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     Volume 4 Issue 68 | October 21, 2005 |

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Going back to Mother Nature

Imran H. Khan

When I was young, I was fascinated by Indiana Jones, an archeologist out hunting for relics. One of my favourites was where he seeks a certain goblet, drinking from which would grant him eternal life. While most of us tend to be realists, there is always a little person inside us who wish we could get younger. Though nature cannot be undone, it can be harnessed to help preserve oneself. With that intention, Rupanzel Home Industries Ltd., a cosmetics company in Bangladesh has come forward to provide only purely herbal cosmetics for its clientele. Rupanzel, a member of the Bangladesh Women's Chamber of Commerce and Industries, wanted to give their consumers a taste of their merchandise and so, they recently opened up a Spa the very first of its kind in Bangladesh.

Herbal Solutions - Day Spa and Beauty Studio opened its doors to the public on September 18, 2005. Located at 22 Park Road, Baridhara, this tropical spa aims to provide therapy for the mind, body and soul. The spa, exclusively for ladies, was the idea of Sultana Parveen Huq, Managing Director of Rupanzel and her daughter Shabnam A. Huq, Director of Rupanzel. "The idea of initiating something new is always scary but my daughter kept pushing me. It is her persistence that made Herbal Solutions a possibility," says Sultana Huq. "The best thing about our products is that we do not use any chemicals, everything is from natural extracts. One problem is that because there are no chemicals, the product's shelf life becomes small and within one year or two, the product expires," says Sultana.

The products are all made from herbal extracts such as petals, leaves, seeds, etc. "Most of the competitors (beauty parlours) here use a lot of harmful chemicals in their products," said Sultana.

The spa concept here is very new and the idea that chemicals are bad is even newer. "Fair polish, using hydrogen peroxide and bleach is awful for the skin," said Sultana. "There is certain chemicals in the beauty products and it leads to skin cancer. Within a month of use, it makes the skin dry and rough. Turmeric, potato and cucumbers… these are the natural ingredients that we use to bring out the best in skin. We don't simply burn the skin, we develop it," Sultana boldly states.

The skin and hair have the weakest cells in the body. The nerves in the skin sometimes need external food when they cannot naturally consume from within the body. When body packs and face packs are used, it helps the blood cells to absorb the food on the body as supplements. "Anything that I cannot eat, I will not put on my body," says an assertive Shabnam. "The skin is the largest organ of the body and we seldom take care of it. The skin absorbs almost everything that is on it." Once the right blend of vitamins is obtained, the skin becomes shinier and more vibrant. A professional Thai masseuse has been brought in at Herbal Solutions from Thailand. She is currently tending to the clients and is also training some of the local girls in the ancient art of massaging.

The interior décor is tastefully furnished, all in white to accentuate the hygiene of the resort. Though unpretentious, there are floral and candle arrangements at certain points, to add to the tranquil ambience of the spa. The spa's management is very strict about hygiene. The towels are just an example. All towels at the spa are colour-coordinated; black towels for the hair, white towels the face and the body, and peach towels for the feet. "We never use the same towel for someone's feet and face," says Shabnam.

There is a wide range of services provided at this spa including manicure, pedicure, waxing, threading, hair treatment, facials, body massage, body scrubs and jacuzzi. Manicure, namely tending to the hands comes in regular form and can also be pooled with a combination of blood circulation therapy, anti-wrinkle therapy or after sun therapy. One can also have a combo of Thai foot massage or an indulgent pedicure with milk and mint, a treat once only worthy of Cleopatra.

There is also an assortment of facials that includes toning, cleansing, scrubbing, steam, mask and moisturizing and also comes with a free skin test. One can choose from Tropicana Facial, Rejuvenating Facial, The Bali Facial, The Detoxifying Facial and many more depending upon the type of skin and its complexities. Moving on to body massaging, Herbal Solutions currently has four types on its menu. The Swedish Massage is the classic full-body massage using long, kneading strokes that eases stress and relaxes the muscles. The Sports Massage employs the previous massage technique but employs deeper and more direct pressure on certain muscle groups. The Traditional Thai Massage is a firm and dry technique combined with Ayurvedan stretching techniques. This helps to stimulate the flow of blood and release toxins. Finally, the Aromatherapy Message also uses the Swedish Massage technique but is combined with a blend of natural essential oils that can help to relax or energise as per the requirements of the user.

The Jacuzzi here is also totally customized to suit one's bathing needs. "If we want our client to be relaxed, we use a certain type of oil and mixture, while a revitalising bath would surely require a different blend of extracts," says Sultana. The guests will be able to have a blend of baths including The Calming Bath, a tranquil blend of ylang ylang, lavender and geranium; Rainforest Bath, an invigorating blend of grapefruit, geranium and lemon and more. One can also choose from a blend of scrubs including Mandara Soothing Coconut Body Scrub, Balinese Coffee Scrub and the fabled Lalur. All these promise to leave the body soft, tender and with a glowing shine.

There are also some special package offers available at Herbal Solutions which one can avail to give the body and soul a thorough cleansing. The resort also provides gift vouchers for would-be clients. As one moves back in time, one cannot help but wonder that the very ingredients that we are getting naturally from our surroundings are the same raw materials that our forefathers, or rather, foremothers used to consume in the past. They had their fair share of beautiful hair and complexion from those ingredient, why can't we? Beauty cannot be developed in a quick one week solution, it needs time. And the best way to get that beauty would be the pure and natural way. Nature, after all, works in mysterious ways.

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