Photo Collection: Jordan, 2010

The highlight of Year 2010 was a holiday trip to Jordan in the Middle-East. You can read about the trips here:

1. Marriot Hotel at the Dead Sea review

2. Six Senses Spa Review

3. Evason hotel review

In keeping with the theme of this blog, the articles are mostly hotels and spa reviews. I did take many wonderful photos of the trip and during a quiet weekend, had some opportunity to organise these photos. Here’s some better photos that I would like to share with you. Please let me know if these photos are okay with you or you would prefer that I stick back to just doing spa and hotel reviews. Thanks and I hope you enjoy the photos!

The Holy Land
The Holy Land as viewed from Jordan

Biblical and history enthusiasts will be fascinated
Biblical and history enthusiasts will be fascinated

Mosaic art has a long history in Madaba, Jordan
Mosaic art has a long history in Madaba, Jordan

Mosaic art in a Greek Orthodox Church
Mosaic art in a Greek Orthodox Church

More artwork in the Greek Orthodox Church
More artwork in the Greek Orthodox Church”

The mostly dry and arid landscape in Jordan
The mostly dry and arid landscape in Jordan

Castle in Karak that has seen occupation from different rulers
Castle in Karak that has seen occupation from different rulers

I met a Singapore student studying in a Jordan University here
I met a Singapore student studying in a Jordan University here

The tunnel leading to Petra Valley
The tunnel leading to Petra Valley

Does this remind you of the Indiana Jones movie?
Does this remind you of the Indiana Jones movie?

An unforgettable scene from Petra
An unforgettable scene from Petra

No visit to Jordan is complete without a visit to Petra
No visit to Jordan is complete without a visit to Petra

The temples, houses and coliseums were etched from stone
The temples, houses and coliseums were etched from stone

The 'main street' of Petra Valley
The ‘main street’ of Petra Valley

Camels and donkeys are available for the tired visitors
Camels and donkeys are available for the tired visitors

The temple of Petra
The temple of Petra

An ancient civilization that curved an entire temple from stone
An ancient civilization that curved an entire temple from stone

Look at the humans to get a proportion of the size of the temple
Look at the humans to get a proportion of the size of the temple

The temple from up close
The temple from up close

The temple from up close
The temple from up close

It's a long and sometimes steep climb. Hiring a donkey can be helpful
It’s a long and sometimes steep climb. Hiring a donkey can be helpful

A rest and cool drink in a cave can also be helpful
A rest and cool drink in a cave can also be helpful

Wadi Rum - Another fascinating desert landscape
Wadi Rum – Another fascinating desert landscape

A Bedouin camp in the desert
A Bedouin camp in the desert

Climbing up the golden desert sand
Climbing up the golden desert sand

Fascinating belly dance at the hotel
Fascinating belly dance at the hotel

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Looking back: 3 years and counting…

I can’t believe that I started this blog in June 2007. This means this blog is now exactly 3 years old!

As of June 10 2010, I have posted 65 spa and massage reviews. An average of 22 reviews a year or 2 reviews a month! This is not counting places which I found too lousy to write a review or places where I have been too busy or lazy to follow up with a proper review. What a number of scrubs, massage and facials I must have gone for! What a lot of money I must have spent!

Really, it was all in good fun! Before I started this blog, there were many times when I have always said… ‘how I wished some-one had made an objective review so that I do not need to throw good money after a lousy spa’… well, I couldn’t find that some-one and so it became me…

And can you believe it that I went from a reader of 1 – myself – to an average of 500 readers a day after 3 years? It is a good feeling that I know 500 like-minded ‘spa friends’ are visiting me each day!

Visitors a day

Along the way, I have made many friends. Spa owners, other spa reviewers, spa customers and even a couple of magazine editors. We have exchanged views, traded opinions and lamented at spa industry practices.

Most of all, I appreciate readers’ feedback, encouragement and suggestions.

More than a year ago, another reader and myself decided to collaborate on a couple of other websites. These are not spa reviews but rather, websites that collect and collate health and wellness articles – articles which has been written in simple and non-jargon language.

Just like my spa reviews, I like to keep a a catalog of personalised information tugged away for perpetual and repeated use. I like them neat, clear, organised and easily available.

Sarah and myself share that passion. We also believe that too much information and too much jargon can kill one’s enthusiasm for a subject. Just like my spa review, we decided to take matters into our own hand and organise our own library of useful information and knowledge.

Initially, we wanted to include these health and wellness articles into my spa review blog. We decided it would dilute my spa review direction and decided they should have their own website to keep the message clear.

