Found my ideal gym and spa club!

View to die for!

Spa Gym with a view to die for!

I want to share with you my joy in finding the right club recently. As you can read from my blog, I enjoy visiting spas, practising Yoga and doing a bit of gym work. Hmmm…I also enjoy good food after a good workout too!

However, these places happen to be in different physical locations – and the time spent running from one spot to another can be tiring. Like any other Yuppie in Singapore, I started to look for a club that had all the necessary facilities under one roof to join.

However, unlike many Yuppies, I do not have a lot of money to burn! Country and social clubs were out because some of them can cost tens of thousands of dollars to join and hundreds of dollars to maintain monthly. Besides, I don’t play golf nor do I feel like subsidising these clubs with their grand auditoriums and golf courses which I am unlikely to use at anytime.

I then look at spa clubs. Many spas has very good value for money spa membership but other than jacuzzi and steam bath, they don’t have other facilities such as a gym or even an exercise studio. No value for money there.

Because I recently joined a Yoga studio, I knew that a Yoga studio was not value for money too. True, it has a gym but there were no spa and massage facilities and besides Yoga, there were only Yoga. They don’t teach any other classes such as boxercise, aerobics, pilates, kickboxing or dances. Haven’t they heard, variety is the spice of life…

I then checked out one of those mass-market gyms but I didn’t like it either. Many of these gyms were very hard-selling and many of them were packed with people at all hours. Besides, there were nothing but weight and exercise machines and it was not like I was trying to build muscles!

I then found this club. It has a well-equipped gym, a mass exercise studio, a cafe, a lounge and get this…. a spa! Not to mention that this club is brand new, had a window view to die for …. and it’s membership price was even cheaper than a mass-market gym or a downtown Yoga studio! Ha! Ha!

Now, I get to run on a treadmill, do kick boxing, sip a milkshake, surf the net, enjoy a massage, entertain friends, all in the comfort of one club. No more running around. And no more squeezing with a hundred and one other people in a mass-market club!

Interested to join me? Hmmm…perhaps I may just reveal the club’s identity in my next post… Stay tuned!

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Yoga miracle – Believe it or not!

If you are a Yoga practitioner or even a casual Yoga observer, I am sure you would have heard stories of Yoga gurus who have made claims to be able to survive without food or air for long period of time or even gurus who can self-levitate and float on thin air!

Well, believe it or not but watch this Dutch man who is prepared to prove his ‘floating’ ability in public!

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Eat the right food for healthy living

We know that the right balance to a healthy life is to exercise regularly, maintain an active mind and of course, eating the right food.

Hence, any discussion on keeping healthy must also include the important subject of food and healthy eating. For those of us who can never remember or differentiate carbohydrate from protein to fat nor remember on what quantity or quality we should eat to keep healthy, here’s a simple pictorial chart that simplify the complex subject of healthy eating.

Why not print this chart and paste it somewhere prominent? How about your fridge?

Healthy living

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Qi-Mantra Accupressure

Qi MantraWhenever I do research using online search engines on massage matters, I often notice this advertisement for Qi-Mantra, popping up. After a while, my interest was piqued and I clicked on their advertisement.

Apparently, this is a massage palor that specialises in Chinese Tui-Na and Thai massage. Their website revealed that they have been reviewed favourably by many local lifestyle magazines and they had recently opened a new branch. Both their palors are located in Chinatown, Singapore. I made a mental note of their location and their specialty.

One day, I had tired shoulders. Two of my good girlfriends felt knotty in their arms and calves. I knew it was time for a visit for a Chinese Tui Na because I know that Chinese Tui Na or Accupressure is one of the best massage treatment available for sorting out knots and nooks in the body. I knew it was time to re-call Qi-Mantra’s telephone and address.

We had a good chicken rice dinner at Chinatown itself and then made our way to one of Qi-Mantra’s palor at Club Street. Club Street is a street filled with pre-war buildings and some of these buildings have been converted to offices, restaurants, clubs and bars. Located on one of these buildings is Qi-Mantra itself on the second floor.

We did not have an appointment and were taking a chance. Qi Mantra, Club Street, has about 7 rooms and offers both Chinese Accupressure and Thai Massage. Unfortunately, they were full but were gracious enough to make a booking at their other branch at nearby Pagoda Street for us.

We took a short 5 minute walk over to Pagoda Street. Pagoda Street is a busy street filled with shops and eating places right smack in the middle of Chinatown. In fact, one of the major entry point of the Chinatown MRT (Mass Rapid Transit or Subway) comes up right on to Pagoda Street and Qi Mantra is located right near the entry point. (See picture above)

There are also about 7 private rooms in Qi Mantra, Pagoda Street. They offer a mix of Full Body massage as well as shorter localised treatment meant for the busy executive or office worker. We took up their recommendation of their most popular treatment – the Complete Health Blast – a complete deep accupressure treatment that concentrate on the shoulder, back and thigh that is designed to unlock knots and strains in these areas.

