Beauty, spa and wellness trade show

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Are you a professional in the spa and wellness industry? Or a very curious onlooker?

Well, you’ll be glad that a trade exhibition for the spa and wellness industry will be held in Singapore soon. Beauty and wellness trade visitors can check out the spa and wellness industry in Singapore and Asia at the Intimate World Asia from 15 – 16 July, 2010.

The two days will see fashion, spa and beauty industry players and operators search for potential trade and partnership opportunities. Members of local Singapore Spa associations as well as neighbouring spa associations can take part in networking sessions, seminars and product presentations and future entrepreneurs can pick up a tip or two about the industry and increase their product knowledge.

Intimate World Asia also incorporates Health & Alternative Asia where health products and services like organic food and supplements are showcased. Traditional remedies and alternative treatments like addiction and holistic treatments are also offered in this Trade show.

The exhibition will be from 15 – 16 July 2010, Hall B at the MBSS from 10am to 6pm

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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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Review: Ayuthaya Royal Thai Spa, Singapore

Note: I receive emails from readers and one of the top questions has been: Where is the best Thai massage spa in Singapore? Read this article for your answer…

I’ve been a keen fan of Thai massage for a long time. Once or twice a year, I’ll make a trip to Bangkok or Phuket to indulge in my Thai massage fantasy and have always returned home refreshed and recharged.

What happens when I am too busy to make a trip to Thailand? I look for a local Thai spa that can deliver to the same quality of massage and service as an authentic Thai spa. I’ve checked out quite a few in Singapore and had hesitated to make a recommendation – until I came across Ayuthaya Royal Thai Spa – which matches a good quality spa in Thailand when it comes to ambiance, decor, quality of spa products used and the quality of the masseur.

The Filipino receptionist who picked up my phone call was polite and knowledgeable and we quickly firm up a date for my visit. Ayuthaya Royal Thai Spa has 2 branches; one at Pan Pacific hotel in Marina Square area and the other at Gallery hotel near to Clemenceau Avenue. I decided to visit the Gallery Hotel branch.

Massage at Phuket airport departure lounges
Ayuthaya Royal Thai Spa is located at Gallery Hotel

Gallery Hotel is an interesting avante garde hotel located near to Havelock Road. The spa is located at an annex of the hotel and I was able to find it only upon making a few inquires with the hotel staff. Even then, I ended up entering the spa via it’s back entrance and not the main entrance.

The spa is typically Thai; with lots of Teak furniture, flooring and colourful Thai cushions and curtains. The receptionist informed me that there is an ongoing promotion and I paid less than S$200 for a 45mins body scrub, 1 1/2 hours of Royal Thai massage and 45mins of foot massage.

The spa has about 6 treatment rooms, including 1 couple room. All rooms come with en-suite showers. I was lead to a room and a Thai masseur entered soon and started my session.

The scrub was quite standard. Nothing to shout about. Then the Royal Thai massage session started and my-o-my, this was one of the best Thai massage I had anywhere in the world; be it Thailand or otherwise. The masseur put in 101% effort and her strokes were just out of this world. Definitely a 5-star effort.

It ended all too soon and the foot massage started. Unlike other places, I was able to lie on the bed while the masseur carried on the foot massage. I had forgotten that traditional Thai foot massage uses a stick instead of fingers and it can be quite painful. I had to endure a good 45 minutes of pain as the masseur carried on poking the stick on my foot.

I came out of the room thoroughly refreshed and recharged. The foot massage hurt a bit but pain is always inversely proportionate to the light floating feeling you get after a good foot massage.

I am a cheapskate and there is also no tradition of tipping in Singapore. However, the Thai massage I just had was absolutely wonderful and I ended up giving my masseur a generous tip! That tells you how good it was.

Location of Massage Palor:
1 Nanson Road #02-11 Singapore 238909

Size of Spa: Moderate, with 6 private treatment rooms
Facilities: None

Friendliness: Extremely Friendly
Pricing: Single massage treatment starts from US$45. Combined packages available.

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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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India studies yogic power for life without food

April 29, 2010 by Rajesh Joshi

A team of military doctors backed by India’s national defence research centre is studying an 83-year-old holy man who claims to have spent seven decades surviving without food or water.

The long-haired and bearded yogi, Prahlad Jani, has been sealed in a hospital in the western city of Ahmedabad where he is under 24-hour observation by 30 doctors and will be subjected to a series of medical tests.

“The observation from this study may throw light on human survival without food and water,” doctor G. Ilavazahagan, director of India’s Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences (DIPAS), told AFP.