Hence, two websites were born: http://www.health-wellness-care.com and http://www.beauty-fitness-secrets.com

Here’s a sample of articles for health-wellness-care:

Health-wellness header

Vitamins and our Health
What is Diabetes?
What is Prostate Cancer?
Arthritis
What is Hepatitis C?
Overcoming Addictions
Stroke (New!)
Lower Cholesterol
Skin cancer
Breast Cancer
Malignant melanoma
When Lymphoma strikes!
Conquering allergies
Sleeping Disorder (New)
Depression (New)and many more…

These are day-to-day health issue articles written in clear, concise, layman language. Put it this way; these are everyday health issues you or I may encounter to ourselves, loved ones or friends. When we need these information, we want them to be easily available, easy to understand and easy to refer to seek further specialised help from that point onwards. I hope http://www.health-wellness-care.com can fulfill that task.

Here’s the sample for the beauty-fitness-secrets.com website:

Beauty Fitness Header

Nurturing Self confidence
Start a running regimen
Muscle Building
Healthy Smile
Beauty Secrets Revealed
Skin care secrets
Sun Tan dangers!
Causes of Hair Loss
Speed reading
Quit Smoking!
Let’s Do Pilates!and many more…

As much as we go for massages and spas to rejuvenate ourselves, this is not enough. We need to exercise, eat well and follow certain skin and toning routines to keep us in good confidence and shape. These articles bring you the basics of fitness, food and beauty that will enable you to remain young, healthy and certainly beautiful in mind and body. Go check out: http://www.beauty-fitness-secrets.com

Thanks once again for your readership, feedback and encouragement. Keep your emails coming, in private or through the public comments.

I’m very keen to see if readership continue to grow because I am thinking of starting a discussion forum for spa and wellness in Asia once we reach a certain critical mass. Let me know if you want to encourage the start of a reader discussion forum.

Let’s see what else we can do in the next 3 years…

Disclaimer: Sarah and myself are not medical professionals. We are collecting and collating information articles related to health and wellness. Please do not use these information as a substitute for professional medical advice. Always see a medical doctor for all health and wellness related matters.

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The history of Tie Da Clinics

While we associate massage with therapeutic and relaxation purpose today, massage did not have such connotation when I was growing up.

At that time, massage was more associated with Tie-Da Shi Fu or literally, Iron-Strike Master. In those days, people with bone, tendon, ligament or muscle injuries usually do not go to a hospital but would rather visit a Tie-Da clinic.

Tie-Da clinics are not run by Western or Chinese trained physicians but more often than not, some-one who is a bone-setter that has come out from a pugilistic, acrobatic or lion dance background.

In those days, troupes or schools that practised Chinese martial arts, acrobat performance or lion dance will usually have one or two resident experts, often time the school or troupe master (Shi-Fu), in bone-setting or massage that comes with treating falls, injuries and sparring mishaps suffered during training or performances. The usual injuries are broken bones, slipped joints, injured ligaments, bruises and sore muscles and they are usually treated with Tie-Da You (Massage ointment), Kao Yao or Koyok (Medicated herbal patches), bandages and vigorous massage.

As the skills and reputation of these resident experts spread, they began to expand beyond their schools or troupes and started treating members of the general public; usually from the premises of their schools or troupes. Soon, every large resident area would have a Tie-Da clinic that see long lines as people with broken bones (work injuries), slipped shoulder or elbow (sporting students), twisted ankles (office ladies), muscle pain (falls and injuries) come for treatment.

Most treatments consist of local application of herbal ointment or medication and the vigorous rubbing of these ointment onto the affected muscle or joint. There are also pulls and stretches for slipped joints, tendons, ligaments and bones. Many will come out wrapped in bandages and reeking of herbal medication smell.

Long lines of patients, muffled screams while under treatment and the strong herbal smell of the herbal ointment and medication used remains etched in my childhood memories.

Medicated Oil

Chinese Medicated Plaster

Herbal Medicated Ointment and Plaster are popularly used in Tie-Da treatment

Many of these Tie-Da clinic would make and manufacture their own concoction of Tie-Da ointment and Tie-Da Koyok. Most will only use it within their clinics, some will make patrons buy them home for self-application and some go on to become millionaires by mass-producing them in factories for Asian markets and consumers all over the world.

Till today, modern version of these medicated ointment and patches remain immensely popular with Asian consumers. (You can purchase some at this website)

We call such Tie-Da clinics as Wai-Shang (External injuries) clinics and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) clinics, which employ traditional Chinese-trained physicians, as Nei-Shang (Internal injuries) clinics.