Of the three therapists that treated us, two were locals and one was from China. All three therapists were polite, nice and wanted to know if we had any specific pain or strained area for them to concentrate on. The massage attention were indeed on the shoulders, back and thigh and the massage strokes were the repetitive, deep push and pull strokes so typical of Accupressure massage. It was a matter of time before these strokes ironed out the knots and strains in our body.

We like the ambiance and treatment of Qi-mantra. Previously, if I had wanted a Chinese Tui Na, I could only get it done at a TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) clinic or small Chinese massage shops that were rather clinical and unfriendly. In addition, these TCM clinics and shops were more familiar with using Tui Na for treating sprains and muscular pains caused by injuries or sporting activities rather than using Tui Na as a therapeutic form of massage relaxation to release stiff muscles caused by sedentary lifestyle.

What I don’t like was looking for their palors in such busy streets. I wished they had more prominent signboards especially for first time visitors. I also wished they could have been lower in their prices because at S$70 for a one-hour massage, I certainly would not be able to make this my regular Tui Na place.

Location of Massage Palor: Club Street and Pagoda Street, Chinatown, Singapore
Size of Massage Palor: About 7 massage treatment rooms each
Friendliness: Friendly receptionist and masseurs
Facilities: Treatment Rooms and Toilets
Pricing: Minimum SGD30 for a 30min Foot Massage up to S$125 for a 120min Jet-Lag Revival Blast

Transport: Taxi or bus to Chinatown. North-West MRT line and alight at Pagoda Exit, Chinatown Station.

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Chinese Tui Na

One of the oldest massage technique still in popular practice today is the Chinese Tui Na method. Some say that the art of Tui Na or Acupressure gave forth to the modern Japanese Shiatsu massage which most spa and massage goers are familiar with today.

Tui Na is a hands-on-body treatment using acupressure whose purpose is to bring the body into balance based on the Chinese Ying Yang principles. Tui Na has no side effects compared to modern drug-based and/or chemical-based massage treatment methods.

The words ‘Tui Na” literally means ‘Push Pull’ – a realistic description of what’s involved in a Acupressure massage. Tui Na is not just pushing and pulling your muscles and flesh but a holistic body treatment method of the acupoints or meridian points of your body based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Meridian principles.

Tui Na is actively practised as part of traditional Chinese medicine for thousand of years for a wide repertoire of medical treatments. It has been used to treat or complement the treatment of many conditions; musculo-skeletal disorders and chronic stress-related disorders of the digestive, respiratory and reproductive systems.

Tui Na is also popular in martial arts and athletic schools where there is a greater chance of muscular or skeletal injuries. Many teachers of such training schools are skilled in Tui Na massage which they used regularly to treat injured students or participants.

Because of the holistic therapeutic power of Tui Na, a new branch of massage known as ‘Bao Jian An Mo” or Healthy Tui Na massage had came about so that even normal people like you and me can undergo a dose of Tui Na massage for it’s therapeutic effects. Many elderly people in China get a regular treatment of therapeutic Tui Na massage just so to remain healthy; very much as in an apple a day keeps the doctor away.

However, if you do suffer from modern society sick syndrome such as strained neck, back pain, carpal tunnel pain, painful heels and ankles from too much sitting down in the office or too much computer work, then, a dose of therapeutic Tui Na massage targeted for your specific pain area is just the right recommendation!

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Baccarat Asia Spa Awards 2006

A couple of decades ago, Asia’s Spa and Massage industry used to be a small cottage industry but it has certainly grown tremendously in the last decade or so and is now widely recognised as one of exotic Asia’s key tourist attraction. In a recent gathering of Asia’s spa industry key stakeholders, recognition awards were handed out to the spa’s industry key contributors.

Many of the award winners are from traditional spa resorts in popular Asian countries such as Thailand, Bali, Philippines and Maldive but there were also significant newcomers to the spa scene such as India, Hong Kong, Malaysia and China. Do you recognise any of these winning spas? Would you not like to try them out at least once?

Or if anyone ever ask you to recommend a good spa in Asia for a break again, simply refer them to this winning list and your recommendation certainly won’t go wrong!

