Musical massage in Dubai

Choreographed treatments with live harp music at Heart & Soul in Al Barari


Heart & Soul Spa, surrounded by the tranquil greenery of Al Barari, is a relaxing place to head at the best of times. But the spa has seriously upped the stakes with its latest offering.

Harp Healing Therapy promises to combine the healing power of music with relaxation. Special melodies performed live by harpists Lidia Stankulova and Diana Pandova right next to the treatment bed, are said to reduce anxiety and stress.

‘The vibrations from a harp are especially powerful for changing our body’s energy,’ explains Maria Antonela Axinte, director of Heart & Soul Spa. ‘Each string vibrates with its whole length, so the body can feel the vibrations even if the ear cannot hear the sounds. As our therapists tend to your body, you can focus your attention on the sound of the harp, allowing the vibration of the strings to relax you, help you achieve physical and mental balance, and complement and prolong the massage effect.’

Lidia Stankulova adds: ‘We’ve seen the healing effects of harp music. Businessmen have arrived in formal suits to events we have played at, but after ten to 15 minutes of listening to the harp, they drop their shoulders and their voices relax. So when Heart & Soul came up with this idea, Diana and I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of it.’

We arrive at Al Barari to experience this massage therapy first-hand. This part of the city makes us feel like we’ve left Dubai altogether, with sunshine glinting through the trees, a pond complete with waterfall and lily pads, and birdsong in the air.

The spa is just as peaceful, and after a warm welcome, we walk into the outdoor treatment room to discover the harpist sitting to the right of the treatment bed. This prompts a mixture of emotions; we feel privileged to have a talented musician playing exclusively for us for the hour, but also a little self-conscious that there is a third person in the room. Still, we’ve been told about the benefits, so we hop onto the bed, lie down, and shut our eyes.

As the music starts to play, we feel ourselves relaxing. In fact the whole experience is so incredible we get goosebumps. The therapist uses long, soft strokes, since the aim is to encourage relaxation rather than to release tension. At times, we notice that the massage is in sync with the music, but otherwise, both seem simply to complement each other. Soon we stop thinking completely and fall into a light, but satisfying sleep for the remainder of the treatment.

Afterwards, we feel none of the grogginess we usually feel following a long treatment. Instead we feel a balance of calmness, a clear mind, and renewed energy. As we sip a cup of steaming ginger tea and consider returning to real life, we ponder the experience and feel fully convinced that the coupling of music and massage is a winner and the way forward. We practically hop, skip, and jump through the gardens to our car and feel amazingly stress-free for the rest of the day.
Harp Healing Therapy Dhs950 (60 minutes). Available April 22 (more dates to be announced soon). Heart & Soul Spa, Al Barari, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road, opposite Falcon City of Wonders (04 320 7350).

Aural therapy at home

Could you do with a little musical healing after a long day at work? Check out our favourite free apps with tracks to unwind to.

Simply Being
This soothing meditation app also works as a great sleep aid. Opt for either a guided meditation with background music, just music or just the meditation, and then pick the length you want it to run for.
Free, available for iPhone and Android devices.

Relax Melodies
Choose from more than 50 sounds to help calm your mind and unwind. There’s also an alarm function.
Free, available for iPhone and Android devices.

Qi Gong Meditation Relaxation
Reduce anxiety using Chinese techniques for bringing together posture, breathing and the mind.
Free, available for Android devices.

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