Elemis pregnancy massage
Even if you are like me and are lucky enough to have escaped the dreaded lower back pain that plagues many pregnant women, you probably still have to contend with aches and fatigue as your body adjusts to its size, not to mention the odd hormonal swing. Ordinarily, this might warrant a pick-me-up at the spa, but we mums-to-be tend to be cautious about the treatments and products we use on our bodies.
Fortunately, a number of 'safe for pregnancy' services are available in Hong Kong. When I decided a massage was in order, I chose Elemis Day Spa because I wanted a treatment that catered specifically for pregnancy.
Before the massage, I filled in a checklist about my general health, followed by a series of questions on my pregnancy. Elemis masseurs are specially trained on product selection for pregnant women and which pressure points to avoid or to focus on to bring about specific relief. They undergo training and testing periodically by experts from the parent company in Britain.
The treatment room had two beds, one with a hole in it for my belly. Lying face down for the first time in months is novelty for a second-trimester mum, but the position is comfortable.
The treatment opens with a brief dry body brushing to tackle cellulite, before progressing to the massage with Japanese camellia oil, which is safe for pregnancy and formulated to deal with stretch marks. Using a kneading motion, my therapist was gentle on the lower back area and focused, as requested, on my upper back and tired limbs.
For the face-up part, I was shifted to the other bed, which can be inclined for the comfort of pregnant women, who tend to avoid lying flat on their backs. The therapist used a gel containing extracts of arnica, birch, witch-hazel, camphor and menthol to reduce water retention and promote circulation in my lower legs. There were no overpowering aromas, even in the oils, as pregnant women can be very sensitive to smell.
To finish with, the therapist, with my consent, gently rubbed oil on my belly; this helps alleviate itchiness on the stretched skin. Overall, the massage moisturised many spots that my new body shape made hard to reach by myself.
Verdict: A more sustained regimen might be required to really battle stretch marks, but a winner as a moisturising and relaxation therapy
Elemis Nurturing Massage for Mother-To-Be at Elemis Day Spa, Central, HK$780. (www.elemisdayspa.com.hk)