 
Destination Spa of the Year Ananda in the Himalayas, India
Urban Spa of the Year i.sawan Residential Spa & Club, Grand Hyatt Erawan, Bangkok
Day Spa of the Year Kirana Spa, Ubud, Bali
New Spa of the Year Quan Spa, JW Marriott Hotel, Mumbai, India
Spa Retreat of the Year COMO Shambhala Estate at Begawan Giri, Ubud, Bali
Medi-Spa of the Year Hippocrates Health Resort of Asia, The Farm at San Benito. Philippines
Spa Capital of the Year The Maldives
Spa Association of the Year Asia Pacific Spa And Wellness Council
Spa Event of the Year I-SPA Asia, Bangkok, Thailand
Spa Personality of the Year Sonu Shivdasani, Six Senses Resorts and Spas
Spa Academy of the Year Chiva-Som Academy, Thailand
In-Spa Training of the Year Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group
Spa Interior Design of the Year Chi, The Spa at the Shangri-la Pudong, Shanghai, China
Spa Exterior Design of the Year Four Seasons Resort, Langkawi, Malaysia
Spa Treatment of the Year Chi Spa, Shangri-La, Himalayan Healing Stone Massage
Mens Spa Treatment of the Year Chuan Spa, Langham Place Hotel, Hong Kong.
A Man’s World
Spa Product of the Year Elemis
Spa Cuisine of the Year The Farm at San Benito, Philippines
Spa Marketing of the Year Four Seasons Hotels and Resort
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Spa by the park and sea in urban Singapore!

Massage in the middle of swimming poolCan you imagine having a massage treatment in the middle of a swimming pool overlooking swaying coconut trees and the beautiful blue sea? Wow…. this must surely be your first reaction and a double “wow”, “wow” if you are about to find out that this is not some high-end luxury spa resort in Bali or Maldives but in urban, high-rise Singapore!

Welcome to this new spa located at the Labrador Park Nature Reserve, Singapore.

This newly opened spa is located in a refurbished British colonial house built in the 1930s at Labrador Park. (Labrador Park used to be a defensive stronghold for British forces against the Japanese during WWII. Many artillery and machine-gun bunkers and underground ammunition and communication tunnels can still be found in this Park. )

Entrance to SpaYou need to drive into Labrador Park, find the nearest public car park and then drive into the driveway of the spa building which is just besides this public car park. (You can also take a bus to drop off at Pasir Panjang Rd, just outside Labrador Park, and take a short walk in).

As you walk into the reception area, there is a waiting area decorated in a contemporary theme with luxurious sofas and large wooden tables. If you are a guest of the spa, you will walk past a curtain which serves as a divider between the public and private guest area. Immediately into the private area is a small lounge which serves as a rest area for spa customers and a small gym.

View from SpaLocated besides the lounge area are eight treatment rooms in various beautiful Oriental, Indonesian, Thai and Japanese themed suites. One of the treatment room has an outdoor jacuzzi in the open garden area (cordoned off with bamboo plants for privacy) and two other treatments room has indoor jacuzzi as well. All the treatment rooms are relatively large and are meant for a couple to use in comfort. The spa also has a outdoor swimming pool and in the middle of the pool is a floating glasshouse, which, at a request for that special occasion, can be turned into a couple’s treatment room as well.

The spa offers everything from scrubs, wraps, traditional massages for the head, body and feet and facials as well. I opted for a 60 minute Raintree Touch Massage (their signature treatment). It is a vigorous deep tissue massage that is good for undoing tight muscles, tired backs and can actually improve blood flow.

Other interesting treatments available at this spa, which I did not have time to try, includes Moor Mud Bath, Balinese Boreh Body Wrap, Eporex Mesotherapy, Paraffin Wax for feet etc. Prices ranges from S$50 to S$208.

After my massage, I was led to the spa lounge, which offers a menu of fast fat-burning light snacks that include sandwiches, organic food and juices. I find this a nice touch to end a massage session and find it disappointing that not many spas in Singapore offers this.

Overall, I am very happy with their service as well as the skill of their therapists. In addition to massages, guests can also use the swimming pool, gym as well as get generous discounts at the various restaurants located at Labrador Park. I also found that this spa has a special spa party package that anyone can organise for 4-8 friends and spend an evening at S$48 each with massage and food and drinks inclusive.

Location of Spa: Labrador Nature Reserve, off Pasir Panjang Rd, Singapore
Size of Spa: 8 massage treatment rooms, a small gym, lounge, shower room
Friendliness: Friendly receptionist, beauticians and masseurs
Facilities: Steam room, Jacuzzi, Shower room available.
Pricing: Minimum SGD110 for a one hour of aromatherapy massage. Other massage, slimming and facial treatments available. Members scheme and bulk massage packages are also available. Do check with the receptionist for such programs.

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