As modern Western medicine becomes popular, such Tie Da clinics began to recede from the limelight.

At the same time, TCM clinics which were also beginning to lose popularity to Western doctors and clinics, began to emphasise the massage aspect of their treatment repertoire such as Tiu-Na(literally Push-Pull massage), Ba-Guan (moxibustion) and Gua-sha.

Soon, a new industry, which solely concentrate on Chinese massage and treatment, sprouted forth and became popular. Such treatment centres are the subject of many reviews within this blog. Do read them.

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

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Yet another beauty chain closes suddenly

BEAUTY chain Wax in the City has closed, leaving thousands of its customers with unclaimed amounts on their packages totalling several thousand dollars.

The chain closed its last outlet in Orchard Central mall on March 25. Its other outlets – in Tanjong Pagar and Circular Road – closed from late last year.

It is unclear exactly how many clients have pre-paid sessions, but 10 who spoke to The Straits Times had each bought packages worth between $535 and $1,688.

Most said they learnt of the chain, which began operations in 2008, through cold calls from the outlet’s managers offering discounted waxing and manicure services. They would then be given the hard sell after attending an introductory session.

More than 200 customers have gone to the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) for help; it is understood that 40 others have filed police reports. And almost 300 have banded together on social networking site Facebook to share information on what they can do.

Bank manager Daphne Low, 33, paid $1,688 for a package last May. She said she managed to use just $600 worth of services because it was hard to secure appointments.

‘I called them so many times to try to book an appointment, and I could not get through,’ she said. ‘Then, last week when I finally got through, I was told that the spa had closed down.’

She has since made a police report and filed a complaint with Case and a claim with the Small Claims Tribunal.

Ms Maria Gonzalez, 28, forked out $535 for a package on March 14 but did not even get to use it.

‘I feel so cheated and just so upset,’ said the marketing manager, who has filed a claim with the Small Claims Tribunal.

Attempts by The Straits Times to contact the chain’s director, Mr Zhuo Weihua, 27, a Singaporean, were unsuccessful.

The Straits Times visited his home in Boon Lay yesterday, where his father said he had not seen him for some time and did not know he ran such a business.

According to manicurist Sally Li, who had worked at the company for just three months, staff were given a day’s notice of the closure.

‘They were still selling new packages till the very end,’ said the Chinese national, who signed a two-year contract with the company. ‘They just told us we didn’t have to come to work the next day. Now I have to leave the country, or try to find a new job.’

The abrupt closure is the latest in a series that has rocked the beauty and wellness industry recently.

Clients were left high and dry last November when Wellness Village suddenly closed its outlets at the Pan Pacific Hotel and Pagoda Street. Less than five weeks later, Simply Spa at the Parkroyal Hotel on Kitchener Road closed.

Case’s executive director Seah Seng Choon said the association will contact Mr Zhuo to seek redress. He urged consumers to file with the Small Claims Tribunal.

Mr Seah’s advice to consumers: Pay as you use.

‘Consumers need to understand that prepaying for packages involves risk such as sudden company closures. It also puts them in a tight spot if systems are down and they can’t make bookings,’ he said. ‘There is no way for a company to guarantee that it will not shut down before a customer’s package is used up.’

The police are investigating the matter.

Article credit:
Tue, Apr 06, 2010 The Straits Times

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AsiaSpa Awards 2009

Asia has it’s own Oscar version of the best spa destinations in Asia. Once a year, the spa and wellness industry get together to celebrate the finest amongst themselves.

Have you been to any of these award winning spas? If you have, why not tell us more about these spas and let us all share why these spas are so deserving of their awards!

Asia Spa Awards

Dated: 13 November 2009

Last night the winners of the fifth AsiaSpa Awards, presented by AsiaSpa magazine, the region’s most recognised spa and wellness publication, were announced and honoured at a glittering evening in Hong Kong. Celebrating the best in innovation and quality in spas around the region, the 27 categories voted on by 28 independent judges were won by spas, spa personalities, associations and resorts that have set the benchmarks for quality and service in the region.

It was a night of glitz and glamour as Asia’s spa community came together to celebrate its finest. Themed “La BelleÉpoque”, the event saw guests dressed to the nines in their most elegant 1920s fashion. Women dressed in their finest feathers, jewels and silky dresses, while the men came in fedoras, vests and suits.

