The bipolar weather, aircon on the inside and then searing heat on the outside, can wreak havoc on your skin and even your overall wellbeing. Sitting for long hours in meetings and then getting stuck in the rain as you’re running to appointments can contribute to some body aches and pains and a lowered immune system. If you notice people around you getting sick, you may want to take a little “me” break to banish some of those daily (and hopefully temporary) blues and stress triggers.
I have long believed that the Japanese are the Asian experts on feel-good remedies. I also favor Japanese skin care products and makeup, seeing that it fits my skin better than other brands, so this is why I was drawn to the Hanakasumi Nourishing Ritual of Neo Spa. Hanakasumi means cherry blossom mist — and a quintessential snapshot of Japan is its cherry blossom trees in full bloom — I blocked off two and half hours after work one weeknight to indulge.
The treatment started off with a dry brushing of the skin. This may not be a common sensation people enjoy, but I felt that the hard bristles really scraped off dead skin cells from areas that are normally hard to reach when showering or bathing. What is common knowledge is that dry brushing is great for exfoliation, but it also has other benefits such as stimulating and increasing skin cell production, giving your skin a healthy glow all year long. On a more than skin-deep level, dry brushing increases blood flow and circulation and enhances detoxification through the skin. The pressure also used in brushing the skin may either be relaxing and calming or will energize you, so do tell your therapist what you prefer.
What followed next was a scrub made out of warm cherry rice powder which was then wiped off with warm towels, a change from scrubs I’ve experienced in the past that are usually more damp and can sometimes turn unpleasant if the temperature of the room starts to make you shiver. Even as the scrub is being wiped off with towels, the therapist applies pressure, especially on the feet and legs, which adds to the relaxing, soothing effect.
The massage that followed was a tranquility massage and I’m not quite sure what balm they used but it smelled beautiful. It was a mix of body butter and Asian essences I was told. It was applied smoothly in circular motions and I guess it was partially the fragrance and the massage that put me to sleep. If I could bottle that balm and take it home I would, but I was probably too sleepy when I was finally woken up to ask for it because I only remembered when I was in the car ride home.
A combination of exfoliation, to make the skin glow and stimulate circulation, is always beneficial, especially in our climate that requires us to work or eat in climate-controlled interiors and then have to brave either searing humid heat or crazy rains can make your skin dry, to the point of itchiness or tired looking. A massage with a calming or even yummy fragrance combined with long deep strokes are great for the muscles, especially if you are not as active as you’d like to be due to long work hours or late nights up and about. You may or may not feel the same was as I do about dry brushing or think almost three hours of being scrubbed, moisturized and kneaded is, well, needed, but your body and mind needs a break in order to fend off future chronic ailments and aches.
This may be a post-Thanksgiving piece, but there’s never a wrong time to thank yourself with a little TLC. Turn Japanes-a over the weekend and have a beauty blossom-filled week!
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For more information on the Hanakusumi Nourishing Ritual email Neo Bonifacio Global City at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 815-8233, 815-6948 or 63921-4779999.
SOUL TRAIN By Katrina A. Holigores (The Philippine Star) Updated December 03, 2010 12:00 AM