The DIPAS is part of the Defence Research and Development Organisation, India’s state defence and military research institute also behind a grenade packed with chilli powder that recently hit headlines.

“This may help in working out strategies for survival during natural calamities, extreme stressful conditions and extra-terrestrial explorations like future missions to the Moon and Mars by the human race,” Ilavazahagan said.

The tests on Jani include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, measuring brain and heart activity with electrodes and other neuro-physiological studies, in addition to blood tests.

The experiment started on April 22 and will take 15-20 days. Since the beginning, Jani has neither eaten nor drunk and has not been to the toilet, Ilavazahagan said.

“The exercise of taking this yogi under the medical scanner is to understand what energy supports his existence,” he added, explaining that soldiers could benefit from his apparent ability to survive.

“Jani says he meditates to get energy. Our soldiers will not be able to meditate, but we would still like to find out more about the man and his body,” he said.

Neurologist Sudhir Shah, who studied Jani in 2003 and is part of the new experiment, said that the extremely skinny but apparently active man faced round-the-clock observation.

“Two stationary 24-hour video cameras have been set up in his room, while a mobile video camera follows him whenever he needs to step outside,” he said.

Jani, who dresses in red and wears a nose ring, grew up in Charod village in the Mehsana district in Gujarat and claims to have been blessed by a goddess aged eight, which has enabled him to survive without sustenance.

Shah said that Jani told him the key to his survival was a mystical and unexplained process by which he receives drops of water through a hole in his palate.

Analysis of data, to determine his secret or expose his fraudulence, will take at least two months, the doctors said.

Fasting is a part of Indian culture, made famous by independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, who brought himself to the brink of death on several occasions by refusing food and water to protest against colonial rule.

A monk from India’s minority Jain religion — devout followers of which undertake frequent fasts, sometimes to death — claims to have deprived himself of food for one year, which is believed to be a record

“If you’re busy with something you don’t feel hunger, thirst, or the heat and cold,” said Sri Sahaj Muni Maharaj, who took daily glasses of warm water during his fast which ended on May 1998.

“I’m busy contemplating the infinite,” he told India’s Outlook magazine one month before the end of his experiment.

Article source: www.physorg.com
Video source: www.reuters.com

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Opinion: What will they think of next?

“Fat dissolving” spa treatment no such thing: FDA WASHINGTON Wed Apr 7, 2010

Fri, Mar 19 2010 WASHINGTON (Reuters) – So-called fat dissolving treatments offered by spas do not eliminate fat and the companies should stop saying so, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Wednesday.

The procedures, called by names such as lipodissolve, mesotherapy, lipozap, lipotherapy, or injection lipolysis all involve unproven injections of drugs, the FDA said in a statement. “We are concerned that these companies are misleading consumers,” Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a statement.

“It is important for anyone who is considering this voluntary procedure to understand that the products used to perform lipodissolve procedures are not approved by the FDA for fat removal.”

The agency issued warning letters to Monarch Medspa in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania; Spa 35 in Boise, Idaho; Medical Cosmetic Enhancements in Chevy Chase, Maryland; Innovative Directions in Health of Edina, Minnesota; PURE Med Spa in Boca Raton, Florida, and All About You Med Spa in Madison, Indiana.

The FDA also warned a Brazilian company that markets so-called lipodissolve products on two Web sites: zipmed.net and mesoone.com. “The FDA will notify regulatory authorities in Brazil of this action,” the FDA said in a statement.

“The agency has issued an import alert against the zipmed.net and mesoone.com entities to prevent the importation and distribution of unapproved lipodissolve drug products into the United States.”

The treatments usually consist of injections of two drugs called phosphatidylcholine and deoxycholate, the FDA said. “In some cases, other ingredients, including drugs or components of other products like vitamins, minerals and herbal extracts, are added to the mixture,” the agency added. None has been shown to work in credible clinical trials, it said.

Article credit: http://www.reuters.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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Interesting Spa contest

Here’s an interesting contest along the line of reality-TV contests.

A spa in Singapore and the local TV media has gotten together to get 10 contestants with various facial and weight issues sign up for a ‘spa treatment’ contest over 8 weeks. During these 8 weeks, the contestants will undergo various weight-loss and facial treatments each week at the spa which will be filmed.

