The rain was beginning to pour down as I stepped into Far East Plaza, and I was actually feeling a little chilly. This might be dreary weather for some, but alll of which made it a perfect time to experience hot stone therapy at Ganbanyoku Singapore.
Ganbanyoku, or hot stone therapy, is not new, and has been practised in Japan for centuries. It is understood to support our body’s circulation, digestion, and metabolism, in addition to serving as a way to ease joint pain and detoxify the body.
The design of Ganbanyoku Singapore is minimalist, and is well-maintained, with everything looking and more importantly, feeling clean. I was greeted warmly by the receptionist, who walked me through the simple steps of the process, before being given a yukata and set of towels for use.
I was glad for the option to shower before donning the yukata, as this helped my body feel fresh and clean at the start of the therapy session. When I was ready, I was shown into a dimly-lit room with six partially-partitioned spaces to lay down on the hot stone slabs. To my surprise, the room felt comfortable to breathe in, unlike the experience of a sauna or steam room, and it was lightly perfumed.
We are encouraged to start by laying down on our bellies, to stimulate the vital organs in this region with the warmth of the stone. This immediately felt soothing, and I felt my body sinking down and softening into the ground.
After some time, I turned to lay on my back, and feeling the warmth permeate into my sacrum and lower back felt very nourishing. In particular, in TCM, supporting our kidneys which house our fundamental jing, is important as this is thought to be the foundation of all the energy in our body. And the far infra-red rays, coupled with the minerals of the natural stone slabs, were able to penetrate deep into the body, providing warmth from the inside out.
These far infra-red rays are actually emitted naturally from the stones themselves, and are waves of energy that are able to reach the inner areas of the muscles, bones, and tissues, providing healing. Heating the stones serves to increase the amount of far infra-red rays they emit, thus creating this relaxing therapy that is as easy as simply lying down to rest!
At the close of the session, we are encouraged not to take a shower, but to towel dry our body. This is because the far infra-red rays produce what is known as “silky sweat”, where our skin’s natural oils come to the surface and serve as a conditioner to help keep our skin soft and smooth.
I was a little skeptical that it could be possible to sweat from the heat, and still not have the body feel sticky or smelly, but to my surprise, this was indeed my experience!
Once I had changed back into my clothes and began to make my way back to the reception area, I could notice a lightness and yet steadiness in my body. My hands and feet which tend to get cold very easily were warm, and the aches of the day, held in my shoulders and hips, had subsided into an ease in my movement.
This is certainly a therapy that I would like to revisit again as it runs counter to so many therapies and practices that are in the holistic landscape. It is simple, natural and enables our bodies to heal, by encouraging us to tune into non-doing, to rest.
I liked it so much I’ve gotten some vouchers as gifts for friends.
Ganabanyoku Singapore can be found at Far East Plaza, 14 Scotts Road, #02-29, Singapore 228213.
Enter the 5-5 Giveaway from Ganbanyoku Singapore. Five lucky winners will receive five complimentary sessions each. Email Hello@WhatTherapy.com with the subject “Yes to Ganbanyoku” before December 15 2017 to enter. Full contest details here.