One of the luxuries, that I used to enjoy in the US, was a massage. When you spent a lot of time on an airplane, or in front of a computer, or in a lot of stress-filled meetings, there was nothing like a relaxing massage. The massages I used to get ran from $55 to $70 dollars an hour in the US. I have no idea of the current rates.
I am no longer in that stress-filled corporate environment, however, I do spend a fair amount of time in front of a computer screen. Too much some people tell me. Not too long ago, I wondered why I wasn’t getting massages here in David. I like them. They tend to brighten my spirits and I enjoy the aromas that typically are wafting through the air. I remembered having one massage about four years ago at the Centro Médico Cattín.
I remembered the massage therapist as being competent and the price was very reasonable ($25), so I wondered why I hadn’t been back. So several weeks back, I went in and set up an appointment. The price hadn’t changed. The massage area was equipped with exercise equipment including exercise bike and treadmill. It also included a sauna and shower. For $25 you bought two hours with half of the time allocated for a massage. The clinic has a list of therapists, so you set your appointment and they schedule a therapist. What could be better?
I went at my appointed time and got on the table and then I remembered why I had not been back. The massage table was not equipped with the head support with the hole in it. Therefore, when you were on your stomach, you had to turn your head to the right or the left and that was not comfortable. I definitely got a crick in my neck. You almost need a massage to get over the massage.
Second, the therapist, who gave the massage this time, was not well trained. I was extremely happy when my 1 hour was up, Normally, I dread the hour being over. This time I had a crick in my neck. I decided to hit the shower, It also had a problem because the jets were spraying water in all sorts of directions. It would be impossible to take a shower and keep your head from getting wet.
I definitely struck out. This time, as opposed to four years ago, I decided that I owed it to management to share my impressions. For the price and options, this could be a great value, if the problems were solved. The doctor said he was thankful that I had talked to him and that he would take care of it. I told him, if changes were made, I would be more than happy to give it another try and update this post. He has my contact information.
I guess this experience challenged me. I decided to find out what other massage locations were available in David. On my last trip to the dentist, I asked and got the recommendation for Dermocenter. When I met with my lawyer, I asked her and she recommended MDC. Another person recommended Enma Spa, and I had noticed a spa next to Blockbuster when I had returned a video.
Now I had four spas to try out. I also know a private individual who gives massages, but she is working on her law degree and scheduling time is not easy. That removed her from evaluation. If her status changes, and she wishes to be included, I will update this post. UPDATE: I contacted Yamila, the lady I just mentioned, and told her I was posting information about massages in David. She informed me that her current situation has changed to the point where she can do massages by appointment. I will write more information about her at the end of the post.
To fairly evaluate each spa, I decided that it would be necessary to have at least two massages. I know. It is a tough job, but some body has to do it. My plan was to have the first massage at all of the spas before I has the second massage at any spa.
Below are my initial impressions. Let me remind you that these are reputable massage therapy centers. If you are interested in a different type of massage, then you do not need to read further. All of the following spas are located in David. I know there are spa and massage offerings in Boquete, but they are not covered in this post. Anyone who has used the Boquete facilities, can feel free to comment.
The following spa reviews are listed in the order of my first visit. Please understand that these are my impressions and everyone has different tastes when it comes to massages. For me. I want a place that has a pleasant setting, where I can relax and tune out the world for an hour, and when I leave I feel refreshed and better than I did when I went in. I didn’t use the sauna in any of these spas, so I can’t comment on them. If any reader has used the sauna facilities, feel free to comment.
Centro de Belleza y Estetica (Enma Spa) – This spa is located on the road to Boquete on the right side of the road. You will have to watch for the sign, because it is easy to drive past it.
I stopped by and asked to learn about the massage prices. A book was brought out showing relaxation massages of 30, 45 and 60 minutes and a therapeutic massage of an hour. I set up an appointment for a 45 minute relaxation massage for $25. I verified that the massage table contained a head support with a hole. It did. This spa has a sauna, but I don’t remember the price.
At the appointed date and time I was there. I was led back to a very nice room with the regulation massage table. It was an aromatic setting, smelled very nice, and had music piped in. This is a reasonably new building and everything I saw was first class.
The massage therapist was competent, but I thought the massage was a little more like a deep tissue massage instead of a relaxation massage. When it was over, I thought it was an enormous improvement on my first David massage experience. Then I went to pay. I handed over $25 and was told it was $40 dollars. I said when I had looked at the book it said $25 dollars. I think a woman walking by was the owner because she stopped and said abruptly,”You had a 1 hour massage and it is $40”.
I said that I had scheduled 45 minutes and she appeared to be upset with the employee and I decided to just pay the $40 not to cause trouble. This definitely put a downer on my first impression. My bad impression had to do with the owner’s attitude toward her employees.
CIECSA – Phone number in David. 774-6501. This spa is next door to Blockbuster, off the InterAmerican Highway and close to KFC. The first day, I went to make an appointment, they had an immediate opening. I decided to have the first massage at that time. This is a very new facility and the staff are very nice. The massage room was well set up and they used a top-of-the-line massage table. I liked it because it was the only one, in David, that had a built in resting position to support your arms when you were on your stomach.
Here they only offer relaxation massages and one hour is $30 plus tax. They have sauna and other offerings, but I don’t have the prices.
