Amari Watergate, Bangkok:Thailand

Amari WatergateBangkok has always been a popular holiday destination for tourists from all over the world. Bangkok is the ideal holiday city because it has great shopping bargains, wonderful food, excellent nightlife, pleasant people, fascinating culture and history, awe-inspiring temples and palaces, great massages and many more enticing features.

Tourists from all over Asia tend to make Bangkok a quick weekend getaway holiday destination while those from further away such as Europe or USA may spend weeks and even months in Bangkok and other parts of Thailand.

Accommodation standard in Bangkok can differ in quality and prices tremendously. Unfortunately, Bangkok also suffer from massive traffic jams, crowded and noisy streets, a polluted environment and constant hot sun or torrential downpour. Tourists, especially from non-Asia countries will find their energy and strength sapped quickly by the sun and the noisy and crowded environment.

Here’s a recommendation for good hotel accommodation to stay healthy and constantly re-charged in Bangkok. Check into this excellent Amari Watergate hotel! Here’s why I am recommending this hotel:

  • Excellent location – Located in the middle of a shopping district so you never need to walk too far
  • Short walking distance to the Skytrain – Bangkok’s mass rapid transit system to beat the traffic jam
  • 5-star quality modern rooms and facilities
  • Great breakfast spread every morning
  • Street hawker food and excellent restaurants all round the hotel
  • Excellent in-house swimming pool, gym, spa and health facilities

The hotel lay smack in the middle of a busy and noisy street intersection filled with street-side vendors, large shopping malls and besides the infamous Pantip Plaza computer mall and the Pratunam fashion warehouses.

Amari WatergateComing back to the hotel from all the noise, heat and people is often a relief in itself. And after a day or two of Bangkok, you’ll somehow want to find your oasis of peace and the Amari hotel offer exactly that. They have a good swimming pool, an excellent gym and studio, two squash courts as well as a health centre that is maintained by Clark Hatch fitness centre on the 8th floor of the hotel.

Sun-tan at the pool or work out on the gym machines or practise your Yoga at the studio. Or use the sauna, steam room or the hot-pool at the health centre. I guarantee that it will drain away all the exhaustion from all the walking and shopping as well as re-charge you for the next shopping session! I particularly like the health centre as it is brand-new and the hot jacuzzi even has a large 42″ LCD for you to relax to!

And if this is not enough to re-charge you, there’s always the Sivara Spa, an excellent quality spa located at the same level where you can further relax to. Try out the 4-hand massage if you dare… you’ll never want to try any other kind of massage after this!

Amari Watergate Hotel
847 Petchburi Road Bangkok 10400
Bangkok, Thailand
Tel. +66 (0) 2653 9000
Fax. +66 (0) 2653 9045

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Massage Chair = Personal Live-in Masseuse?

Massage ChairA personal home massage chair has suddenly become a vogue item to have at home.

A few years ago, some people would have purchased a massage chair at home because they may be suffering from back pain, neck pain, buttock pain, headaches, and even leg pain and stress and hence would want a chair to release some discomfort at home.

In those days, most chairs would be made from artificial leather and offer only one or two mode of massage – mostly vibration and kneading. Most of these chairs cannot fully recline and to be honest, most were not good-looking and may not blend well in a home if you are a fussy home maker.

Most chairs would have cost about US$1,500 to US$2,500, and were mostly bought by children as a gift to their elderly parents or by the elderly themselves.

Fast forward to today – and you’ll find that the trend of buying massage chair is not a one-time fancy or fad but instead, massage chair has almost become a vogue item to buy for the home.

No longer is the massage chair bought by children for their elderly parents but most likely by the children for themselves or for their new homes. The new massage chairs of today are likely to be made from real leather or suede, are good looking, can fully recline, has multiple massage functions and can even massage or vibrate in accordance to music or a movie!

Hence, some people will simply want a nice massage chair that looks good in their living room or office so that they can relax and just listen to their surround sound movie or music system! For others who are still keen on ‘real massage features’, new massage chairs today can perform all of these massage functions: –

Kneading – also known as “shiatsu”, kneading rolls outward from the spine and feels much like 2 hands alternately rubbing your back.

