Header image courtesy of LifeHub
It’s no secret that the wellness industry is booming—to the point where gemstone facials, gong baths, and even yoni eggs would hardly raise an eyebrow around these parts nowadays. But Hong Kong’s high-stress lifestyle, East-meets-West culture, and obsession with all things bougie mean that there’s always some unusual wellness treatment popping up on our radars. Below, we’ve rounded up some of the most unconventional or “woo-woo” wellness treatments you can get around Hong Kong.
If you’re interested in the health benefits of traditional saunas but baulk at high temperatures and humidity, consider infrared therapy instead. Sure, it sounds kind of science fiction-y, but it induces the same effects—perspiration, increased heart rate, muscle relaxation—as conventional saunas at a fraction of the heat, making it more suitable for those of us who run hot.
While we can’t speak to any of the other claims that purveyors of infrared therapy often make (that it aids in weight loss, arthritis, and detoxing, for example), there’s no harm in trying it out as a method of relaxation after a hard workout. For a traditional experience, head to LifeHub, which features full-spectrum infrared sauna chambers with aromatherapy, chromotherapy (light therapy), and your choice of music therapy. Similarly, kill two birds with one stone at Velocity, a female-only Aquabike (read: spinning, but in a whirlpool tub) studio in Causeway Bay with two on-site infrared sauna pods. Of course, you could also head to The Skin Gym, where a combination of facial and infrared will give you all the glow without any of the physical exertions.
Yes, you read that correctly. And yes, looking “breast massage” up online will yield some questionable results. So we’ll spare you the awkward browsing experience and give you the skinny ourselves: Breast massaging is typically offered at lymphatic massage spas, and is supposed to help with breast pain, blood circulation, and (for those who are lactating) blocked ducts.
In traditional Chinese medicine, your qi (氣; life force) flows through a system of 12 main channels or meridians. According to the spas that offer Chinese-style lymphatic massages, the fluid in your lymph system can be redirected along the meridians using a magnet, which—in the case of breast massages—allegedly addresses cosmetic concerns like firmness, sagging, and shape. We even found a beauty centre that has a dedicated breast enlargement massage (cough, Soul Beauty & Wellness Centre), which feels like as good a time as any to stress, once again, that we cannot speak to the efficacy of any of these treatments. Make a trip down to Perfect Life or Miris Spa if this sounds like your kind of restorative, therapeutic experience.
While dao liao—the Taiwanese treatment where a massage therapist pummels your muscles with butcher’s cleavers—is not available in Hong Kong most of the time, we do have another weird wellness treatment that’ll have you feeling like a well-tenderised steak: hydrotherapy. Specifically, the hydrotherapy treatment at Chuan Spa, which takes place inside a futuristic-looking “energy cocoon.” It starts with an acupressure treatment, during which 400 intense water jets massage your muscles, then gets more progressively more elaborate with a Vichy shower (where water rains down on you from several showerheads), whole-body vibration, an infrared sauna, aromatherapy, something called “facial air,” and a steam treatment.
Chuan Spa, 41/F, Cordis, 555 Shanghai Street, Mong Kok | (+852) 3552 3510
Speaking of weird wellness treatments: Like gong baths, tuning fork therapy is a form of sound therapy that utilises soothing, resonant sounds to help you relax, meditate, and release tension. Tuning fork therapy is based on the principle that everything vibrates, including ourselves—and that many of our physical and emotional ailments can be attributed to energy blockages, which can be balanced out by applying specific vibrations to the body. As such, advocates for fork therapy claim that the practice has physical benefits—like speeding up the body’s self-healing process, increasing bone density, and alleviating pain—as well as intangible effects (i.e. spiritual harmony, personal growth, emotional closure). Tune in to the music at Balance Health or Alive Wellness for a groovy soundwave experience.
Another weird wellness treatment that takes place entirely inside a futuristic-looking pod? Ozone sauna! More specifically, hypothermic ozone and carbonic acid transdermal therapy… or HOCATT, for short. HOCATT machines comprise eight treatments that are personalised to each patient’s symptoms and needs, including ozone therapy, ultraviolet irradiation, carbon dioxide therapy, oxygen therapy, electrotherapy, infrared therapy, hyperthermia, ultrasonic cavitation, aromatherapy, and colour therapy.
It sounds intimidating, but the patient just sits inside the pod enjoying a steamy ozone sauna for half an hour while breathing in pure oxygen. During that time, the machine will do everything listed above, which in turn supposedly results in increased circulation, energy, antioxidant enzyme production, and nutrient absorption, as well as a more even skin tone.
LifeClinic, 2–3/F, 33 Wellington Street, Central | (+852) 2881 8131
If you find that your energy-boosting smoothies are taking too long to kick in, then perhaps an intravenous drip might be of interest. While you may be used to seeing IV drips in the context of in-patient treatment, elective IV therapy has actually become pretty popular in the last few years—specifically as a quick hangover remedy.
In Hong Kong, however, the few clinics that offer elective IV drips are more focused on boosting your general health and immunity (though they can also sort you out after a rough night). Clinics like REVIV and LifeHub offer vitamin infusions that are targeted at specific concerns, like mental clarity, fatigue, ageing, post-workout recovery, and—of course—hangovers. If you’re too hungover to drag yourself to the clinic, REVIV will even come to you with a litre bag of your infusion of choice, so you can live out your fantasy of being one of the pampered finance bros from Billions.