When the chance came up to give Singapore’s only Japanese Ganban-yoku Spa a go, it didn’t take me long to reply with a resounding “YES!”. I mean, how often can you lie in a room, completely undisturbed by small children and just focus on yourself for a while? Not often enough I say!
Located off Upper Thomson Road, the Anti-Oxidant Centre is the only one of its kind in Singapore. Constructed entirely from ganban (granite that has been specially manufactured to have anti-oxidant properties) the spa is a place to detox and re-energise. The theory goes that the granite, once heated, emits negative ions that are absorbed by the body to improve blood circulation, boost metabolism and eliminate waste. It’s even rumoured to have anti-aging properties — just what this mama wanted to hear!
The spa itself is no-frills and functional. I arrived on a busy Wednesday morning (sans make up!) ready for my Ganban-yoku session. The treatment is essentially “bedrock bathing without hot water” and involves lying on a granite slab in a heated (39 – 41 degrees) room for 45 minutes. There are a number of female-only treatment rooms (housing 2 to 3 granite ‘beds’) as well as a number of unisex rooms with 3-4 granite beds, although I didn’t spy any male spa goers when I was there — just a bunch of chatty older women ready for their weekly treatments!
Walking into the hot treatment room was such a sensation, and the heat certainly took my breath away for a minute! A clock on the wall carefully kept the time, while I lay on my granite bed and sweated it out. You’re instructed before you go in to change how you lay every 10 minutes or so (so the whole body is in contact with the granite bed at some point) and I found doing this kept my mind focussed and relaxed.
At the end of the treatment time, you’re invited to sit in the resting room (complete with trash mags!) to cool down and sip on an enzyme juice. Made fresh in house the juice is designed to replace the electrolytes lost during the session and rebalance the body. I also used the time to cheekily catch up on my ‘reading’ before heading to the change rooms to shower.
Walking out of the centre, I felt relaxed and recharged — an hour of uninterrupted “mama time” will do that! It also reminded me of the need to look after myself some more (don’t we all mama?) and to take the time to really relax. Getting to detoxify my body at the same time was the icing on the (proverbial) cake!
Each Ganban-yoku session is 45 minutes long and costs $39 per session. Until 31 December 2013 Sassy Mama readers can enjoy a trial Ganban-yoku session for only $10, when they mention the codename “Sassy Mama” when making their first appointment. Offer is applicable to new customers only.