Spa Spotlight: The Traditional Path to Health and Relaxation

By Edeline Anne Goh

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) was developed in China more than 5000 years ago. It consists of several traditional methods that revolve around natural healing. These methods include the Yin and Yang theory as well as the five element theory which relates five major organs — the liver, heart, spleen, lung and kidney — to metal, wood, water, fire and earth.TCM02

In the hopes of discovering the healing and relaxation effects of TCM, I took the opportunity to experience one of the country’s most popular TCM Centres, which is located at the Golden Horses Health Sanctuary (GHHS), Seri Kembangan. The GHHS Wellness – TCM Center is an exclusive preventive healthcare centre, offering traditional Chinese and complementary medicine.

My experience began with registration at the reception. I was served a one-of-a-kind warm herbal tea which is specially formulated by GHHS Wellness – TCM Center’s in-house pharmacists.

The first step in my treatment involved a pulse reading examination, which was conducted by a trained TCM practitioner from China. With just two fingers placed on the wrist to read your pulse, he can tell if you need to make some adjustments to your lifestyle, such as getting more sleep or improving your eating habits. My pulse reading session was followed by a localised, one-hour tuina treatment conducted by a trained tuinalogist.

Tuina is a type of manipulative therapy, which uses Chinese martial arts and Taoist principles. It involves gently kneading, rolling, pressing or rubbing the area that requires treatment. Many mistakenly believe tuina is a form of massage. Although this treatment does involve certain elements of massage such as gentle strokes to relax the muscles and the use of massage oil, the aim of tuina is to treat areas, which are very tense to prevent further injury and health problems.

During my session the tuinalogist explained that, in the 21st century, where many people practice a sedentary lifestyle, body zones that are affected most by stress are usually around the shoulders and hips.  She elaborated that the former is due to the use of tech gadgets which involves a lot of repetitive movements in certain areas of the arms while the latter is caused by long hours spent sitting.

If pain is felt during the session, it is best to inform the tuinalogist as that indicates that the particular area requires more attention and the treatment will be tailored according to your needs. After the session, I definitely felt a sense of deep relaxation.

To allow the body to rest and prepare for the next session, a half hour herbal foot bath was provided. Seated on a comfortable, cushioned chair in a warmly-lit private room, my feet were soaked in a large wooden bucket with a warm herbal concoction. A great feature of the bucket was that it had small bumps at its base, which gave a massaging effect.TCM03

The last session was acupuncture. As an ancient traditional treatment, acupuncture has been formally recognised by the World Health Organisation. At GHHS Wellness – TCM Centre, disposable acupuncture needles and gloves are used. The friendly staff and medical experts are professional and welcoming and explained each procedure to me before it was performed. I was also given a buzzer to press, if I required assistance during the treatment, to ensure that I was comfortable at all times.

Spending just a few hours at the centre made a world of difference. I walked out feeling contented and absolutely relaxed. The best part is, the treatments I had just experienced were preventive measures designed to improve wellbeing and health. After all, prevention is certainly better than cure!

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