CHAKANA DAY SPA + WELLBEING, AVALON
Tucked behind a stylish Avalon shopping strip in Sydney’s Northern Beaches lies a destination that truly replenishes the soul. Founded by wellness industry veteran Mardi Ritchie, Chakana offers far more than beauty treatments: these are soulful experiences that nurture and renew the spirit.
A multi-talented healer, Mardi has a background in yoga, Ayurveda and music, and she has drawn on these disciplines to create an innovative and transformative treatment menu.
“Chakana is a space grounded by careful, loving intention,” says Mardi. “You can feel safe and vulnerable here. That’s where healing and beauty are revealed.”
Today I’m booked in to experience her signature Ascend Treatment – an odyssey through sound and energy, incorporating healing body work, facial techniques, meditation and visualization. I’m not sure what to expect but it sounds like something we all need.
The reception is all rustic timber and fresh white linen. Mardi welcomes me warmly and, opening a large antique wooden door walks us past a waiting room and several hushed treatment rooms. Sliding open another epic door, she reveals a vast, candle lit room. In its center is a cushy treatment bed, with several lanterns hanging in a ring around it. To the side I notice an arrangement of instruments, a guitar, gong, medicine drums and some Tibetan singing bowls. I get the sense that something very special and ritualistic is about to happen.
Mardi asks me a series of questions so that she can design the treatment around me and tells me that she will be using her voice at times during the treatment and I don’t have to do anything but listen and feel. I choose a scent that will feature in the massage oil, room scenting and mist that I later learn helps dictate the songs that Mardi incorporates and products I can take home at the end.
The next 90 minutes is a sensorial feast of stunning music, mesmerizing scent, sound vibrations, healing massage and intuitive touch. At moments throughout the treatment Mardi sings beautiful lyrics that feel as though they were written for me. Beautiful and haunting, it feels like being front row in a private acoustic gig.
It was, in fact, perfectly tailored to me and Mardi seems to intuit exactly the level of healing I needed, catering to my spiritual needs before I can even put them into words. At one point, she brushes my hair with a boar bristle brush so tenderly that I am suddenly a child again. It’s nurturing and beautiful, emotional and bliss-inducing.
Once dressed, I give Mardi a huge hug and settle in for some tea while I hear about how she came up with such an original treatment. She tells me that it was very organic: one of her clients knew her background and asked her to sing to her during a treatment once. She was so emotionally moved, it gave her an idea.
“I dreamed of combining healing touch with vibrational sound/song so that others could experience what had healed and restored me. Chakana has enabled me to live that dream,” she explains.
To really bring the Chakana experience home, Mardi has also created Chakana Spa Skincare: a collection of five ranges (brighten, balance, renew, restore and ageless) and the Chakana Ascend line: a sound-activated range made from bioactive native Australian extracts designed to accompany Mardi’s signature treatment, you can choose from an essential oil blend, mist or perfume roller.
There are six scents to compliment six of Mardi’s songs used in her sound healing work – Temple, Hypnotic, Breathe, You’re Beautiful, Sweet Surrender and Slow. At the end of the treatment you can take home your corresponding fragrance and Mardi also gifts each client with a downloadable version of the songs she sings in the treatment to evoke the healing experienced.
Armed with all this beauty and sentiment, I literally float out the door. I am so full of well being I want to hug strangers in the street. It lasts for days and when I want to recreate it, I burn a little bit of the You’re Beautiful oil and pop on the song, and that state of relaxation comes hurtling back. I can’t listen to the songs without tearing up now. What a gift she has. I think Mardi might just start a movement.
Chakana and The Ascend treatment is something that has to be experienced. Even if you live nowhere near Avalon, the trip to visit this spa alone is more than worth it.
Chakana Day Spa & Wellbeing
45a Avalon Parade, Avalon Beach NSW 2107