Posts Tagged ‘massage’

A Tale of Two Treatments

In Philippine Star Column on December 9, 2011 at 2:47 am

Soothe away the season with a Baborganic Scrub and massage

Hit by the ‘Holidaze’ (if it were ever written) would certainly be my theme song as we move towards the end of 2012. November found my sched spinning a bit out of control with early shopping requirements, early Christmas parties (yes, really) and balikbayan friend who wanted to come home, yes, early, to celebrate the Yuletide. At some point, even with regular exercise and a more (sometimes less) healthy diet, I felt on the verge of near collapse. Late nights out resulted in interrupted sleep and all I could think of was having a little time to myself to rejuvenate. A massage seemed to be on the menu so I called up Neo Spa in Fort Bonifacio to see what they had that was new. I have nothing against at-home massages, I just feel going into a spa allows the “disconnect” you need from the daily grind. A Saturday slot was open for me to try the Baborganic Snowflakes and Candletouch Ritual for 90 minutes, which included a mild body scrub and a massage using the warm wax from a Baborganic wellness candle followed by deeper pressure involving quartz crystal wands. The scrub was indeed quite gentle and soothing and when the wax from the candle was then dripped on me and rubbed into my skin I fell asleep within minutes. Later on, I felt the quartz candles being pressed on pressure points on my body, unblocking trapped energy (caused by stress and lack of sleep) giving me improved energy flow. I think I fell asleep again, and when I went home later that evening I had my first uninterrupted slumber for the week. The treatment I later found out was called such because it used Babor Organic products, which contain natural extracts of certified organic ingredients. This means there are no synthetic colorants, perfume substances, animal raw materials, petroleum-based ingredients and irradiated raw materials. I shy away from strong scents — which is the biggest turnoff for me at any spa — so maybe this is why I was able to sleep without sneezing. Also the next day, I found my skin to be rather soft and supple and my face look “fresher” and more relaxed. As party season preps up, I look to this scrub-and-rub session as a good way to grab some extra zzzz’s.

Better than candy cane: Improve circulation and reduce the holiday bloat with Toning Bamboo Revival, a silhouette-targeted treatment at The Spa.

Hours of high heels, heavy shopping bags plus meals on the go (mainly involving fast-food fare) are necessary evils one goes through during the Christmas (c)rush resulting in less energy and a rather achy body. I found myself close to exhaustion after a harried morning in High Street, Fort Bonifacio and checked myself into The Spa. The treatment of choice, The Toning Bamboo Revival, was part slimming and part invigorating, perfect for me since it was still mid-day and I still had the rest of the afternoon plus evening obligations to attend to. My 90-minute escape would involve a scrub, a wrap and a massage using bamboo canes and Spanish brand, Selvert Thermal products. In the villa that was provided I treated myself to a steam and a few more minutes decompressing in the Jacuzzi and silently hoped that time would stop and let me enjoy this quiet for as long as possible. The scrub was done in a strong, circulatory manner that initially kneaded out the tightened muscles and joints, especially on my overworked calves. Anti-cellulite cream combined with Spice Powder was further rubbed into my skin to help reduce bloating and to improve my circulation. After the scrub I was wrapped to further absorb the creams and moisturizers for about ten minutes. What followed next was the masseuse working on me with bamboo canes of different densities. I felt like pizza dough, with her rolling the canes over my body, in longish strokes. My shoulders and neck were the main focus as they felt so stiff, I could barely turn my head all the way to the right. I could feel the familiar “pop” of muscles loosening and even if I didn’t fall asleep I knew my body was getting the recharge it needed because of the intensity of the massage.

When I was done, I continued on with a meeting, a dinner and a movie premiere, and survived, with head-turning function back to normal! The best part of this was, the next morning, my skinny jeans fit better. It may have been the combination of everything I did in that villa, but no complaints, I got the boost and the de-bloating that I desired.

Whether it is to soothe and sleep or slim down and step out, a scrub and a massage is a definite “love yourself” way to self-gift, whether it’s Christmas or not.

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Baborganic Snowflakes and Candletouch Ritual, around P2,950, Neo Spa. For more info, e-mail or call 815-8233, 815-6948 or 0921-4779999.

Toning Bamboo Revival, P1,900 (regular room) or P2,600 for a private suite or villa, The Spa. Visit to find out which branches offer this treatment or call 856-5858 or 856-6868 (Fort Branch).

