From 15 June until September 30, 2020, the Mandarin Spa at Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong is welcoming physiotherapist and acupuncturist Wynne Lee to provide guests with spinal mobilisation therapies. Compare Retreats’ Editor and Business Development Executive Faye Bradley steps out of the Hong Kong humidity and into the peaceful sanctuary to try the Spinal Mobilisation Therapy and Warm Bamboo Massage.
The Mandarin Spa is located on the 24th floor of the hotel and stretches over two floors for spacious comfort. The dark and earthy décor is inviting and tranquil—inspired by 1930s Shanghai and retaining its colonial charm from its 50 years of heritage. There are nine treatment rooms in total, including two couples’ suites with private vitality pools for total seclusion. The spa also features a tea lounge for post-treatment relaxation, a Chinese herbal tea steam room, a jacuzzi for men and a tepidarium for women, a sauna and a spa boutique.
Treatments at The Mandarin Spa are unique in that they combine Western and traditional Chinese medicine therapies to connect with the hotel’s East-meets-West philosophy. I checked in at the spa reception and was offered a Chinese herbal tea to wind down, whilst filling in a form to outline the preferred target areas for my body aches and whether I had any allergies or injuries. My main focus areas when I attend spa treatments are always my lower back and shoulders, as a result of computer and desk work, so I informed the staff accordingly.
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After changing into my bathrobe and slippers, I met Wynne Lee, a highly experienced guest practitioner at the Mandarin Spa. Wynne is a registered physiotherapist, certified acupuncture and Moxibustion practitioner, and International Clinical Pilates Instructor. We had an initial consultation in the private room, where she asked me to try a few simple exercises to find out how strong each of my muscles was. She went on to explain that my lower back was in fact quite strong, but my upper back and shoulders were in need of remobilising.
I laid on my front and the treatment began. First, Wynne performed the Spinal Mobilisation Therapy which released body joint stiffness (in my case, particularly on the upper back) to relieve tight muscles and any pain. It was important to note that this wasn’t just a holistic massage—it was a results-oriented exercise to encourage mobilisation on the spine. So there was occasional slight discomfort on the shoulders—which were constrained from my days of laptop hunching—but it was more than bearable, and the immediate relief afterward made it worth it.
Throughout the treatment, Wynne outlined the reasons for each action and she encourages Pilates as a way to strengthen the back, by building up the core first. Next was the warm bamboo massage, a deep tissue massage that used warm bamboo sticks to further relieve the musical tension and improve blood circulation and lymphatic flow. This was very soothing, thanks to the heat from the bamboo which was coated with essential oils—following the traditional Chinese method. At the end of my treatment, Wynne showed me six home or office desk exercises to do every day to improve my neck and upper back strength. These were very simple and I took note of them in my diary for future use. I finished my experience after a quick shower and trying out the spa’s tea lounge where I sat with a travel magazine and a cup of tea—an activity for post-treatment composure.
Having a break in the middle of a workday was a great way to relax and recover my thoughts before getting back into the city. I felt notably more active as a result of the stiffness relief and my neck and shoulders were already feeling more flexible. As a 90-minute treatment, Wynne managed to recover some of the pain from my muscles in a short amount of time. The whole experience at The Mandarin Spa was accommodating and the service was very friendly and helpful, coinciding with the Mandarin Oriental’s long-standing heritage and world-class reputation.
Wynne Lee will be hosting the Wellness Restoration treatments from 15 June until 30 September 2020.