Lifestyle.Comfort, WanChai, Hong Kong

When I last visited Hong Kong more than ten years ago, there were hardly any spa/massage or reflexology establishments. If there were any, they were mostly high-price spas hidden in high-class hotels. Today, you see them everywhere in the city, especially in areas where tourists tend to congregate.

Due to high rental costs in Hong Kong, you will find that most of these small spa or massage establishments are either in the basements or the 2nd or 3rd level of a building. You may see the bright signboard but you’ll need a bit of time to look around to hunt down the exact location. Try looking up or down and not just at street eye level.

In my opinion, Hong Kong is one city that MUST HAVE massage or reflexology shops in the tourist districts. Hong Kong is absolutely a shopping mecca and there is just so much shopping choice and variety, prices are low, quality is good, that one tends to shop and shop.

As a result of all these shopping, feet are tired, back are sore and arms are aching. There is nothing more welcoming that seeing the signboard of a massage or reflexology at this point of time!

I was in Wan Chai doing my shopping. Gosh, there’s this street full of shops and stalls selling mostly ladies clothes and accessories and they are good, cheap and well-made. In a short time, I had two shopping bags full and it’s still a decent walking distance to my hotel.

Although it was like 10:30pm in the night, this bright spa and beauty salon signboard, Lifestyle.Comfort,  attracted me. There were some posters pasted on the wall as well. I do need a massage badly! The prices indicated seem to be reasonable (about US$35) for a 45mins Ancient Oriental Accupressure Massage. I decided to give it a try and to check the environment.

Lifestyle.Comfort, is located on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th floor of a narrow building. You will need to climb up a narrow flight of stairs to reach the entrance of the salon. As you enter, you will find the reception counter in the middle, on the right, a section for facial treatments and on the left, hairstylists attending to customers.

I told the petite lady boss my preference of treatment and I was led to the 3rd floor to the massage area. As I walked towards the treatment rooms, there were two rows of foot massage chair (4 on each side). To my surprise, all the massage chair were filled with customers. Most were tired tourists like me!

The massage room is compact with just space for two massage beds placed side by side. The therapist walked in and immediately started the treatment. Throughout the 45mins of treatment, I only spoke to the therapist twice and she left me alone quietly to slowly enjoy the treatment. It was absolute heaven for shopping aches. It was so good that I even dozed off during the treatment.

After the treatment, I was led down by the therapists to the 2nd floor to make payment.  While settling the bill, the lady boss asked for my feedback and she gladly told me that they offer a special price for reflexology and massage during non-peak hours (10am to 4pm). I was so happy to hear that.  In my mind, I was telling myself….. I could come back tomorrow since the hotel I’m staying is just a 10 minutes walk away.

If you are ever do your shopping in Wanchai, Hong Kong, and need a little mental and physical break, why not check out this little beauty and massage boutique.

Location of Lifestyle.Comfort
108 Johnston Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Size: 4 storey narrow shop building. Walk up a narrow flight of steps.
Facilities: Hairdressing, facial and beauty, foot reflexology and massage treatment rooms available.

Friendliness: Polite staff and good massage therapists.
Pricing: Starts from US$20 for a hair treatment, beauty, foot or body massage. Discounts for multiple treatments available.


Review: Wharney Guangdong Hotel, Hong Kong

wharney guangdong hotelI was in Hong Kong for a week recently to attend a conference and trade exhibition at the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Centre (HKECC), Wan Chai, Hong Kong Island.

I have not been to Hong Kong for nearly 10 years. Hong Kong, and in particular, the business district of Wan Chai remain as busy, bustling and crowded as it was before. Hotel rooms remain in high demand,  expensive and small in size. After some intensive search, I identified Wharney Guangdong Hotel as the ideal hotel for my stay in Hong Kong.

This basic but very well located hotel is great if you are attending a conference at HKECC, have a meeting in one of the many office buildings in Wan Chai or simply want to sample life smack in the middle of busy Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Academy of Performance Arts is also within walking distance.

The hotel is only a short 10-15 minutes walk to HKECC via sheltered overhead bridges and linkways so you’re protected from the weather and traffic all the time. It is also a short 3-5 minutes walk to the nearest Wanchai MTR (subway) station, taxis and buses are easily available and there are many shops, restaurants and eating places all around.

The hotel is very busy and crowded with business and tourist guests checking in and out all the time. Like most Hong Kong hotels, the rooms are generally small and tight. If you are not careful, it is very easy to bang into a wall or furniture if you move around too much!

Despite the small size, room rates are very expensive. As an example, I paid US$180 a night for a small room with no breakfast, internet access or airport pickup. This must surely be one of the most expensive hotel rate after Tokyo, Japan in Asia.

Fortunately, internet cafes, cheap cafes(cha chan tang) and airport buses are easily available in this area and make up for what the hotel does not give you.

