Prepare to be pampered

Face up, you lie with your head under a small hanging pot. Warm oil - sesame, coconut or hemp - flows in a slow, steady stream from a hole in the bottom and onto the centre of your forehead.

Face up, you lie with your head under a small hanging pot.

Warm oil – sesame, coconut or hemp – flows in a slow, steady stream from a hole in the bottom and onto the centre of your forehead.

Known as a shirodhara oil treatment, it’s apparently been around for 5,000 years.

That spot where the oil hits is known as the third eye. To those who preach its virtue, this technique is supposedly relaxing.

Yukon’s Larissa Chippett tried it for the first time eight years ago during her inaugural trip to India where the technique originated.

She ended up getting it done 10 times during her 30-day trip.

During her first visit she fell asleep.

“The dream was so nice, I saw beautiful huge flowers and I said ‘wow, holy, what is that?’” she said.

She’s been back to India multiple times since.

Chippett says the treatment helped her sleep better and be more calm. She says it’s good for the nervous system and the skin.

Now she’s brought the shirodhara oil treatment and a handful of other relaxation techniques to her new spa that opened this week in downtown Whitehorse.

The brochure for VIPTime Spa is full of methods that the less-zen among us might not recognize.

Alongside scrubs and oil massages, Yukoners in need of winding down can spend time in personal cedar steam barrels, get Thai massages with balls full of herbs or even massages with specially-chosen tiger-striped clamshells from the Philippines.

All these treatments are designed to give Yukoners a relaxing experience, Chippett said.

“I think it’s something different, I haven’t seen anybody who uses these type of things.”

Chippett arrived in the Yukon three years ago from Kazakhstan after falling in love with her husband she met online.

Coming to the Yukon meant giving up the salon she had built over 16 years.

“This is the best place for me. Because I love mountains, I appreciate fresh air, I appreciate fresh water, I appreciate happy people. My life has changed. I love Canada.”

She hasn’t stopped working since she got here.

The spa is located on Third Avenue, the same block as Chippett’s other business, the Yukon Man barbershop, which she opened about two years ago.

Her busy lifestyle might explain why she is so familiar with different ways to relax.

One of the spa’s offerings, a Ceragem massage bed, got Chippett’s approval because she already uses one of her own at home.

The computer-controlled massage bed heats up, has six speeds and 12 different programs.

Chippett first tried the bed about a decade ago while she was still living in Kazakhstan.

At first she thought it was just a gimmick but after trying it out she was sold, she said.

When she moved, she made sure to have one in her Canadian home.

“When I came to Canada I said, ‘Richard (her husband), I know (a) masseuse is very expensive here, I need that bed.”

Before opening the spa Chippett brought an expert in from Vancouver to train her staff on some of the less-well known techniques.

A lava shell relaxation massage uses smooth, heated clamshells from the Philippines. It’s good for relaxing tense muscles, Chippett said.

The shells hold their heat for about an hour.

“People, when they have a problem in the lower back or in the shoulders, it always needs some kind of pressure and some heat.”

Staff are also trained in a Thai technique using balls of herbs to apply pressure to muscles during the massage.

Chippett calls the experience “absolutely magic.”

VIPTime Spa is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Tuesday to Saturday. Thursdays have been set aside specifically for men looking to be pampered and Saturday is specifically for couples.

“I want husbands and wives, girlfriends with boyfriends, to come and share a perfect time together,” Chippett said.

She said she’s found Canadians are open and willing to try new things. That’s why the staff have trained so hard to make sure it’s a positive experience, she said.

“We have only one time, one chance, to impress people.”

Contact Ashley Joannou at

ashleyj@yukon-news.com

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