We check out the latest in alternative healing at The Mandarin Oriental Spa, Hong Kong

The Mandarin Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong has exclusively acquired the first revolutionary dry salt inhalation ‘halotherapy’ and infrared sauna. Halotherapy, otherwise known as salt therapy, is an alternative treatment that mimics the inside of a salt cave and is said to improve respiratory health, skin conditions and boost your immune system.

We decided to try their new Breathe and Detox treatment—which combines halotherapy, chromotherapy (or colour therapy) and lymphatic massage—to see if it is, quite literally, worth its salt.

I entered the spa and was greeted with warm smiles. After a quick check-in and consultation to establish what I was looking to get out of the treatment, I put on my slippers and head over to the heat and water facilities, which help prepare the body for a deep therapeutic experience.

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A holistic sensory journey

As soon as I walked down the stairs, the sound of a gentle waterfall transported me into another world. I was no longer battling the crowd and the pollution but instead entering a safe haven filled with calming aromas and ambient music.

The therapist led me into a dimly-lit spa suite, complete with its own large bathtub guarded by two stone lions, a rain shower, two massage tables, a private bathroom and a futuristic-looking white infrared sauna. This sauna—which incorporates halotherapy with infrared technology—is the first of its kind.

The therapist warned me that I may feel salt deposits on my skin and may even taste salt when I inhale.

The rainbow treatment

The changing infrared lights in the sauna are due to chromotherapy, or colour therapy, which uses colour to adjust body vibrations to frequencies and mimic the sun’s seven distinct rays without the dangerous effects of solar radiation. A colour wheel is given with the option to focus on one colour and its unique benefits, or you can opt for the whole rainbow.

After a few sips of lavender water, I stepped into the infrared sauna to start my 30-minute treatment. The gentle hum of the machine gave me something to focus on and I decided to take advantage of the quiet time alone and do a short meditation. I wondered when I would start feeling salt on my body but that time never came. As soon as the treatment was over, I drank the green detox smoothie as suggested and hopped into the shower to wash the sweat and ghost salt away.

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Fall into a meditative state

The therapist then came in to prep me for part II of the treatment: the breathe and lymphatic massage. The breathe massage targets the lungs and combines pressure points and drainage techniques to not only relieve muscle tensions, but to also clear air pathways. I started by taking a deep inhale of a natural essential oil made with eucalyptus, tea-tree, pine, and lavender and spent the next 30 minutes slowly drifting into a meditative state as the masseuse glided over my skin with an aromatic oil, hitting every spot that needed work.

I then turned onto my back and got ready for the lymphatic massage. The masseuse first targeted my stomach and it felt like my organs were being moved around. It caused mild discomfort but I was mentally prepared for it. Above all, I was very intrigued as I had never had an abdomen massage before.

What she was doing was accelerating lymph node drainage, which helps detox the body and minimise health issues such as water retention, digestive problems, sinus-build up and coughing. Considering I had been particularly susceptible to air pollution and viruses lately, I was happy to know my body was getting a good cleanse.

After the abdomen, the masseuse moved down to my legs before moving back up to the armpits and neck, where there is a high concentration of lymph nodes. She quietly asked me if I was stretching enough after my runs and was met with a guilty silence. Apparently my whole lower body was a bit tight and I needed to spend more time stretching out my muscles post-run to avoid cramping. Duly noted.

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By the time the treatment came to an end, I couldn’t move. I remember feeling paralysed, but in the best way possible. I was still feeling all the benefits from the last 90 minutes and wanted to soak in every extra minute I could get in this soft cocoon.

The benefits really started showing the next day. I felt as light as a feather and my usually-tensed muscles were relaxed. If an afternoon of pure bliss and ultimate body detox is what you’re looking for, the Mandarin Oriental Breathe and Detox treatment is definitely for you.

Available from 1 April until 30 June 2019, the 120-minute Breathe and Detox suite experience is priced at HKD 4,350 for two persons on weekdays and HK$4,970 for two persons on weekends, subject to 10% service charge. For further details or reservations, please call The Mandarin Spa at +852 2825 4888 or email mohkg-spa@mohg.com. Find out more at mandarinoriental.com

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