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March 21, 2012

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Spas give new meaning to pampering

THE term spa is said to have originated from Spa, a small town in Belgium. The town has a hot spring rich in minerals and locals have long soaked in the water to alleviate sore muscles, improve circulation and boost the immune system.

The spa concept soon spread to the rest of Europe, North America and Asia. Nowadays, spas are big business.

Spa centers and spa resorts typically offer various treatments to soothe the body and mind, ease ailments, prevent or treat diseases, delay the aging process, shape the body and rejuvenate skin.

A true spa requires water treatments although some places use the term even though they only provide massage services.

Water treatment, aromatherapy massages and body scrubs are common menu items at a spa.

They can also provide bathing, body wraps, facials, nail care, skin exfoliation, waxing, yoga and even meditation.

A good spa will stimulate all five senses.

Shanghai has a number of good spas, especially those based in upscale hotels.

Chuan Spa at Langham Xintiandi

The luxurious Chuan Spa offers a tranquil haven for both contemplation and inspiration in the heart of Shanghai's Xintiandi area. It incorporates traditional Chinese medicine into its signature treatments.

In Chinese culture, flowing water is deemed as the source of life and balance. The word chuan in Chinese means a serene course of water and Chuan Spa reflects this harmony by using the principles of feng shui.

Chuan Spa offers 10 treatment rooms for both men and women. It provides a natural environment with soft and calming hues.

TCM is acclaimed throughout the world for its ability to harmonize the body and soul and enrich personal happiness and fulfillment. The philosophy uses the principle of balance between the five natural elements - metal, wood, water, fire and earth - and the body's opposing yet mutually dependent halves yin and yang.

Emphasizing a holistic approach, the therapists at Chuan Spa use energy flows, basic elemental forces and the influence of hot and cold to create individual treatment plans.

Guests are invited to embark on a tri-bathing water journey by relaxing in the vitality pool, sauna and steam room, experience a Chinese garden ambience designed to nurture one's jing (life force), qi (energy) and shen (mind and spirit), sip tea and enjoy the spa treatment in a calming and tranquil environment.

In addition to its signature treatments, Chuan also offers the services of a fully qualified TCM practitioner for private consultations and specialist TCM therapies including acupuncture, cupping, moxibustion and other techniques.

Address: B1, The Langham Xintiandi, 99 Madang Rd

Tel: 2330-2288

Spa at Kerry Sports

Unlike spas elsewhere, the Spa at Kerry Sports takes a new approach to holistic well-being, inspired by ancient wushu (martial arts) healing traditions.

It has nine treatment suites, two devoted to physiotherapy and one designed for couples. They range in size from 12 to 30 square meters. With physiotherapy, restorative massage, skin care and body treatments provided, the spa helps balance yin and yang energies.

Ancient martial arts masters used holistic arts to maintain balance and harness powerful energies to preserve the vitality of body and mind. These practices serve physical needs required for self-defense and optimum health and offer the potential for connecting with unlimited energy. Each restorative body wisdom treatment is preceded by guided stretching, breathing exercises and includes movements to open the meridians for vigor and vitality.

The signature Wushu Body Wisdom massage focuses on stress relief, toxin release and care for problem areas. In addition, classic massage therapies to cultivate optimal restorative benefits such as tuina, aroma massage, hot stone massage and reflexology are all offered at the Spa.

It also provides scrubs and facials services.

Address: Kerry Hotel Pudong, Shanghai, 1388 Huamu Rd

Tel: 6169-8856

The Ritz-Carlton Spa by ESPA

The Ritz-Carlton Spa by ESPA, on the 55th floor of The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong, has 10 treatment rooms, including nine multi-function rooms and a harmony suite where two guests may relax and enjoy treatments together.

It combines striking, modern lines and artistic decoration in the spa and relaxation areas. Each treatment room has a unique layout and continues the dramatic combination of angles and unique shapes. Floor-to-ceiling windows in each treatment room offer unparalleled views of Shanghai.

The spa combines the essence of ancient and modern Chinese, Indian, European and Balinese spa cultures and uses luxury products harnessing the best essential oils, botanicals and marine supplements.

It offers "Infinite" signature treatments, Jade QiYun, tuina massage and ginger and jasmine foot therapy. Signature rituals are based upon Chinese tradition. They restore harmony with indigenous materials such as jade, which helps maintain youthful skin.

The 90-minute Jade QiYun is a body experience, restoring qi (energy) and yun (temperament and graceful bearing), rebalancing mind and body by targeting stress areas, from headaches and neck pain to shoulder and other tension.

The tuina massage helps ease muscular tension and restore inner harmony. Acupressure massage with specific stretches and deep breathing techniques helps activate circulation, soothe tense muscles, balance energy and restore equilibrium to mind.

Address: 55/F, The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong,8 Century Ave

Tel: 2020-1818

Spa InterContinental

Spa InterContinental offers a sanctuary from the urban rat race with its superb views.

The spa provides a full range of treatments with a holistic philosophy that combines the best of East and West.

There are 11 oversized treatment rooms, a foot reflexology massage area with river views and some private rooms.

Signature treatments include facial care and massages. Highly trained therapists adopt the guiding principles of traditional Chinese medicine to soothe body and soul.

A Swedish oil massage, traditional Chinese massage and aromatherapy oil massage are some of the most popular services.

They also offer a series of programs for relaxation, health, weight-control, energy or beauty.

With the first hint of spring in the air, the spa has launched a "Spring Indulgence" program. The program starts with a 60-minute signature silk body scrub that cleans the skin. It is followed by a 60-minute energizing aromatic massage. It is priced at 588 yuan (US$95) plus 15 percent service charge, much cheaper than that offered at other five-star hotels, but ensures the best quality as well. It is valid until May 31.

The spa is also popular with a number of stars like singers Jerry Yan and Han Hong.

A 75-minute Spa InterContinental massage costs 480 yuan and other massages range between 160 yuan and 680 yuan. Members receive a discount.

At Spa InterContinental, people can enjoy the five-star luxury treatment at an affordable and competitive price.

Address: InterContinental Shanghai Expo,1188 Xueye Rd

Tel: 3858-1188


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