The hotel is also located smack middle in a particular stretch of Wan Chai which is infamous amongst Western expatriates and tourists as a pub, strip dance and rowdy entertainment zone. When night fall, you’ll see scantily-clad Filipinos calling out to customers to patronise their entertainment joints.

Despite the seemingly rowdy nature of these establishments, it must be said that children, ladies, couples and families are not disturbed at all and it is perfectly safe to walk around at night to look for supper or pick up a hot drink from many of the convenience stores around the area. I guess it is only in unique places like Hong Kong where you can find a strip club and family restaurant side by side and they co-exist happily in their own space.

Will I recommend this hotel to anyone going to Hong Kong? Definitely if you are attending a trade show or seminar at HKECC or a meeting in a Wan Chai office for both the location, transportation and food convenience.

Location of Wharney Guangdong Hotel
Hong Kong Island, Wan Chai, 57-73 Lockhart Road, Hong Kong
Size: 12 stories with 358 rooms
Facilities: Gym, lounge, swimming pool, non-smoking floor

Friendliness: Polite staff and efficient receptionists
Pricing: Starts from US$150 for off-peak to US$280 for peak season for a normal room


World’s highest concentration of foot massage shops?

PPPYou can literally find 20 to 30 foot massage shops side by side, floor by floor, at the People’s Park Complex in Chinatown, Singapore. Can this be the world’s highest concentration of foot massage shops?

People’s Park Complex has been around for nearly 30 years but remain a very popular shopping mall in Chinatown, Singapore. It is surrounded by other old-time popular shopping malls such as People’s Park Centre, Chinatown Point and Lucky Chinatown. These shopping malls are very popular with local bargain-hunting heartlanders of Singapore, camera-toting tourists and recently, new immigrants from mainland China.

The shops in these shopping malls are an interesting mix to cater for their varied clients. They range from traditional Chinese medicine shops, money exchange bureaus, clothing shops, shoe shops, bookshops, goldsmiths, jade shops, travel agents, electronic gadget shops, eateries and to our subject of study – foot massage shops.

You can find other large concentration of foot massage shops in other countries such as Bukit Bintang of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia or Patphong of Bangkok, Thailand but these are usually large massage shops and are found amongst various different types of shops.

At People’s Park Complex, the foot massage shops are small, and are literally next to one another, floor after floor. You can and will be accosted by massage shop proprietors literally every step of the way – calling for you to patronise their shops.

Most of these foot massage shops are small, between 2 to 4 massage chairs, with the biggest only with perhaps 8 to 10 chairs. Many shops are simply renovated, with few curtains or partitions for privacy and some even have massage chairs that seem to show much wear and tear.

These massage shops has sprung up over the last one decade, ever since foot massage became popular 10 years ago in Singapore. Many close down quickly only to be replaced by yet another similar shop. Many of these shops are staffed by middle age or old folks and their customers remain mostly middle-age and old folks and the occasional curious tourist. Most of them are relatively cheap; at about S$20-S$25 for 45mins to an hour, and they can hardly charge more due to the cut-throat competition and the basic amenities of their shops.

Will I patronise one of these shops? I doubt so; call me bias if you want but I don’t trust these shops. I started enjoying foot reflexology when I was working in China where they have raised foot massage to an art; what with foot bath, soft music, luxurious chairs and young and energetic foot masseurs who had trained for years in Chinese medical schools and understand body meridians thoroughly.

Many of the shops here look like they have been hurriedly put together, with old age masseurs who look like they just picked up the skills yesterday and reek terribly of Chinese ointment smell (tie da you). I also certainly do not fancy having my foot massaged while sitting close to a passage way where people are passing by every other minute!

If you are a curious tourist who may not have time to seek around for the best foot massage experience, you can certainly try one of these shops for that one time experience. However, if you are seeking a therapeutic experience in a soothing environment, then there are certainly better choices elsewhere.


Eat today, detox tomorrow

First we had the Mad Cow Disease. Then we had Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. Now, we even have toxic Melamine in our milk. Wave after wave of food and health scare! When will it be safe to trust our food, water and air ever again?

Even without these major health scare, we still have to struggle with daily health and food inadequacies – there are pesticide in our vegetable, micro-organism in our water, altered DNA in our poultry and polluted environment of our fishes – as farmers and businesses seek to maximise their profit dollars from our daily food supply!

That’s why modern scientific health experts chant the same mantra:

1. Eat lightly, eat widely
2. Exercise regularly
3. Get plenty of fresh air

In addition to scientific health experts, those of us who believes in alternative health will want to add:

1. Detoxify regularly
2. Meditate
3. Avoid or eat less meat

I personally believe in detoxification and practise it as much as I can. If you too believe in detoxification but do not know where to begin, whom to trust or how to go about, let me recommend this excellent body detox website by Dr Janet Starr Hull.

Dr Hull website is full of articles and research materials on scientific detoxification. Just reading from her website will put you in a good stead on how and why you should go about detoxing your body. Her website is chockablock of diet guides, detox books, vitamin and supplement information.

