New year detox in Dubai

We test three top treatments to get you feeling well again

The Norwegian Detox Treatment

A 90-minute treatment consisting of a body exfoliation, detox mask and full-body massage, this treatment claims to release toxins, smooth the skin and rejuvenate the mind.

The experience: The treatment begins with a long, thorough massage that concentrates mainly on applying a great deal of pressure to key points. It feels as though several litres of oil have been poured over my body, but it leaves my joints feeling supple and stress-free. Next up is an extended (and slightly disorientating) stint in a steam room, where the two main treatments take place. Lying on a bed, the body exfoliation feels a bit like having industrial-strength face wash rubbed the length and breadth of my body. Once this is rinsed off, a seaweed mask is doused all over, leaving my skin tingling. Note that potential customers will need to be comfortable with being treated (and touched) all over, which may deter more conservative guests.

The result: I leave feeling clean, relaxed and de-stressed, although I’m not sure how much internal detoxification took place.

Reviewer: Rob Garratt.
Dhs350 for 90 minutes. Chocolate by Jelena, Al Das, Shoreline Building 10, Palm Jumeirah (04 437 6001).

The Ultimate Detoxification Therapy

This three-stage treatment offers a detox exfoliation and body wrap, which promise to restore the skin’s pH balance and ‘coax away toxic impurities’. This is followed by a comprehensive full-body massage to aid lymphatic drainage.

The experience: The initial exfoliation, using chunky, minty salt, is surprisingly wince-inducing and abrasive (note to self: don’t shave legs before a body scrub). The therapist administers an efficient, enthusiastic buffing to ensure all dead skin is banished, then soothes my chafed limbs by applying a tingly mint-infused mask to draw out more toxins. As I’m cocooned in a plastic sheet, my skin feels as though it’s coated in Vicks: a strange minty chilliness envelops me and I’m left almost shivering. After jumping in a blissfully hot shower to rinse away the mask, my therapist spends up to an hour massaging away my aches and pains until I fall into a gentle slumber.

The result: After the treatment I find I’m surprisingly sprightly: my skin is softer and smoother, my complexion more radiant, and I feel less lethargic.

Reviewer: Rebecca Milford.
Dhs975 for 120 minutes. The Spa at The Palace, The Old Town, Downtown Dubai (04 428 7805).

Antioxidant Tea Massage

Beginning with a soft brushing to stimulate the lymphatic system, an antioxidant black tea balm soothes while a massage aims to banish toxins and reduce fluid retention.

The experience: My ‘tea-tox’ begins with a foot scrub in warm water using black tea and sea salt. Then, as I inhale the scent of black tea, cardamom, cinnamon and ginger, my skin is brushed thoroughly, followed by mild kneading, flicks, strokes and knuckle-pressing. The warm black tea balm, which is also infused with fiery spices, heats me up then cools me down, wreaking havoc with my body temperature. It feels odd, but is ultimately refreshing and soothing. Then it’s into the relaxation room to drink a pot of black tea with blended spices.

The result: After the treatment I find myself sweating profusely and struggling to sleep. I’m assured that the quantity of caffeine in the oils is too minimal to affect the overall body systems, but this is definitely not a massage to have just before going to bed.

Reviewer: Melanie Smith.
Dhs450 for 60 minutes, Dhs650 for90 minutes. Ahasees Spa and Club, Grand Hyatt Dubai, Oud Metha (04 317 2333).

Juice diet detoxifying or damaging?

The diet involves drinking only fruit and vegetable juice for a set period: claimed benefits range from aiding weight loss to eliminating toxins from the body, while some even promote themselves as an alternative medicine. Several local companies, including Café Baroque and Detox Delight, now deliver juices to your door, with many touting the health and weight-loss benefits. But do juice diets really work, and are they any good for you? We asked two Dubai-based nutritionists to share their views.

For (in some cases)
Kaya Peters, whole food nutritionist and holistic health practitioner, says: ‘While juice detoxes can be detrimental for some people, they can be very good for others. For those who live an extremely toxic lifestyle, with an abundance of refined products, intoxicants, sugars and so on, a juice diet can be very helpful, especially if they suffer from syndromes that traditional Chinese medicine classifies as “liver stagnation” or “heat”.
‘Juices are detoxifying, and will help you lose weight very quickly, although the weight usually returns straight after returning to normal eating.

‘[These programmes] suit people with a robust constitution, congested livers, a history of substance abuse and overeating of heavy, greasy foods. People who have unstable mental conditions could possibly benefit from a juice fast, mainly because of the so-called spiritual aspect: not eating for several days can help you to turn all your senses inwards and focus on the bigger meaning of life. This can be a powerful experience.
‘Detoxing can definitely be beneficial, although I still believe a holistic approach is much more effective in the long run. We need to be educated about proper nutrition, exercise and taking care of ourselves in better, gentler ways.’
Consultations from Dhs290. Various locations,, (056 212 5878).

Against (in all cases)
Allison van Camp, nutrition consultant, says: ‘I don’t recommend juice fasts for anyone. I think at best they’re unnecessary, and at worst potentially dangerous. It’s a romantic notion that if you drink just fresh juice, your cells will start to regenerate, weight will drop off and your body will expel lurking toxins. Based on a lack of scientific evidence and what I know of the human body, I find it hard to believe. The body
is already designed to excrete toxins using the liver, kidneys, colon, lymph system and skin.

‘If you normally eat junk every day, you’ll probably see some benefits from a juice fast, but generally this type of dieting is little better than other fad diets. Consuming fresh fruits and vegetables alone is detoxifying, and the fibre of whole plant foods plays an incredibly important role. But when you juice a plant, you eliminate the fibre.

‘As far as weight loss goes, this isn’t exactly rocket science. It’s hard to drink all your energy needs in the form of juice. One cup of orange juice contains about 120 calories, so you would need to drink 16 cups a day to reach 2,000 calories [the recommended daily amount for an average adult woman]. Based on that, it’s no surprise that many will lose weight on a juice fast, but whether that weight will stay off is another question. If a person returns to their normal eating habits afterwards, then the answer is no.’
Consultations from Dhs300. Various locations, (056 136 6382).

The juice diet: our experience
We limited our diet to juice for three days. Here’s what happened…

Day 1: The first day on Café Baroque’s three-day juice cleanse starts well: the breakfast smoothie is refreshing and tangy. By 4.30pm, however, we’re feeling lightheaded and pretty weak as we head off to try a CrossFit session.

Day 2: We suffer from heartburn all morning, followed by headaches all afternoon. We’re told this is the toughest day, but once we’ve got through it, apparently day three will be a breeze. During the afternoon, we crack and eat a bag of nuts.

Day 3: Less than three full days in and we’re already sick of the once enjoyable and refreshing juices, and have found it hard to concentrate on work in the mornings without the help of coffee and solid food. All the drinks are quite sweet, and we’re soon craving savoury treats. Unable to face any more juice, we skip the final two drinks of the day and stick to drinking hot water and lemon instead.
We tried Café Baroque’s cleanse, which costs Dhs400 for three days. Murjan 5, JBR (055 754 9012).

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