The big winners of the night included Thailand which won for “Destination Spa of the Year” for Six Senses Destination Spa Phuket as well as “Asian Spa Capital of the Year”. Green T. House in Beijing also won for “Day Spa of the Year” as well as “Spa Design of the Year”. “Spa Event of the Year” went to the Global Spa Summit held at Interlaken, Switzerland. In the first year for the category “Best Children’s Spa Menu of the Year”, the Ice Cream Spa at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island emerged as the category’s debut winner.

“The year has been a particularly tough one for the spa and wellness industry, yet some spas, brands and resorts have come out even stronger than before. The highly respected ASA are there to recognise the very best of the best and push forward the whole industry to higher standards.” said Olivier Burlot, Managing Director of Blu Inc Media.

“Asia currently has the largest number of spas under development of any region in the world, a fact that is reflectedin the magazine’s pages,” said AsiaSpa’s Editor-in-Chief, Rebecca Walker. “We are looking forward to an exciting 2010.”

Hosted at Hong Kong’s classy Armani Bar, guests enjoyed buffet treats and musical beats supplied by the bar. Bombay Sapphire cocktails flowed freely and Baccarat’s stunning glass jewellery was showcased by the presenters. Guests walked away with special gifts from Aromatherapy Associates, spa vouchers from City of Dreams in Macau, Fiji Water, LCN products and Baan body products.

The winners of the AsiaSpa Awards 2009 are:

Destination Spa of the Year: Six Senses Destination Spa, Phuket, Thailand

Urban Spa of the Year: Bliss Spa, W Hotel, Hong Kong

Day Spa of the Year: Green T. House, Beijing

New Spa of the Year: The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Sanya

Spa for Men of the Year: Chuan Spa at Langham Place Mongkok, Hong Kong

Spa Retreat of the Year: COMO Shambhala Retreat, Uma Ubud, Bali

Eco-Spas of the Year: Spa by Mandara, Alila Villas Hadahaa, Maldives

Socially Responsible Spa of the Year: The Shinta Mani Spa, Cambodia

Medi-Spa of the Year: S Medical Spa, Bangkok

Asian Spa Capital of the Year: Thailand

Spa Association of the Year: APSWC – Asia-Pacific Spa & Wellness Coalition

Spa Event of the Year: Global Spa Summit

Spa Personality of the Year: Karina Stewart, Co-founder, Brand & Concept Director, Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary

In-Spa Training of the Year: CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La

Spa Academy of the Year: Banyan Tree Spa Academy

Spa Design of the Year: Green T. House, Beijing

Best Children’s Spa Menu of the Year: Ice Cream Spa, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

Spa Treatment of the Year: “Hilot Trilogy”, Mandala Spa & Villas, Boracay

Holistic Treatment of the Year: “Sound and Stone”, Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat, Australia

Men’s Spa Treatment of the Year: “Man Space Healing Balance Massage”, i.sawan Residential Spa & Club, Grand Hyatt, Erawan Bangkok

Spa’s Therapist Team of the Year: Mandarin Oriental

Spa Product of the Year: Algotherm

Anti-Ageing Product of the Year: Aromatherapy Associates, ’Fine Line Face Oil’

Natural Product of the Year: ilã, ’ilã Face Oil for Glowing Radiance’

Men’s Product of the Year: Pevonia, ’Easy-Glide Shaving Emulsion’

Spa Cuisine of the Year: The Farm, Philippines

Spa Marketing of the Year: CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La

Source of article: http://www.asiaspa.com

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More bad press for Singapore spas

Er… is the spa industry really going downhill or has the Singapore press started a bad press campaign against the spa industry? This must be the 3rd newspaper article in less than a week about bad spa experiences in Singapore.

Do you have similar horror stories about spa experiences in other countries? Please share with us if you have come across spa bad experience, cheating cases or bad service in spas in Singapore and other countries as well.

In the meantime, here’s the ‘horror’ story from a spa-goer in Singapore…

Burnt by slimming treatment
By Amanda Yong

YOU often hear of slimming treatments claiming to “burn stubborn fat” off your tummy. One housewife tried doing just that in an unusual beauty treatment – and got burnt.

Madam Li Mei Gui, 35, is now left with horrific scars on her back, one as big as a two-dollar note.

The Singapore permanent resident from Malaysia was enticed by a local spa’s promise of a “fat-burning treatment” that claimed to reduce the fat on her belly.

She visited the spa in Ang Mo Kio and tried out the procedure on 28 Oct.

We are not naming the spa for legal reasons.

Her son, 9, and daughter, 7, were at school. Her husband was at work and didn’t know she would be going for the treatment.

