The Old “Hot Oil on the Forehead” Trick — A Review of Amburaya Spa

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I recently stayed at the Sheraton Pattaya and had a chance to check out their Amburaya Spa. I had chosen a 30 minute head & shoulders massage as my platinum amenity and was also given a voucher for 500 baht off any treatment. Since the local Health Land Spa, home of 500 baht (~$16), 2 hour Thai massages, was an unexpected $25 cab ride away, we decided to try the on-site spa.

I gave my 30 minute massage to my friend and started looking at my options for the 500 THB voucher, finally deciding to try something completely new and go with the Ayurvedic Shirodhara 60 minute massage.

Based on the description, this sounded like it could be just what I needed.
An ancient Ayurvedic treatment that pouring warm medicated oil ion the third eye point of the forehead to unblock any blockages in the energy passages around the face and head. This allows the energy to flow properly and helps relieve headaches, migraine, insomnia and stress. Resting is recommended. After 24 hours you will feel refreshed with clear thoughts and more relax.

I started this vacation not in the best of shape. Food wasn’t agreeing with me and I hadn’t been able to sleep more than a few hours a night for about two weeks. My first round of massages had done wonders for my aching muscles but hadn’t made a dent in my sleeplessness. Perhaps having hot oil poured on my forehead for an hour would help.

We arrived at the spa, which is tucked into the 2nd floor of the main building (no view), and were seated and promptly brought a welcome drink and beautifully wrapped cold, lemongrass scented towel.


amburaya spa pattaya welcome drink

The spa wasn’t busy, so as soon as I’d taken a few sips of the drink and refreshed with the towel, we were whisked away to our shared treatment room. The changing room was pretty awesome (I didn’t have time to snap pix, and pretty sure my friend wouldn’t have appreciated that either ;-)) and had a shower, sauna, and ample room for people to change.

My big thrill was our robes. I’d yet to fall in love with any of the robes provided for the few minutes between changing and getting on the massage table. In fact, most of the robes were too tiny (barely spanning my hips), or too see through — so thin there was no point of wearing it, or both.

These robes were glorious. Floor length Thai silk with just enough stiffness to clothe, done in a purple autumn orange color, and little sleeve and pattern details.

We headed out to the beautiful treatment room (for some reason I always love the aesthetics of a treatment room that has a bathtub even though I hate spa baths).

Pattaya Treatment Room

I’d been expecting an hour of warm oil dripping on my forehead, what I got was almost a half hour of extremely accurate accupressure on my back, legs, and neck before turning over for the second half. After working on the pressure points in my head for awhile, then the oil started. About 90 seconds? (I don’t know, I was almost asleep) of almost too hot oil drizzled along my hair line and massaged into the rest of my head. It felt pretty wonderful.

The rest of the time was spent working on my head and neck which desperately needed it with a little light Thai stretching at the end. Afterwards I spent a few minutes sipping hot tea in the “recuperation area” with plans to lay low the rest of the day.

Did it work? IT DID! I fell asleep by the pool for an hour later in the afternoon. I went to bed at 8:30PM and pretty much slept through the night until about 5:30. 🙂 Definitely a huge fan of this treatment, even if I was silly for thinking it would just be an hour of hot oil trickling strategically on my head.


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Heels First is the travels and tribulations of two twenty-something frequent fliers jumping into the world of travel. Join Keri and Jeanne as they tackle mileage runs, elite status, and of course–the perfect travel accessories.

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