Beauty fix: Winter Warm treatment at Chuan Spa in the Langham Place
The Chuan Spa at the Langham Place hotel has launched a 'Winter Warm' treatment this month, designed to nourish the skin, and generally warm and soothe the body.
As the spa's treatments are based on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the first thing you're asked to do upon checking in is to fill in a questionnaire on their iPad - your favourite season, colour, what kind of a mood you've been in lately - to determine which of your five elements is unbalanced. In my case, it turns out to be wood, and I'm offered the corresponding massage oil, a pleasantly sweet, refreshing scent of sweet almond, ginkgo biloba, lavender, rose and vetiver.
I'm given a tour of the facilities, which include hot tubs, saunas, steam rooms and a pool. The treatment starts with a "breathing ritual" which involves visualising colours and inhaling scents. The therapist uses her hands, knuckles and forearm to give me a massage using the specially selected oil. She's friendly and attentive - the moment I shift slightly she immediately checks that the pressure is not too strong.
The hot stone massage that follows is the highlight of the treatment - the circular movements around my back, neck and hands are soothing. Then, after an energising scalp massage the Chuan Yu facial begins. She massages a thick cleanser into my entire face, including my eyes, then uses hot flannels to wipe it off.
The scrub that follows goes on for a fraction too long - I am aware my skin is beginning to feel sensitive. A thick cream follows, then a cold piece of jade is rolled around my eyes. The therapist tells me I have a lot of "fire" in my eyes, and asks if I sleep lightly and have vivid dreams. She then rolls the jade down the centre of my forehead and the sides of my face.
A natural soft mud mask follows, to draw out impurities, and refine the skin surface. It feels cold as she layers it on my face like papier mâché. While the last layers set she uses the jade roller to give my hands, arms and lower legs a quick massage. The heat from the hair mask - a heavy paste designed to nourish both the hair and scalp - is welcome.
When the mud mask is peeled off, my face feels a little warm. The therapist looks faintly alarmed to see my cheeks have become slightly red - due to the vigorous scrubbing, perhaps - and reassures me that it'll soon calm down. It does, by the time I've returned to the showers and washed out the hair mask, which feels luxurious and rich. When I'm dressed and ready to leave, my skin looks smooth, and my hair feels deeply conditioned and smells fantastic.
The 120-minute Winter Warm Spa Treatment (HK$1,395) is available at Chuan Spa until the end of February