Contestants profiles
Contestants profiles

At the end of 8 weeks, the contestants will be judged on who has made the most improvements under a “weight” and “facial” category. What is interesting is that the contestants will not only be judged on physical improvements; they’ll also be judged on who keeps the most interesting blog during this period of time. As a contestant, they’ll need to keep a blog entry per week over the 8 weeks about their weekly weight and facial treatment regime at the spa.

Certainly a most interesting marketing strategy by the spa company as the weekly ‘live-on-TV’ spa treatments will generate lots of keen viewers’ interest and the weekly ‘behind-the-scene’ spa treatment blog entries will keep the competition legacy on for a long time. Well done to this spa company!

To find out more about this competition and perhaps to know more about the contestants, click here.

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Opinion: Health and wellness regime

A reader recently wrote to me to ask about my health and wellness regime and if I believe in detoxification treatments. I told her that I try to stick to the following routine:

  1. Swimming: Once a week
  2. Yoga: Twice a week (Read about it)
  3. Spa and massage: 1 to 2 times a month
  4. Sleep early as much as possible
  5. No smoking
  6. Occasional alcohol only
  7. No more thinking about work once I leave the office

I do not believe in certain drastic detoxification regimes such as colon cleansing. In case you do not know what colon cleansing is, here’s a video introduction. This is the least ‘scary’ video I can find but I still advise you not to watch while you’re having food or drinks.

However, I do practise some form of detoxification. Going to a sauna, drinking tea that aids in detoxification and using foot detoxification patches are some of my less drastic techniques for detoxification.

Here’s a video of foot detoxification practise. I consider it a less invasive but effective form of detoxification.

If you wish to start a detoxification regime as part of your wellness routine, here’s where I get my supply of foot detoxification patches via online order.

I do not see the need for exotic health and wellness routines. As long as one balances work, family life, exercise, hobbies and theĀ  occasional time away alone, that should be adequate for a healthy life.

What do you think?

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A Massage Chair Guide for the Average Person

A luxurious massage chair
A luxurious massage chair

As technology advances we have seen many perks and luxuries enter our homes
and daily lives. One such perk is the massage chair, and it is making
ripples in the professional and private worlds alike.

These aren’t just simple chairs though, and the average person may feel
overwhelmed. Fortunately this guide is here to help you understand what it
is, why you should want it, and if it can be part of your lifestyle.

What exactly is a massage chair?
A massage chair is normally a fold up chair that sits inside your current
chair. It provides various message types ranging from shiatsu to Swedish
with built in heating depending on brand name, model, and category. This can
be very relaxing and can release tension built up in the day.

What is the average massage chair made out of?
The average massage chair is made out of leather, fabric, or polyurethane.
Leather is most common for high end models as it fits in with most furniture
types. Although it is very comfortable it is often the most expensive type
of chair.

Just how do they work?
Current massage chairs that are available for purchase are designed to
target key points in your body. Pressure applied to these points in the form
of pushing, rubbing, circular massage, and deep kneading are just some of
the settings available.

Most chairs have some form of control interface whether it be a control
panel or a remote. This allows you to set the strength, depth, type, and
length of the massage. You can even turn heat functions on or off provided
your chair has them. This can make for a very relaxing and enjoyable
massage.

Are there benefits to owning a massage chair?
There are many benefits to owning one of these chairs. A massage can give
you a great deal of relaxation, and even some pleasure on those days that
you need a good back rub. This can relieve stress, tension, anxiety, and
just generally brighten your mood. Plus when you lower your stress level
your blood pressure drops as well, so it’s a win win situation.

Another benefit is that you don’t have to pay to use a chair outside the
initial investment. Traditional massage parlors will charge you an arm and a
leg for their services. Owning a chair allows you to get a massage whenever
you want for free without having to drive to a parlor. Plus you don’t have
to search the city for a reputable therapist, just go to your favorite chair
and enjoy.

Massage chairs also put pressure where you need it most. Sometimes people
just don’t know the right spot to hit. Many mid range and high end models
allow you to specify which areas to stimulate. This control allows you to
get the relief you need when and where you need it.

As our world moves towards high speed technology we often find that we are
neglecting ourselves. This can lead to stress and tension which is bad for
personal health. Owning a personal massage chair can help combat these ill
begotten symptoms of our modern world. It can also give you reason to look
forward to coming home from work on a hard day.

Our reader, Dr. Alan Weidner, contributed this article. Dr. Alan Weidner graduated summa cum laude from Los Angeles College of Chiropractic, class of 1991. His website, www.massage-chair-relief.com offers Panasonic, Omega, Inada, Human Touch, iJoy, and Sanyo massage chairs.

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