LIPPO, CIKARANG: It’s a story I never forgot and an advice that never escaped my mind. My mum – a veteran journalist – was narrating the doctor’s advice to her colleague who was stricken with hypertension, which had reached a level that was detrimental to his health. Three suggestions were given by the doctor – find another job (being a journalist is a highly stressful job), exercise (it’s almost next to impossible because journalists are like doctors, on call 24/7 and dead tired at the end of a working day) or engage in water therapy. By water therapy, he meant buying an aquarium and gazing at the fishes. The water, apparently, helps ease the stress – the major cause of hypertension – and calm the nerves thus lowering the blood pressure. My mum’s colleague settled for the third option.
Water therapy has been a regular feature in my life more than retail therapy ever since that story. How can it not be? My mum never fails to remind me to drink up. My facial therapist always tells me to drink at least two liters of water a day to keep my skin glowing and blemish-free. And a former gym instructor drilled in me the importance of drinking water to keep hydrated and the metabolism gear in tip-top shape. And in Singapore, I kept an aquarium in my old flat, which I had to let go when I relocated to Indonesia temporarily. Water therapy now means drinking at least two liters of water a day and trekking to the spa.
Add visiting Waterboom, the water theme park in Cikarang. There are two branches – one is in Jakarta that’s quite near the Soekarno- Hatta International Airport while the one in Cikarang is at Bekasi’s backyard. Propelled by the motto carpe diem, my friends and I were bright and early at the entrance during Nyepi (Hindu New Year on March 16) as well as a multitude of people ready to undergo water therapy to wash away the stresses of the past weeks.
My water therapy was slightly different from my friends who took to the water like Poseidon and his underlings. I, admittedly, have never dipped so much as my little toe in the pools of Waterboom; I enjoy the water slide and pools vicariously. I love water except I don’t like getting wet. I just like being near water, hearing the lapping of the waves rushing to shore and forming a foamy white bed sheet. But I do enjoy the soft rolling waves showering my feet with little kisses as I walk on the beach, and the breeze on my face as I gaze as far as my eyes can see beyond the blue line. So while my friends hurried to the water slide ready to careen down on the floater and back up again, to laze in the water and piggyback on the gentle waves, I made my way to my water sanctuary.
Part of the charm of the Balinese-styled Waterboom is the Balinese-styled Aqua Spa, which has its own entrance from the theme park. But one can proceed to the theme park after their spa session except that facilities are off limits unless you pay the entrance fee. My water therapy this time was the Havana spa package, a blissful two-hour session of Hot Ginger Stone massage followed by an herbs-and-spices natural bath and completed by a head massage and drink of warm ginger tea at the lanai.
The Hot Ginger Stone massage, Aqua Spa’s signature treatment, targets the deep tissues of the body through strong stretching, skin rolling and thumb pressure techniques, and the stones’ penetrating heat. After the massage, the stones are rubbed up and down the back and then placed along the spinal cord, letting the heat soak through the skin to unknot the kinks. The ginger oil and hot stones made a salubrious combination – the healing properties of ginger and the heat of the stones helped to release the pent-up tension in my muscles, enhance blood circulation, which, in turn, eliminated the toxins in my system and boosted my energy level. A heady effect of the massage or not, but it felt like stress unwrapped itself from my body and walked away after the stones were taken off my back.
The 15-minute soak in the Jacuzzi-tub filled with chunks of ginger and stalks of lemon grass bobbing in the water as a bag of spices floating underneath was an extra dose of energy-boosting with added perks of relieving tension and melting the fat away.
“Wonderful as always,” I answered, a huge smile across my face.
“I look forward to seeing you again, Ms. Liana. Terima kasih,” added Herta and off she went to attend to another spa-goer.
Revitalized by the ginger oil-stone massage and ginger-bath, it was time to chill and take in the Balinese aura. Seated comfortably, a gigantic umbrella overhead, I watched the people indulge in their water therapy as I paused from my reading every now and then.
WATERBOOM CIKARANG Jln. Madiun Kav 115 Lippo Cikarang Cikarang Kawa Barat 17550 Indonesia Tel: +62 21 89907814, 8990 9467-68 Hours: 7am – 6pm (Monday – Friday) | 6am – 7pm (Saturday, Sunday and Public Holiday) Fees: Rp45, 000 (weekdays) | Rp60, 000 (weekends and public holiday) E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.waterboomlippocikarang.com Photography by Alvin Tismo | Design by Liana Garcellano (See blog entry Wallowing at Aqua Spa for more details on Aqua Spa)