Tanamera preserves traditional Malay therapies for the new generation, and Priya Kulasagaran finds out what it’s like to experience a slice of homegrown relaxation.
After battling traffic in the concrete jungle that is Subang Jaya, stepping into the Tanamera Wellness Centre was an immediate respite.
The chic design of the space, as well as the homely and welcoming tropical aromas that greet you as you enter make for a relaxing oasis to discard the hustle and bustle of the outside world.
A proudly Malaysian brand, Tanamera’s philosophy is to bring tradition to the new era and be environmentally-friendly while doing so.
It boasts of creating products using all-natural ingredients, while being against animal testing to boot.
In the days of yore, Malay beauty treatments were passed down through generations of midwives and healers, and were kept as closely-guarded family secrets.
But Tanamera aims to share these treatments with a wider audience through its products and services, by adapting these age-old traditions to a modern setting.
While specialising in Malay traditions, the company also recognises that Malaysia’s multi-ethnic influences extend to beauty practices as well; explaining why Tanamera also incorporates traditionally Chinese and Ayurvedic herbs as part of its spa experience.
While Tanamera spas almost exclusively cater to women, couples massages are available at selected centres.
The centre in Subang Jaya offers a variety of spa packages, including those specially designed for brides in the lead up to their wedding day.
Tanamera also offers post-natal treatments, which blend Malay bersalin traditions with traditional Chinese herbs and Ayurveda techniques.
Arguably, one of Tanamera’s signature offerings is its traditional Malay massage, modelled after the traditional urut done in the kampung tradition.
True to its roots, the massage combines long, kneading strokes along with stretching and pressure applied to the whole body, from head to toe.
From previous experiences, while the massage therapists tend to be petite and friendly women, do not be fooled by their size – these masseuses can really pack a punch!
Those who are not used to having their body kneaded like dough may well be advised to opt for a ‘mild’ setting as a start.
That said, the alternating firm and gentle strokes of the masseuse was exactly what my tired muscles needed, and it did not take me long for my body and mind to arrive at a state of peaceful bliss.
The Tanamera Herbal massage oil used also helped enhance the experience, as it provided a warming effect to the body.
Based on a 100-year-old recipe to remove toxins from the body, the massage oil is meticulously prepared by being boiled with a blend of traditional herbs.
This mix of herbs also purportedly has a range of healing properties, including anti-inflammatory, blood-stimulating, and antiseptic properties.
While these effects are hard to immediately note, the massage oil did help to relax my muscles and my skin did feel smoother after its use.
As a side-note, what I also appreciate about the rooms at Tanamera spas is that they have in-built showers; this means that one does not have to venture out of the room after a body scrub.
Those who want to experience a truly Malay spa experience may want to check out Tanamera’s tangas offering.
Said to cleanse the vaginal area and reduce womb swelling following childbirth, the tangas treatment is traditionally used by women during their post-partum period.
It is also commonly used after menstruation to prevent fungal infections as well as reduce excessive discharge.
While this may sound like a daunting procedure for the reserved, the process is fairly simple.
First, you are made to change into a sarong and sit on a special ‘bench’, which is a hollowed out box with a hole in a middle.
Placed inside this wooden box is an earthen pot filled with boiling herbs that contain astringent properties, such as ginger and turmeric.
Perhaps the most awkward part of the treatment is having to keep your legs spread while using the sarong to keep in the vapours from the herbs.
For my modern sensibilities, the process was surreal at first, but rather pleasant once I got used to sitting in that position.
Tanamera also offers pampering by way of facials, scalp treatments, as well as neck and foot massages.
While many of the massage packages are about an hour long, busy bees can also opt for 30-minute sessions.
Those pressed for time may benefit from the body herbal compress, which uses a mix of herbs wrapped in a cloth and heated in a steamer.
Based on Ayurvedic therapies, the compresses are used to soothe sore muscles, and is a particularly beneficial treatment if you have specific tender spots.
Packed with herbs such as pandan leaves, kaffir lime, and tamarind, these compresses are also a good alternative if your sore points are too sensitive to be massaged directly.
All in all, Tanamera provides a cosy oasis of calm for escaping the stresses of urban life, by making full use of the techniques our ancestors had mastered centuries ago.