Knead a break?

Treat your tired body to the healing touch of massage

Issue: Dec 2009

Face _citispa
December is a good time to refresh your mind and body before the partying season starts

The earliest documented evidence of massage apparently dates back to 3,000 A.D. in China. So it is no surprise that traditional Chinese massage techniques are now being offered in spas these days, as a complement to the more popular western techniques. Be it Asian or western styles, the act of being pampered is surely a soothing experience for the mind and body. INSIDE visits three spas to find out what kind of tender loving care they can offer.

Ignite your well being

CITISPA’s newest outlet in Sembawang should be good news for patrons living in Singapore’s northern districts. This outlet offers facials, slimming treatments, and CITISPA’s signature Holy Tapas Therapy. ‘Tapas’ means ‘heat’ in Sanskrit and this four-step treatment, inspired by ancient Tibetan medical expertise, literally sets one on fire.

But first, before starting, the therapist finds out if the patron has any aches, sore points or chronic problems. Then she does a quick assessment to find out where the blocked pressure points are. According to traditional Chinese medicine, symptoms of various illnesses are often the result of disrupted, unbalanced, or blocked ‘qi’ movement through the body’s meridians, as well as imbalances of ‘qi’ in the organs.

The flames won’t hurt; instead they help the body to absorb the medicated oil better

The therapist then uses a specially made gua sha board to scrub the specific treatment area, to remove toxins. Contrary to common belief, the scrubbing is not painful. This is followed by ba guan (cupping) treatment which creates vacuums over the meridians and pressure points to improve blood circulation and expel toxins. The therapist moves the cup expertly over the area again and again before leaving several vacuumed cups on the area for some time. These steps unblock the body’s 28 key pressure points, priming it for the last step, which is the placement of meridian channel straps.

These straps (that resemble twine) are soaked in herbal liniment made from 14 Chinese medicinal ingredients. They are placed on the key meridians and then covered with layers of towels. Spirit is poured onto the top layer and the therapist sets it alight. The fire is more than a gimmick: the heat it emits gives a sauna-like effect to open up skin pores so that the liniment is better absorbed into the body. The therapist assures first-timers that the procedure is safe, and that they should let her know if the heat gets too intense. The surreal experience of seeing and feeling flames leap up from the body will enthral first-timers. After treatment, the skin will be pinkish due to improved blood circulation, while a deep, restful sleep later on at night is ensured.

  • *Print out this article for a trial session of the Holy Tapas Therapy (S$98, excluding gua sha and cupping). Prior reservations required.
  • *Citispa also has an S$18 Gift of Wellness promotion for the yuletide season. Check out CITISPA’s website for more details.

#03-15, Sembawang Shopping Centre, Singapore 758459
Tel: (65) 6556 3660

Counting on collagen

Step into the Bugis outlet of this ladies-only spa chain and you will be treated to an ambience of wood and softly-lit therapy rooms, all heavily imbued with a pleasurable scent of lemongrass and ginger. The therapists are pleasant and professional, and the spa menu offers an extensive range of massages, scrubs, wraps, facial and body treatments, including the signature Haven Massage using a blend concocted from an ancient Ayurvedic recipe and the Fusion massage that blends Thai, Shiatsu, Javanese and Swedish techniques.

Amore's Fusion massage blends Thai, Shiatsu, Javanese and Swedish techniques

Amore is also the only spa in Singapore to offer the scientifically renowned COLLIN Paris skincare product range, which comes from the first cosmetic house to use collagen as part of its anti-ageing formulas. The Ultimate Vivifying Treatment (S$120), for example, is a 90-minute thirst-quenching moisturising treatment for your skin, both hydrating and plumping up your skin. Sit back and relax as a therapist massages your head and face, reshapes your eyebrows, then slathers your cheeks, eyes, forehead and mouth with a heavenly-smelling masque.

At the same time as your facial, you can opt to have a foot reflexology session, as the spa allows you to combine various treatments so as to save time. This is one of the specialties of Amore, targeted at the busy city girl on the run. The total price of your multi-purpose session will be the tally of the costs of the various individual treatments.

Affiliated to the award-winning Amore Fitness Group, the Amore Boutique Spa is a chain with six outlets across Singapore. Before the year is out, select outlets will offer a four-hand massage (S$245, 60mins) on their menu – two therapists to knead, rub, and gently pummel you in unison. Just let your cares seep away and allow one masseur to work on your right shoulder, while another handles your left calf – both in perfect choreography. Life hardly gets any better.

  • * Amore's treatment packages come in credit form, so as to allow the package holder to change treatments according to her current needs. For S$1,000, you get to have facials at a 25% discount and a free eye treatment worth S$40.

165A Rochor Road, Bugis Village, Singapore 188437
Tel: (65) 6338 1822

Spring back to life here

Primarily a men's spa, Spring Spa is a modern and spacious facility with a large lounge area for relaxation, dining and refreshments. In the privacy of the men’s changing room, butlers are at hand to dole out towels, shorts and robes. Ease into the mood with hot and cold pools, steam, sauna and individual showers; thereafter, 20 massage rooms beckon in the rear. The cozy setting is a calm sanctuary where the best deals are the packages that start from S$88 for a single session. This includes a 45-minute body massage or foot reflexology delivered by male and female therapists. The menu includes Asian Oil, Shiatsu, Swedish and Traditional massages.

Hot and cold pools: the centrepiece of relaxation in the men's changing room

The male masseur specialising in Chinese Tui Nah gives patrons, in their loose robes, a firm and strong massage. Unlike an oil massage, there is almost no kneading; the session focuses on the body’s pressure points. During the initial part of the session, the therapist "closes" the body's meridians, which could lead to restricted sinuses. But the therapist assures that this would be rectified once the blockages are unlocked and opened. Relief is immediately apparent when the “unlocking” happens. Expect to feel a pleasant glow thereafter. The therapist also predicts an initial post-massage lethargy followed by renewed energy, relief and rejuvenation within two or three hours.

Ladies have a separate private area for their manicures, pedicures, facials and the ilk. They can also use the jacuzzi pool in the couples area. All patrons may use the facilities freely, along with complimentary refreshments and a hot meal, usually an Asian rice or noodle offering.

  • * For Christmas, every spa package comes with a glass of white wine or champagne and wine chocolates.
  • * Spring Spa offers a S$15 Lunch special on weekdays (between 12pm – 3pm) that takes in a quick 15-minute therapy (neck & back rub or foot massage) and use of the steam/sauna/pool facilities. Promotion ends in February 2010.
  • * Six or 12-session packages are available at S$320 and S$680 nett respectively.

Block B, #02-03/04, Clarke Quay (above Highlander Bar), Singapore 179021
Tel: (65) 6533 6288

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