Have a wild (cherry) of a time with this rejuvenating therapy

In Philippine Star Column on December 2, 2010 at 10:59 pm

Japanese AAAAAAH!

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 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

Sunday Mass-age

In Living a Life Off-Center on July 25, 2010 at 12:33 pm

I know, I shouldn’t be using stock photos, but how do you take a photo of a massage while you’re having one done? Will change these photos eventually, but at least you get the “picture”.

Hands-on relief

Anyway, I will change these images as soon as possible. I just wanted to post this blog before Sunday ends, or else, the title would be sacrificed, priorities, priorities.

There is nothing like indulging every now and then, but if you can make it a regular indulgence, then go for it. I have weekly massages, full body ones if I can, if not, then a heavy duty foot massage is a must, and if you’re lucky you can find a spa that will do both your feet, your hands and your head all-inclusive.

Massages when done well are extremely healing. First of all, if you’re athletic, or sporty, the massage actually help decrease the lactic acid produced during your body-too much lactic acid results in aches and pains, which locals call “lamig”. Next, a massage really helps soften stiff joints, if you have a fantastic masseuse then she can just target certain areas to remove the main source of blocks, and you sleep like a baby that night.

Of course, I don’t have a “normal” masseuse, but an intuitive one who not only has a third eye that’s wide, wide open, but she can actually absorb some of your illnesses or the discomfort in your body and dispel it by…burping. Yes, you read it right. It is far from a silent massage, and no, it is not a zen-like atmosphere with sweet smelling oil lamps and piped in music. This is the real deal hard core deep muscle and deep tissue massage plus, plus.

Burping Masseuse (BM) has been coming to our house for several years and has gone over and beyond the usual kneading duties. She has rid members in this household of the effects of “kulam” (black magic), seen beings from another dimension, who are not always positive or welcome additions to the home, all as she presses every single achy part of you. Honestly, parts that normally don’t hurt, do, because she goes in deep, using energy more than strength as leverage. In fact, once you’ve had BP every other masseuse out there is going to feel kind of wimpy. This is why, if I don’t have her for one reason or the other that week, I opt for a foot massage instead since the pressure used by reflexologists on the foot with that wooden peg is about the same.

Foot massages also hit the right spots

You may think I’m nuts to have BP come to the house, and to be honest, when she first started coming (a friend of a friend of a friend recommended her in the energy healing realm) I thought wow, this is a waste or time and money. Not only did the massages hurt, but the burping was a bit disturbing. Until, she removed a fever from me. Seriously. I hardly ever get sick, and having a fever is the worse kind of illness to come down with. You feel weak, your body is in pain which you can’t understand and even if you feel so, so tired, you can’t sleep because you feel so uncomfortable. BP came to the house, gave me a massage, but she lightened the pressure because I was on the verge of tears when she had just started and burped herself into a frenzy.

Within that same day, the fever was gone. I couldn’t believe it. I had taken no medication, not done anything different with my diet, but the fever had lifted. I had no more temperature, and I actually slept like a log that night. The next morning, I was right as rain.

BP also is quite well-versed in medicinal plants like an “albolaryo” would be as she frequents the magic mountain Banawe every month. I had suffered from irregular menstrual cycles for as long as I could remember. Missing them or having them too often in the month gave me mood swings, (all the girls out there know how PMS can be) and discomfort in my abdomen. One day she placed some leaves on me that had been boiled a certain way while she massaged. I have been pretty much on the calendar since that day, and it’s been three years and running. The only way I could regulate my period before her was through medication, and now I’m through with medication.

I wanna hold your hand...

Even if you don’t have quite a colorful masseuse or massage experience as I do, I’d encourage you to find some body work done to you once a week. In these times, where our environments are filled with all sorts of pollutants, from electromagnetic radiation, chemicals in our food and drink, toxic people (oh you know who they are) and even general aches and pains from poor posture, the body needs more love than ever before. Go get aligned, visit a chiropractor, a physical or neuromuscular therapist, get a massage, take a REAL vacation and allow your body to recharge and rejuvenate for the rest of your life. You can exercise yourself into being fit and toned, but if there is no time for your body to recuperate from all that activity, then breakdowns will come faster as you age. Giving your body a break will keep it from breaking.

Lie down…now. 😀