Steam up, then chill out

detox treatment
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Indy Lifestyle Online
You've feasted on pancakes dripping with syrup, washed down with a nice glass of muscat. You feel guilty, want to "detox" - all the usual Nineties reflex responses to pleasure - but you can't face a fully fledged fast so you go for Aveda's Himalayan Rejuvenation Treatment. At least, that's what I did (although those not wishing to fork out pounds 60 to pounds 80 may think four days, even 40 for that matter, spent eating nothing but apples, a cheaper bet).

"Deep-cleansing, revitalising and nurturing" is how this full-body healing treatment from India describes itself. The two-hour session begins with a confession: you tell Beryl, the specialist, about your lifestyle and personality quirks and she categorises you according to one of three ancient Ayurvedic mind-body constitutional types (I was pitta or fire).

You then select natural oils according to your nasal preferences (they call it aroma sensory testing), to be used in the treatments. A steam inhalation ("I'll just get the crock-pot, then you put your head in the face hole," says Beryl) comes first, then a four-handed massage ("Alan's very discreet"), and, finally, a sweaty,detoxifying stint in a steam tent, preceded by one of Beryl's more alarming announcements: "I'm going to put some ice on your heart."

I'm told the "friction" massage pushed all the toxins in the right places - ie, out of my body - and understand that the head bit may have somehow detoxed my brain. To my surprise, I came out longing not for a glass of wine and slice of pizza but for a feast of fresh vegetables. I also caught myself tempted to walk the five miles home. I didn't, but enjoyed feeling pampered, and energised, for as long as the effects lasted. Jesus never had it so good.

AVD Cosmetics: 0171-636 7911.