I thought the massage was very good. Not too hard and not too soft. It was just right. This spa moved into the number one position and I knew I would be looking forward to the 2nd massage.
When the time for the next massage arrived, I was not disappointed. When I entered the door, the receptionist called me by name and so did the massage therapist. The receptionist had even seen me taking photos at the Thanksgiving event at Parque Cervantes and was interested in knowing about the photos. I was impressed that they remembered me.
The second massage was just as well done as the first one at this spa. No change in my evaluation. I have inquired and they are supposed to have a package that discounts the amount of each massage.
Here is a photo of the staff at CIECSA. From left to right are Esther, Marianela, Jessica, Ingrid, and Jennifer)
MDC Clinica Medico Estetica – (CLOSED)
This spa is downtown. It is located diagonal to Universadad Latina. If you walk toward Hotel Panama Rey, it will be located on your right. This is a two-story building and the upstairs contains exercise equipment. It also has a sauna. This one had been recommended by my lawyer and I was confident she would not go to any place that was not first class. I was right.
The massage room was comfortable, the table was a good table and the massage was first class. I would say it was very comparable to the last spa, with the exception that the massage table did not have an arm rest. I would rate the massage here equal to the previous spa.
My second visit also was well done. The massage therapist remembered my name. The normal price for one hour is $40 plus tax and they sell packages of 15 for $30 per massage. This is a very nice spa. I did not look at the exercise room to inspect the equipment, but if you go, you might comment on it.
Dermocenter David phone number (774-0956) – Google MapThis spa is located on second street behind the David baseball stadium and in front of the Ondas Chiricanos radio station. This one had been recommended by my dentist. However, my dentist had told me to ask for Claudia. When I made my appointment, I didn’t remember to specify Claudia and the massage was given by another therapist. While the massage was adequate, it was not as good as the previous two spas.
This spa has a sauna as well as a therapeutic bath.
I remembered to request Claudia on my second visit. That made all the difference in the world. Now this spa is in the same category as the previous two. I will most likely return to this spa. It did validate my thinking that I should only evaluate a spa after two sessions. Had I based it on my first massage, I would most likely have stayed with the previous two spas. The price for a relaxation massage here is $35 plus tax.
movil spa (No longer in Business)– This one was a last-minute recommendation I received. Movil spa is unique. While you can get a massage at their office behind Romeros, they are really designed to provide massages at your location. I met with Kalizol C. De Nash, who owns the company. When she says they provide massages at your location, you may think that a masseuse just brings a portable massage table, gives a massage and leaves. That is not the case.
This is an event that takes place in the privacy of your own house. You can say you want a Chinese theme or Hawaiian ambiance. Kalizol will come out and, in the room you provide, bring appropriate colored towels, fragrances for aromatherapy and make it a setting and event to be remembered. Want to surprise your mother or wife for mother’s day? This would probably really drop their jaw.
Say a newlywed couple want an intimate setting on their honeymoon; that will be created. If it is is desired, the equipment can be picked up the following day. Nice touch.
If you want to have a spa party with a few couples, they can do that too. Suppose you have some elderly parents that need massage therapy and can’t go to an office, they can take care of it. I think Kalizol will work with you to meet your needs. Kalizol told me that the in-home spa massage is $45. Want it in Dolega or Bugaba? Not a problem.
I went to the office and had a relaxation massage and the price was $30. The therapist was well trained and gave an excellent massage. If you go to the office, request that the proper massage table is available. They have two. One is with head support and one is not. I thought the in-office area was a little tight, but this company, really is intended to bring a spa setting to your house. They are having a Spa Party demonstration at Club David this Friday for mothers and daughters from 2:00PM till 6:00PM. If you are interested, you might give Kalisol a call to get an invitation.
All four of the spas, mentioned above, are professional spas. Everyone has different tastes. Your tastes and mine may differ completely, when it comes to massages, so you may have to do your own survey. At least now, you know where to go. If you have a massage at any of these locations, tell them you read about them in Chiriquí Chatter.
By the way. Christmas and Mother’s Day are not that far off. Maybe one of these spas has something for that special someone in your life. Speaking of Christmas, if Santa is reading Chiriquí Chatter. I wouldn’t mind getting a certificate to any of the last four on the list for Christmas. 🙂
UPDATE: As I mentioned above, I can recommend an individual that does massages by appointment. Her name is Yamilla Wing and she has her own private location. She has a good massage table that she had built to her specifications. I can tell you that, HANDS DOWN (no pun intended), I have had the best massages in David done by her. If your schedule and her schedule fit, I think you will be very pleased with her work. You can contract her at 6557-1345 of via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, to get directions. If you have any problems understanding the directions, drop me a line and I will tell you how to get to her office. If you contact Yamilla, tell her that Don Ray at Chiriquí Chatter told you about her.
UPDATED as of June 18, 2009.
- Centro Médico Cattín – I have received no communication that problems have been corrected and I have not been back. If you have been and liked it, please leave a comment.
- Centro de Belleza y Estetica (Enma Spa) – Have not returned. It was not the quality of the massage that effected the decision, but the attitude of management.
- CIECSA – Marianela is no longer there.
- MDC Clinica Medico Estetica – No changes.
- Dermocenter – no changes.
- movil spa – Still unique and always a favorite.
- Yamilla Wing has told me that she has more available time now.
- Regina – Available on Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturdays. See this post for more information.