You can even order a personal hair analysis toxin test and a personal detoxification kit via her website. This is what she says of the detoxification kit:

Detox kit

The Detox Kit teaches you how to remove toxins using your body’s water, urine, fecal waste, skin and blood. The Detox Program is natural, and can be used for your lifetime as a “maintenance program” or if future health concerns develop. The Detoxification Program is safe for all ages and health conditions because it is a natural process using the simple nutrition techniques and information in Dr. Hull’s 10-Step Detoxification Program.

Dr. Hull is not just a nutritionist. She’s also a geologist and international geographer, a licensed Environmental Hazardous Waste Specialist and Toxicologist, a former fire fighter and college professor. She had a change in career after she “cured” herself from an “incurable” thyroid disease, Grave’s Disease in 1991. She was told she would die if she didn’t agree to drastic and expensive medical procedures; yet, her doctors didn’t know what caused her “fatal” thyroid disorder, or why she was suddenly deathly ill, or how to cure her disease. They only knew how to suppress her symptoms – destroy her thyroid with radiation – and keep her alive using medications for the rest of her lifetime.

She applied her environmental skills to help find the “cause” of her disease instead of having her thyroid destroyed. She discovered the cause of her illness – aspartame. She removed aspartame from her life and was healed within thirty days. She has been perfectly healthy ever since. No surgery, no medications, and NO aspartame!

The personal detoxification kit includes a DVD, a audio CD, a guidebook, pH test strips, diet and eating charts, suggested detox schedules and even a toxin guide. If you are serious about personal detoxification for better health, you should seriously consider this kit.

You can check out the detoxification kit at Dr Janet Starr Hull website.

Even if you have not reach a serious consideration about personal detox, you should still visit her website for generic health and toxin information. With today’s food and health crises coming one after another, you never know when you need a handy detox and diet guide in quick time!


Asian Spas and massage in New York, USA

Our regular blog reader, Reed, contributed this article on the growing Asian spa and massage scene in New York, USA where he lives. You are welcomed to contribute articles too! Just contact me.

Asian spas and massages are fast gaining popularity in New York, USA. With newer and better spas opening up every other day, the popularity of Asian massages is increasing at a fast pace. Today people realize the benefits of a good body massage and go for it not only to relieve stress and promote relaxation but also to gain other physiological benefits.

Therapeutic massages are one of the fastest growing fields in healthcare with more and more people looking at prevention and alternative solutions rather than medications and operative procedures. Let us now take a look at the various physical and mental benefits of spas and massages.

Physical And Mental Benefits Of Massages
Given below is not a comprehensive list of the various benefits of a good body massage. You actually need to take one to know how good it makes you feel!

  • A massage helps relieve stress and gain relaxation.
  • It loosens up all muscle tension and stiffness.
  • Discomfort during pregnancy can be reduced with the help of a good massage.
  • Strained muscles, pain and swelling as well as scar tissue heal faster with a good massage.
  • Joint flexibility and range of motion also increases.
  • Fosters complete peace of mind.
  • Helps keep the mind alert and relaxed.
  • Improves one’s ability to observe stress indications and respond accordingly.
  • Lastly, a good body massage satisfies the need for a caring touch that emotes a feeling of well being in an individual.

Kinds Of Asian Massage Therapies
Asian body massages are known to work with the body’s energetic system to promote,
maintain and restore health. Read on to know the kinds of Asian massage therapies
available in New York today.

A holistic form of Indian medicine that is made from complete natural products. The treatment is designed to bring the mind, body and spirit of a person into balance. Ayurveda massage techniques are famous all over the world and is one of the most popular massage treatment offered by New York spas.

Thai massage: Straight from Thailand, this is one of the newer massage techniques
that are being offered by New York spas. Though the tradition of the Thai massages dates back to almost 2,500 years, it has been introduced in US spas only recently. It uses passive stretching along with pressure to relieve muscle and joint tension and balance the body’s energy systems. The main purpose of a Thai massage is to heal a person physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Shiatsu: Shiatsu is a kind of body work that has originated in Japan. The purpose of
Shiatsu is to restore a healthy flow of energy in an individual’s body. A gentle pressure is applied along specific points known as meridians. Several other techniques like rocking, stretching and joint rotations are also a part of Shiatsu bodywork.

Acupressure: There are a huge number of benefits associated with the acupressure
procedure. Accupressure used to be offered exclusively in New York Chinatown but is now increasingly offered by some of the more upmarket New York spas as New Yorkers start to understand and appreciate the benefits of alternative treatments.

Amma Therapy: This Asian therapy is a specialized somatic, skilled touch therapy.
The procedure combines deep tissue manipulation along with application of pressure,
friction and touch to specific points in the body to provide relief to all muscles
and joints.

The author of this article writes about New York City entertainment such as <A
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