I had no idea what to expect from my first CBD massage. Despite being legal in the UAE since 2021, CBD products still have an air of mystery about them. Many people are surprised that they are even available here at all.
But, despite being derived from the hemp plant, CBD is not a drug and it in no way gets you high. The World Health Organization has declared it completely safe, and CBD is known for bringing balance to the body and our hormones, and helping to reduce inflammation, aches and pains.
Having just completed a rather brutal ‘leg day’ session in the gym the day before, I was very excited to let the therapists work their magic on me, and to see if CBD massage oils are really worth the hype.
Created by British CBD skincare brand OTO Wellbeing, OTO CBD spa treatments have been available in the UK and Europe for several years. Currently only available in the UAE at The Spa at Emirates Palace, Mandarin Oriental, the brand also offers CBD facials along with their signature massages.
The spa at Abu Dhabi’s most iconic hotel is as grand and beautiful as you would expect. However, while some could accuse the lobby of Emirates Palace as being a bit ‘too much’ in terms of gold and bling, the spa is chic, classy and understated. Adorned with elegant arches, intricate Islamic wall panels, domed ceilings and plush chaise lounges, even spending time in the welcome lounge is an absolute joy.
Greeted with a delicious green juice and refreshing towel, I liked that the induction form wasn’t just simple yes and no answers. Instead, I was asked to provide more in-depth details about how I was feeling, and how I wanted to feel after my massage. I also admired how each treatment room comes with its own dressing room, shower and bathroom. Offering complete privacy and ease, it made the whole experience feel extra inclusive.
The ‘CBD massage’ I experienced is available in three different forms. The OTO Balance delivers deep relaxation with the help of fragonia, jasmine, and chamomile, the OTO Amplify re-energizes with hand-crafted bamboo rollers, and the OTO Focus features a spicy and mix of frankincense, ginger, and black pepper.
Which one you experience is decided through an anonymous smell test. I was asked to inhale all three separately, and pick the one I felt most drawn to.
I chose the Focus oil, and I was told that this revealed my need to be reenergized and replenished. As I was going through a very busy period at work, and my muscles were feeling particularly tired and sore, the assessment couldn’t have been more accurate.
It was like no other massage I have ever experienced before. Maybe it was partly subconscious because I knew the oil contained CBD, but my limbs have never felt so loose and stress-free.
I asked for the pressure to be firm, with a focus on my back. My wonderful therapist abided by my every request, deeply massaging my back in steady strokes and holding still at points to strike the perfect balance between sweet relief and almost painful. I also enjoyed the emphasis that was put on massaging my feet and scalp, and when she recognized that my legs were feeling very tender, she expertly customized her routine to accommodate.
The bed was furry and warm, and I felt cozy and completely at peace. I often struggle to quieten my mind during spa treatments, but this time I was effortlessly lulled into a chilled-out stupor.
The start and end was marked with the chiming of sound bowls. The vibrations are said to ground you in the room and balance your body, and with the name OTO translating to mean ‘sound’ in Japanese, it is a key part of the experience.
Afterwards I was led back to the stunning lounge and left to enjoy a huge pot of ginger tea, served alongside dried and fresh fruits. I could have stayed there for hours, and I left in a happy daze. I slept extraordinarily well that night, too.
The combination of the therapist’s amazing skills, mixed with the naturally powerful qualities of OTO Wellbeing’s CBD body oils, and the ethereal setting of the spa, resulted in an outstanding massage that was truly a step above any other I have tried in the UAE.
• This massage was provided for the purposes of a review. We try a lot of things here at Livehealthy, but we only publish Livehealthy Approved reviews for those that are truly worth it.