“I didn’t tell him because I thought it was just a small matter,” she said in Mandarin. But it was no small matter.

During the procedure, Madam Li lay on her front in one of the spa’s treatment rooms. Her lower back and waist were left exposed for the treatment.

The therapist placed a towel on her waist and poured an alcoholic fluid on the towel.

The procedure was to have been carried out on her back and her front, but it could not be ascertained which treatment came first.

All Madam Li could remember was turning back and seeing the therapist light up the towel, which started to burn.

“I was so scared when I saw the fire (on the towel). I wanted to ask her what she was doing, but it was too late,” she said.

Within a few seconds, the fire on the towel had spread to her bare skin.

She felt a sharp burning sensation on her back and screamed in pain.

Realising that Madam Li was on fire, the therapist immediately threw a wet towel onto her back, dousing the flames.

She also put ice cubes on the burnt area to soothe the pain.

Madam Li was so traumatised and in such pain that she left the spa without raising a fuss.

“I was in so much pain that I just couldn’t say a word. That half an hour (of treatment) was so painful that I just wanted to get out (of the spa) as soon as possible,” she said.

Huge burn marks

When she arrived home, she showed her husband her injuries.

Her husband, a 40-year-old pastry chef, who wished to be known only as Mr Chen, told Shin Min Daily News that he saw angry blisters, “some long and some round” on his wife’s back.

There were also huge burn marks, one as long as 20cm.

Read the rest of the article here: http://www.asiaone.com/Health/Women%2527s%2BMatters/Story/A1Story20091118-180699.html

Story credit: www.asiaone.com

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[Asia’s Best Spa Resorts and Massage Therapy Review] New Comment On: Wu You Lifestyle Therapy, Singapore

There is a new comment on the post “Wu You Lifestyle Therapy, Singapore”.

Wu You Lifestyle Therapy, Singapore

Author: John Doe
Comment:
I am on the mailing list of www.paddleculture.com – received this when I joined the site. Well, that is my discovery; hope that’s of help to u.

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Wu You Lifestyle Therapy, Singapore

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[Asia’s Best Spa Resorts and Massage Therapy Review] New Comment On: Wu You Lifestyle Therapy, Singapore

There is a new comment on the post “Wu You Lifestyle Therapy, Singapore”.

Wu You Lifestyle Therapy, Singapore

Author: John Doe
Comment:
www.WuYouSpa.com, as of coming 29 Aug 2009, is fully owned by www.PaddleCulture.com – a Premier Paddling Company who specializes in Dragonboating, Kayaking, Team Building Programmes, Canoe Polo & SEA Expeditions.

www.PaddleCulture.com bought into the SPA business to provide our clients, MOE clients, Uniformed Groups & National Athletes, a place to treat their sports injuries. We advocate not just SPORTS but rather HOLISTIC HEALTH.

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Wu You Lifestyle Therapy, Singapore

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[Asia’s Best Spa Resorts and Massage Therapy Review] New Comment On: Wu You Lifestyle Therapy, Singapore

There is a new comment on the post “Wu You Lifestyle Therapy, Singapore”.

Wu You Lifestyle Therapy, Singapore

Author: John Doe
Comment:
Well, ermm .. how can I possibly describe? Because it just happened? I just discovered it!

www.WuYouSpa.com purchased by www.PaddleCulture.com

Both sites are operational and are independent sites. You go to the Spa Website to check out their offerings BUT you go to Paddle Culture’s to check out what they are offering for any of us who sign up with them on their website a solid promotion at the SPA. Really, it is 36/h. You just go check out the site yourself then check out the spa yourself! The male/female therapists are all damn good and you can feel it is a very happy place!

Anyway, ‘enuff said, just surf on it and do some self-discovery – that’s always the best thing to do anyway; it may work for me but not you – different folks different strokes but just trust me at least to sign up at Paddle Culture and visit www.WuYouSpa.com yourself.

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Wu You Lifestyle Therapy, Singapore

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[Asia’s Best Spa Resorts and Massage Therapy Review] Comment: “Wu You Lifestyle Therapy, Singapore”

New comment on your post #95 “Wu You Lifestyle Therapy, Singapore”
Author : Floatingzen (IP: 141.161.149.6 , 141.161.149.6)
E-mail : info@best-spa-massage.com
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Whois : http://ws.arin.net/cgi-bin/whois.pl?queryinput=141.161.149.6
Comment:
Wow! Most interesting concept.. Tell us more or invite us to check out both concepts and we’ll do a review here.

Katherine Xie

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Wu You Lifestyle Therapy, Singapore

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