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School for wellness

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Wellness now has its own school: Santayarea-Mauritius. The first graduates are the hundred and eighty artisan therapists in the Beachcomber Spa centres, specialised in wellbeing

IIt all began in Rennes in 2004. Christine Fleury, a globetrotting therapist, well versed in health practices from around the world, opened the first governmentapproved training centre for wellness professionals. Since then, her courses have sprung up almost everywhere in the world. It was in Mauritius, on the initiative of the Beachcomber group, that Christine Fleury and her new Assistant Director David Cieslik, a consultant and trainer of the hotel group’s artisans for the past 10 years, inaugurated the Santayarea Centre.

Built in the beautiful grounds of the Trou aux Biches resort, the school, approved by the Mauritian government, trains the group’s artisans as well as students from Mauritius and all over the world in the various manual therapies and protocols, plant therapy and aromatherapy, alternative medicine arts (Santa Yoga, Qi-gong, Shiatsu) and the ancestral techniques of Indian, Chinese, Japanese and Balinese massage. The centre’s ambition is to turn Mauritius into a cradle of wellbeing in the Indian ocean. “It’s in our genes, in our fingertips!” explains Artee, an artisan at the Shandrani Spa, who is training to be a consultant coach. Mauritians come from a mix of ancient cultures and traditions – Indian, European, Asian and African.”

A journey within, away from boundaries
Far from the noise and bustle of the hotel, the spa is set in a little islet of green calm. A darkened deck, uncluttered patios, seawater pools, the massage table placed under a straw hut: decorum prepares you for that moment of release you need before you start. Reception, tea, and a detailed questionnaire on your habits, your lifestyle, your allergies, and your favourite massages, followed by hammam and exfoliating sessions, then the massage. At each stage, you will learn about the ‘Be Beautiful’ range of unguents and oils, made from local plants. Everything is done in silence, with just the rustling of trees, so you are alert to all your sensations. Delicate attentions – petrea petals placed in a bowl, the sylphlike allure and movements of the masseurs, the scents of camphor, the gentle yet powerful hands massaging in the oils, or the hot stones that caress and relax your tense muscles, releasing your energies – fire, water, metal, and wood. “We draw up protocols to suit each person’s needs. It can be a long-term commitment. Some clients come for several weeks a year just to follow a fitness programme in our spas. They leave with a tailor-made plan – physical exercises, meditation, diet, etc. – which they can follow when they get back home,” explains Artee. A relaxing break or a total lifestyle change, the treatments provided by the artisans of Santayarea are the promise of a sensory journey without borders.

By Virginie Luc