Percussion/Tapping – this is the light “karate chopping” on a client’s back that you’ve probably seen before on TV. Increased blood flow and muscle stiffness relief is the benefit gained. It feels wonderful.

Rolling – Basically, wheels just roll up and down the muscles on either side of your spine. Here are the benefits: 1.) gentle moving of the spinal bones, and 2.) stretching of the spine and the muscles around it.

Foot and calf massager – many of the new chairs have an attached ottoman that has a calf and foot massage feature administered by an airbag system. This feature is a real “must”, especially if you spend a good portion of your day on your feet.

Full recliner – if you want your massage to be as deep as possible, you need to get a massage chair that has a reclining feature. And the further back the recline, the greater the intensity of the massage.

Prices has not only not fallen over the years but have gone steadily up especially with a number of new features and are generally between US$1,500 to US$8,000 depending on leather quality and number of fancy mechanism. Most of these chairs are manufactured in Japan or China under a few big Japanese brands such as Sanyo and Panasonic. In other parts of Asia, local brands such as Osim, Oto, VGO, Omega has sprung up and are active sellers of the home massage chair and other home health products.

If you live far away from shopping malls or prefer to shop online, you can buy new massage chair recliners at a good price at this massage chair online site. This company offers a 90 refund policy, ships internationally, is managed by a doctor and carry most of the major and reputable brands. By far, this is one of the best on-line website for massage chairs I have seen.

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Stay Motivated At Work!

I’m sure everyone of us had faced this before – going to work everyday and wishing we’re on holiday somewhere else! Yes, I face the same rut too; getting up every morning to go to work but in reality wishing I was on a spa holiday somewhere else, especially so when work is hectic and giving out too much stress!

Well, to stay motivated at work until the next holiday, here’s a video of a classy 6-star spa resort in ChiangMai, Thailand. Tip: Tell yourself you need to go to work to earn a pay to enjoy this!

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Massage and Back Pain Relief

Lower Back PainBack pain is a very common ailment for moms, gardeners, blue-collar workers, weekend sports warriors and sedentary office workers. Most back pain sufferers have tried traditional pain relief like muscle rub creams, muscle relaxant pills, chiropractors, and even physical therapy. If your pain is still nagging you, massage should be something you are willing to investigate.

Healthcare professionals are recognizing the value of massage therapy and recommending to their patients to include massage therapy as part of their pain management treatment plan. Today, many healthcare professionals, are in favor of using massage therapy, in additional to more traditional treatments.

A study on back pain and massage therapy conducted in 2001 at the University of Miami found that massage does lessen lower back pain, depression, anxiety and improve sleep. It also showed that massage improved range of motion and improved serotonin and dopamine levels (as reported in the International Journal of Neuroscience, 106, 131-145).

Research shows that massage has the following benefits to those who suffer from back pain:

  • It improves blood circulation, which aids in the relief of sore muscles from physical activity
  • It relaxes muscles so that range of motion can be improved
  • Relaxation also improves sleep, which can be a problem for those who suffer from back pain
  • It increases endorphin levels. These endorphins are chemicals that the body produces to make you feel good and which helps to manage pain

The massage therapy that has been the most beneficial to lower back pain sufferers has been “neuromuscular therapy“. This therapy is also called “trigger point myotherapy“.

This massage technique uses alternating levels of concentrated pressure for the areas of spasming muscles. The therapists uses the fingers, knuckles and elbow to apply the pressure. The Japanese Shiatsu and Chinese TuiNa massage therapy employ such massage methods and are hence suitable for pain relief massage.

When someone is suffering from back spasms the muscles are painful to the touch. The muscle is lacking in blood flow, which causes the pain, due to an excess of lactic acid. The lactic acid makes the muscle feel sore especially after physical activity.

Massage relaxes the muscle, which in turn, releases the lactic acid from the muscle. Now the muscle should be receiving more blood and thus more oxygen. Some patients will feel initial pain until the lactic acid is released from the muscle. The therapist will respond to the physical level of pain as experienced by the patient. The therapist will adjust the pressure based on what the client tells them.

The massage should never be overly painful. The patient will usually describe the pain as being a “good pain” when describing the pressure. The patient should experience a fading of soreness following the therapy after a day or two.

