Japanese Sand Bath at Aso Spa What separates this treatment from just being buried at the beach? Besides the flawless service and serene environment, of course. This Japanese treatment uses heat and natural minerals in sand to ease sore joints, muscle cramps and knots. It’s also reputed to detoxify the skin and improve circulation. Plus, the sand itself comes from Japan and is sterilized after each use. The therapist first massaged essential oils onto my skin to cleanse the pores. Then she led me to the sand pit, where I was wrapped in a blanket before sand was shoveled over me. For the next 20 minutes, I enjoyed 40-degree heat while having my head gently massaged and being fed watermelon-seed juice through a straw. The treatment ended with a refreshing shower. Incredibly relaxing, although the heat would have become oppressive after much longer. I Must have perspired away every toxin by the time I left my sand envelope. $480 for 45 minutes Aso Spa, 16/F, CNAC Group Building, 10 Queen’s Rd. Central, 2525-2578, www.asospa.com . Thai Massage at Chuan Spa Traditional Thai massage makes use of three Asian philosophies; Ayurveda, an ancient system of healthcare native to the Indian subcontinent, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and yoga. What this means is that there is a lot of stretching involved. The theory is to use certain special techniques to stimulate energy concentration points, so tensed-up muscles can relax, blood circulation can improve and balance within the body can be regained. I’m quite a tense person, so it was a little awkward to have the therapist twisting my back or trying to make me touch my toes with my fingers. Plus, I’d had a yoga class the day before so I was feeling extra stiff. But after soaking in the spa’s hot tub and steam room for 15 minutes, I felt much better. I think it improves limberness in the long term, so the pain definitely pays off. This massage is ideal for people that need help with stretching, or if you don’t like getting greased up – it’s totally oil-free. $915 for 60 minutes Chuan Spa, 41/F, Langham Place Hotel, Mongkok, 3552-3510. Indian Head Massage at Elemis Day Spa Like Thai massage, this technique is based on the ancient Ayurvedic healing system which combines physical massage with chakra balancing, which is believed to revitalize circulation and improve overall health and wellbeing. This particular form of massage is designed to help to relieve tension and headaches. It starts with a strong neck and shoulder massage, which takes around 10 minutes, before moving onto the head massage. And all I can say is that it’s awesome – It was relaxing to the point that I fell asleep, even though someone was working on my neck, shoulders and head with a pretty strong hand the whole time. It took just 30 minutes but it felt like two hours had gone by, in that I was so relaxed and energized afterwards. And I didn’t feel tired for the rest of the day. It’s perfect for those who only have time for a quick fix. $410 for 30 minutes Elemis Day Spa, 9/F Century Square, 1 D’Aguilar St., Central, 2521-6660. Lomi Lomi massage at The Four Seasons Spa Lomi Lomi is a traditional Hawaiian massage technique that is used as a curative or restorative treatment by native healers. It is characterized by its use of forearms, elbows and palms in long languid strokes in an almost meditative atmosphere. Sick and tired of the tooth-rattling back-chopping technique employed by so many local masseuses that usually leave me tenser than before, I decided to try out the Four Season’s variation on the technique, which is accompanied by generous drizzles of warm, fragrant oil and mellow, deeply relaxing music. After greasing me up good, my therapist used smooth and calm motions to relax my entire body - it’s like having your tensions eased out with an oily rolling pin (in the best possible way, of course). The entire experience was deeply relaxing and never once uncomfortable (except for one awkward moment when my legs were stretched out in a manner not befitting of a lady), I’d recommend it heartily for someone looking for a soothing, unobtrusive massage without compromising the intensity of the sensation. $1,450 for 90 minutes The Spa, Four Seasons Hotel, 8 Finance St., Central, 3196-8900. Swedish Massage at Oriental Spa A greedy two-hour Time Ritual lets fickle minds decide at the last minute, the therapy of choice. I opted for a gentle Swedish massage from the variety of treatments to choose from. A word of warning: if you’re used to intense Thai or Chinese kneading, the initial Swedish stroking technique of effleurage (“skimming” in French) will have an effect of surprise and then total calm. My therapist, trained by European masters, is proud of her lineage and skills. Lubricating rose essential oils were applied slowly over my back with long, gliding movements. Performed with regulated pressure and open hands, it’s forceful and sensual at the same time. My knots and tensions were released as I gently lapsed in and out of consciousness. Plus, with this deal, ladies are entitled to a Moroccan Rasul mud wrap, and men a Turkish Hamam, or full body scrub down. How’s that for an international experience? $1,920 (weekdays) or $1,600 (weekends) for 110 minutes The Oriental Spa, 5-6/F, Landmark Mandarin Oriental, 15 Queen’s Rd. Central, 2132-0011.