If you’re like most people, picking out which service to get at the spa may, more often than not, be relegated to what “sounds good.” But there’s actually a science and a strategy to making sure the treatment you choose is the best one to address the concerns you have. We tapped Sandy Lam, spa director at the I-Spa at the Intercontinental Hong Kong, to reveal the secret to getting your best treatment.
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If you’re suffering from jet lag, opt for an organic oil massage.
While you might be yearning to satisfy your wanderlust, heavy-duty traveling takes a toll on you with an oh-too-familiar thing called jetlag. Rather than letting it hold you back amid your travels, book a massage using organic oils. Lam explains that pure essential oils not only calm the nervous system, but also ameliorate sleep levels. “I recommend an aromatherapy massage that uses marjoram, mandarin or lavender to help relieve the symptoms of jet lag. Marjoram helps to ease insomnia, mandarin serves as a mild sedative for the nervous system and lavender assists in soothing, balancing and calming.”
If you suffer from anxiety, ask for an abdominal massage.
When anxiety strikes, it often feels as though nothing can possibly settle it, and you’re left to drown in it until it passes. This is especially difficult when it’s a recurring issue. An abdominal massage, however, can help ease this angst because, according to Lam, it focuses on the navel area. The stomach area is home to the “third chakra,” which is affiliated with the “fire” element and helps determine our bodily and mental health. “This treatment is excellent to activate and help balance the “fire” element and build self-esteem,” she says. And, for those of you still adjusting to the idea of holistic care, an abdominal massage is beneficial physically speaking as well—it helps with digestion and strengthening the immune process.
To alleviate stress, go for a bath using citrus oils.
A day of total indulgence is the ultimate escape for stress, but there’s an at-home option that helps as well. Lam recommends unwinding but taking “an aromatic bath using specific essential oils: geranium, bergamot, lavender and neroli, which all have important functions to relieve stress and clam nerves.”
If your stress is manifesting in the form of tight muscles, Lam also suggests a hot stone massage, which works on physical level to promote relaxation.
If you have sore muscles, try a deep tissue or acupressure treatment.
A therapeutic body massage that blends deep tissue and acupressure treatments can ease the achy, sore muscles. According to Lam, analgesic oils like rosemary, black pepper and lemongrass are extra additions that even further soothe such tension. “At I-Spa, we craft a custom Muscle Rejuvenation Oil with the above ingredients to increase muscle tone and help to prepare the muscles for action.”
To treat acne, ask for a facial with purifying ingredients.
Lam explains that an increase in skin acidity and overactivity of sebum with bacterial infection are often the culprits of perisitent acne. Therefore, when looking for a facial, choose one with ingredients that will relieve infection and work to reduce sebum production. “Ylang ylang has a balancing effect on sebum production, while patchouli and rosehip assist in healing and treating problematic skin conditions,” Lam suggests. For a bonus acne-fighter, Lam advises to use a purifying clay mask with kaolin to remove impurities.
For dry skin, try exfoliation followed by a wrap.
The first step in promoting hydrated and revitalized skin is to to exfoliate away the dead skin cells, before infusing skin with moisture. Lam reveals that clay mud wrap infused with argan or coconut oils is especially helpful in help skin with moisture retention.
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