Pix Credit: http://images.jupiterimages.com

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Introduction to Pilates

PilatesYou may have noticed the increasing popularity of Pilates in your gyms and in popular media. In fact, one of the reasons behind Pilates popularity of late is that many Hollywood celebrities have embraced the exercise and hey…what’s good for the celebrities is good for us as well…isn’t it :-)

Pilates was created by Joseph Pilates around 1914. Joseph was living a very active life as both a boxer and a performer when the first World War began. During the war, Joseph was placed into an internment camp due to his German heritage. In the camp, he began to show his fellow bunkmates some techniques of exercise that he’d been working on for the past twenty years. His program incorporated both techniques that he had created, as well as drawing upon fitness regimens that were used in ancient Rome and Greece. It was believed that he also drew inspiration from wrestling, Yoga and Chinese Martial Arts.

As the exercise routine gained followers, Joseph worked hard to train new instructors to ensure that people were getting the proper benefits from the exercise.

Pilates is a system of over 500 different types of exercises that draw upon both the body and the mind. The exercises are designed to help make the body more flexible and strong and hence, many of the exercises are focused on building ‘the core’ of the body.

Pilates practitioners refer to ‘the core’ when they are speaking about the muscles of the abdomen, the back, and the pelvic region. Pilates incorporates the use of non-high-intensity routines so that one may feel even more energetic after performing the exercises. Practitioners tend to report a gain in strength as well as added flexibility and a better sense of balance.

Pilates can allow the individual to gain better posture and increased circulation of the joints through its many exercises. A participant can choose to practise Pilates exclusively or add on Pilates to their other fitness routine.

In addition to the positive effects Pilates has on the body, the mind can benefit as well. You’ll find yourself to be more aware of your body and Pilate can also prove to be an efficient method of stress relief.

The average pilates participant should practise between two and four times per week to achieve optimum result. If you’re interested in Pilates, you can do it either on your own through the use of books or videos to guide your practice or you can participate in group sessions in which you learn to enjoy pilates amongst others.

Pix credit: http://www.kingstonphysiotherapy.com

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Yoga at Home

I do Yoga regularly and try to practise at least twice a week at the gym. I spend another two days practising Yoga on my own at home because I find that I am spending too much time running back and forth to the gym and that Yoga is basically something you can practise alone at home.

If you are keen on doing Yoga at home as well, here’s the basic items you’ll need to start off:

1. A good non-slip Yoga mat
2. Tight gym clothes
3. A TV and a good instructor-led DVD or VHS video on Yoga so that you can practise along
4. Aromatherapy or fragrance burner to enhance the ambiance (Optional)
5. Soft music (Optional)

I normally rest for about an hour after dinner and then start my Yoga session at home. First, I’ll light up an aromatherapy candle or burner and then tone down the lights a notch or two. I find that building up the mood and ambiance contribute a lot to an enjoyable Yoga session.

Then, I’ll run the Yoga DVD video disc and follow along with the TV Yoga guru for an hour or so. I’ll next rest for half an hour or so before running a nice, warm hot shower. Then, I’ll drink down two glasses of plain water before turning in for the day.

I find that drinking two glasses of water at the start and end of the day help me flush off the toxins in my body. I also find that a round of Yoga practice followed by a hot shower let me fall asleep easily nowadays compared to a time prior to starting Yoga when I was always having a hard time falling asleep at night.

So, if you’re thinking of picking up a non-strenuous exercise or have insomnia problems at night, why not pick up my idea of doing an hour or so of Yoga at home. Home Yoga is completely a sustainable form of self-exercise for home and it does not take up a lot of space, equipments, time nor need a sporting partner.

Yoga is not as strenuous as a lot of other sports and is just the right exercise to do at home alone or with another family member. Yoga is both a therapeutic exercise for the mind – for it leaves you relaxed and serene after a session, and at the same time it is a also an exercise for the body for it tones up your muscle and loosen your ligaments.

If you need help in starting Yoga training or will feel more confident with a good instructor-led Yoga DVD video to follow along, you can pick up these video VHS tapes or DVD disc or even a Yoga exercise mat at this website!

Yoga DVD

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