Adele Rosi

You don't have to be a high-powered businessman to get stressed out. Stress can sneak up on you when you least expect it - a mislaid wallet, a fractious child, traffic jams - and even the most laid-back will come a cropper.

But before stress undermines your health, sanity and - God forbid - appearance, head for the luxurious calm of the spa at the Regent Hong Kong. Not only does it offer a stress-busting massage, specially designed for strung-out city dwellers but, recently re-organised according to the strict instructions of Feng Shui Master Chan Xue Tao (nicknamed Jackie Chan), its environment is designed to rebalance its clientele as soon as they pass a strategically placed fish bowl and step over the threshold.

After drinking a cup of detoxifying ginger and lemon tea to the sounds of running water, I was led into private spa room Tzu Wei, or Noble, representing the earth element. It was all candlelight and dark granite, but had the odd white object (the other rooms, of which there are four, incorporated different colours), such as an orchid plant, to make its feng shui even more harmonious.

Best of all, it contained its own jacuzzi, sauna and steam rooms, and I was instructed by my masseur, Henry, to avail myself of each one until me and my muscles felt suitably warm, relaxed and in the mood for massage.

It could have been the feng shui working its magic, but the fact that such facilities were exclusively at my disposal - no treading gingerly over strange legs in the jacuzzi, no uncomfortable silence in the sauna, no clothes - was in itself instantly qi enhancing. And had my massage suddenly been cancelled I would still have left the spa feeling relaxed and happy.

After I'd finished playing lady of the manor (which, had I been allowed, I would probably still be doing), it was on to some serious stress-busting. Henry started by dry-brushing my body to remove dead skin cells, then massaged in a grainy spearmint gel from the Espa range of products to exfoliate my skin further, nourish and revitalise it. He left the room while I washed it off - the steam room cunningly turned into a power shower - and only returned to continue with the treatment when I gave him the go-ahead. Incidentally, if you're put off by the thought of a male masseur, don't be. Henry was extremely discreet, and there are paper knickers and towels galore to cover up your modesty.

Before moving on to the massage, however, he gave me three bottles of oil to smell - without identifying them to avoid me making a biased choice. Whichever one I thought smelled the best would be the one my body most needed. I ended up with the energising body oil, which really was something I'd felt in need of. Containing a blend of English peppermint, rosemary, lavender and eucalyptus, among other ingredients, Henry said it would help to increase my alertness, boost my energy levels and generally refresh me.

He used acupressure on my neck and shoulders (he learned shiatsu in Japan) to ease muscle tension, common to anyone that has a sedentary job, and worked more gently down either side of my spine to relieve any aches in my back. After this, he gave me a firm massage using the aromatherapy oil and acupressure techniques, starting on my back and arms, moving down to my legs and feet, and eventually working on my front.

To finish, he placed a small lavender pillow over my eyes - and thoughtfully covered my hair with a towel to avoid the post-treatment greasy look - and gave me a scalp massage, again stimulating acupressure points.

I'd had a thousand thoughts whirring round my head when I started the treatment. At the end there was just one: more.

Tip: to prolong the benefits of treatment and spa, don't plan to do anything afterwards. The spa is open until 10pm every night and the Stress Buster would make an ideal weekend wind-down.

Value for money: the Regent Spa is one of Hong Kong's most deluxe spas and gives you superstar treatment to match. At $950 for 90 minutes (plus $150 if you want to use the spa room for up to 30 minutes before the treatment), the treatment is definitely at the top end of the massage market. Although the massage was good, it was the luxurious private room that made my time there so special.

So what's the score?: 9/10: The spa is a very smooth operation and almost impossible to fault. I left feeling calmer and very much on an even keel.

Reservations: The Regent Spa, 3/F, The Regent Hong Kong, Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui (tel: 2721 1211).