good scrub. During that time, Anna gave me a much needed relaxing head massage.
Balinese Massage – 1 hour
After a good polish and scrub, it is then time to indulge in a wonderful and relaxing massage.
Top tip: Ask for Anna. She is a very experienced therapist from Indonesia, and applies the right and appropriate pressure
Results: It has been two days since the treatment, and before the treatment I had extremely dry skin on my legs because of the hormones from breast feeding. I have since stopped breast feeding but my hormones are still readjusting, and one of the effects has been scaly legs and dehydrated skin. The scrub and clay treatment definitely helped improve the my skin’s complexion, and it is a novelty compared with your typical sugar scrubs. It is more hydrating and soothing on the skin. Love the smell of the ground rice mixed with rose hip. It smelt like a mochi ice-cream. Yum.
Five minutes with Salina Handa – Founder and Managing Director of SensAsia Urban Spa.
It is generous of you that you are donating all In The Pink treatments revenue to Friends of Cancer and we love supporting businesses that give back. Why is raising breast cancer awareness so important for you?
Honestly, it was Dr. Sawson at Friends of Cancer. From the moment I met her, I was bowled over by her passion for the cause. Her relentless drive for helping and detecting underprivileged breast cancer patients, and what she was doing for the UAE community, is what made me want to do start the partnership. We’ve been working together for 10 years, and it has never felt like a charity arrangement, where you’re not actually sure where the money goes. I know every SensAsia dirham is being put to amazing use.
Why did you choose this particular charity?
Dr. Sawson! But another story that completely strengthened my choice is quite a personal one for SensAsia. We suspected one of our attendants, Evelyn, who worked at the Palm Jumeirah spa, had a lump in her breast two years ago. Dr. Sawson diagnosed her, so, that year, instead of giving our October donation to Friends of Cancer, we gave it to Evelyn to get the treatment she needed. Dr. Sawson has also visited the spas and taught our therapists how to conduct a self-exam, and also how to guide clients how to do this for themselves. She is truly amazing.
What exercises do you do to keep yourself fit and healthy?
I’m a huge advocate for Pilates. I will actually do the Stott Pilates Teacher’s Training at the end of this year. I don’t plan to teach, but it’s just something that really interests me in learning more about, that I know will complement everything I do with SensAsia. Also regular EXTEND Barre classes, and I’m a member at the Emirates Golf Club gym to get my cardio bursts in.
Do you believe in organic foods? If so, what products do you ensure that your family chooses organic?
Yes! I order organic chickens and eggs from The Farmhouse in Souk A Manzil, which is conveniently a few doors along from SensAsia! We have weekly deliveries from Ripe; I make my own granola… The list goes on, and the general rule is that nothing comes out of a box. Food is just so much more refined than when my husband and I were kids, and it is so important to me to educate my daughters to know the difference. They use the term “factory food” now, which is actually a little something we picked up from Jason Mraz when he was in Dubai for the Jazz Festival two years ago.
Describe a typical healthy meal in your home?
I love to cook. It really soothes me. A meal that would suit the whole Handa family would be Shepherd’s Pie, made with lamb and cauliflower mash instead of potatoes. I love to make sweet potato fries with a dusting of cinnamon sugar and parsnip shoestrings too. I have a great cookbook by Jessica Seinfeld called Deceptively Delicious and love to make her zucchini meat burgers, healthy Bolognese and quinoa salads.
SensAsia Urban Spa has four locations, The Palm Jumeirah, Emirates Golf Club, Souk Al Manzil Downtown Dubai, The Village. For more information about the spa and locations go to www.sensasiaspas.com