Wellness: East versus West.
For those who spa, Asian or Western is becoming the choice to make. Teresa Ooi compares massages at the two.
Asian spas are becoming the latest way to attract cruise passengers who want to relax and chill out. Aboard Genting Dream, there’s the Western-style Crystal Life Spa on deck 15, or the Crystal Life Asian Spa on deck 5. So what’s the difference?
Asian Spa therapists offer traditional techniques combined with Chinese foot reßexology and acupressure. In the Crystal Life Asian Spa, there are 60 over-sized reßexology ÒthronesÓ in a tranquil setting. It is the largest Asian reßexology spa at sea. Here you can experience a 60-minute foot massage, a foot, shoulder and neck massage or a Chinese acupressure body massage. One essential difference is that you are provided with loose Þtting robes for Asian body massages and there are no oils.
In the Western Crystal Life Spa, therapists use essential oils and specialised massage techniques for a full-body aromatherapy, Swedish or deep-tissue massage. The scented oils are selected for different purposes: you can choose lavender to calm the nerves, chamomile to improve digestion or mint to refresh the body, among others.
You are required to strip and are provided with disposable underwear.
Massage is one of the oldest healing traditions. Many cultures from the ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Chinese and Indians are convinced of its therapeutic beneÞts.
Eastern massage use pressure points to activate chi, a healing energy source. It can be more vigorous as the therapist also uses rocking, rolling or striking steps to stimulate better energy ßow.
Western massage promotes higher levels of relaxation by using circular movements to relieve muscle tension or
jet lag. Other stroke techniques include kneading, gliding and stretching.
Essentially, the primary purpose of a Western massage is to relieve tense muscles and promote an overall sense of relaxation. An Eastern massage takes a more holistic approach in balancing the body’s nervous and digestive systems.
I have not previously experienced a Chinese acupressure body massage and do not know what to expect. Firstly, I am told I do not have to disrobe.
The therapist then settles me in with stretching movements and gentle manipulation before starting the acupressure. Finding the right pressure points is a skilled technique. When the therapist Þnds the right spot, it can be a triße painful.
Somehow, my mind is preoccupied with where the next acupressure point will be on my body. I also Þnd it slightly strange to have a massage fully clothed. At the end of the 90-minute session, my muscles feel less tense. But the overwhelming sense of wellbeing is missing. Would I return for another session? Perhaps next time I will try the foot reßexology massage, which is supposedly very invigorating.
The aromatherapy massage at Crystal Life Spa is a far more indulgent affair. Perhaps it is what my body is accustomed to.
The tall therapist from mainland China has strong, competent hands and they work magic on my body. As her hands stretch my muscles, I become increasingly relaxed.
It is often said that if you fall asleep while having a massage, it is a compliment to the therapist and her abilities. I doze off for at least 15 minutes and at the end of my 90-minute session, I feel amazingly relaxed and pampered.
There is a variety of other treatments available in the Western spa, from a luxurious caviar body wrap to a Himalayan salt stone massage.
There are separate vitality pools in both the Western and Eastern spas. It is recommended that guests soak for at least 30 minutes before their massage session. It is part and parcel of getting the body ready for the therapeutic beneÞts of a massage.
Vitality pool in the Crystal Life Asian Spa