BODY BLISS: The beautiful new Ey Spa uses the Nuat Phaen Thai technique or ancient massage in its treatments.

It’s true what Dr Gunther von Hagens says: “When you’re young, you take your body for granted. But as you get older you need to care for it because physiological health is the single determinant of happiness and quality of life in old age.”

Even so, how many of you know exactly what is going on under your skin and why? Apart from doctors and scientists of course. The Body Worlds & The Cycle Of Life anatomical exhibition has been seen by more than 35 million people in more than 70 countries, and it’s now at the V&A Waterfront.

Fascinating doesn’t even begin to cover it. Von Hagens pioneered the process of plastination in 1977, which allows the preservation of the post-mortal body. Which is a polite, medical way of saying dead. It sounds a bit gruesome, but this exhibition relies on body donors who have bequeathed themselves for this valuable scientific education, and the result gives us average Joes an insight into the workings of our bodies we would otherwise never have.

From an embryo the size of a pinky toenail clipping to bodies stripped of their skin to expose muscles, tendons, bones, organs, arteries and the nervous system, Body Worlds is both enthralling and terrifying as it examines our fragility and strength.

Body Worlds is in the Breakwater Boulevard (next to Toy Kingdom). For more information and to book tickets, visit or call 021 418 4155.

Other new additions to the V&A Waterfront this summer are also somewhat body-related. First there’s the revamped food court which overlooks the amphitheatre and the children’s play area, which has a water feature that is a pure stroke of genius. The new design has opened up a wider view of Table Mountain and Quay 4, and former fast food favourites have been joined by several new ones – Carnival (Indian), Royal Bavarian Bakery, Primi Roastery (chicken) and El Hombre Loco, which makes a pretty good burrito with chicken, cheese, rice, salsa, guacamole and all the trimmings for less than R40.

There is more food, glorious food at the newly-opened Market On The Wharf which you will find in the old pumphouse, or what used to be Musica. It’s open Wednesdays to Sundays from 9.30am till 7.30pm and is a gastronomic paradise.

Not only can you shop for exotic ingredients like duck and rabbit, fancy cheeses and charcuterie, fresh fruit and vegetables, even cookbooks, but you can feast on a variety of delicious treats that are no less fast than those in the food court, but will appeal to a more discerning palate. The traders are all keen to tell you about their products and produce.

Rounding out the body theme for this year’s Waterfront visit was a Thai massage at the newly-opened Ey Spa (opposite the Blue Shed craft market), which uses the Nuat Phaen Thai technique or “ancient massage” in its treatments.

The official explanation is “through a combination of yoga-like poses, acupressure, reflexology and gentle stretching your body is manipulated to release tension, stimulate the metabolism, increase blood circulation, detox the body and assist in preventing illness and disease”.

The spa itself is beautiful and offers a full range of treatments besides the Thai massages. There is a cafe which serves healthy, raw and natural freshly-squeezed fruit and veg juices as well as light meals. Dr von Hagens would be delighted.

For more information, visit For bookings, e-mail or call 021 421 8888.

Visit www.waterfront. for a full list of the holiday schedule or tweet @VandAWaterfront or call 021 408 7500 for more information. Some Holiday EsCape Times activities are sponsored by the suppliers.

This article was first published in the Cape Times on December 21 2012 and appeared online at