Grace Tay found herself in for some serious coddling at The Luxe House, which specialises in TCM practices modernised into indulgent spa treatments.
Tucked away from the main restaurant stretch in Dempsey, in a cul-de-sac just steps away from Muthu’s Curry, is a sybarite’s wellness haven. The Luxe House boasts an eclectic elegance not unlike an exclusive private club or six-star hotel (its owner is an interior designer). The spa, which turns one in October, uses Eastern and Western therapies in spa treatments that are as decadent as the decor.
I love shoes, and I love kicking them off for a good foot massage. The 100min Royal Meridian Foot & Back Therapy is not just relaxing but therapeutic and energising too. Following a herbal foot bath coupled with a head-and-neck massage, I lean back on a wide chaise. My Chinese therapist Li Rong explains the steps along the way. She uses a blend of pure essential oils and firm, swift strokes from feet to past the knees. Next is cupping therapy to detox and unblock energy flow. Glass cups are attached to my heels by flame-created vacuum, moved back and forth over the length of my feet five or six times, then left suctioned on the arches, which I find painfully uncomfortable after a few seconds. As I was assured, no bruising. The chair is then fully reclined for my back massage, complete with hot stones placed on meridian points to stimulate energy flow.
More legwork is next, with a lower-body lymphatic massage from the Women’s Wellness menu (an upper body alternative to this is available for women, that supposedly prevents breast lumps and cancer). First, hot towels are placed on both groin areas. Li Rong uses a cream with deer antler velvet, which is used in Chinese medicine to stimulate a lazy lymphatic system, working from the groin area and inner thighs, to ankles and feet. It’s ticklish and painful all at once. She focuses more time on the back of my knees, where she’s sensed quite serious blockages in the lymph nodes. She cups her hands and makes hitting actions noisily over the groin area, which she says will break down blockages into smaller bits so that the body eliminates them more easily. She does my right leg first, then gets me to sit up and compare both legs. The treated leg is noticeably more toned, and I’m surprised at the instant results. By the time she’s done, my calves are slimmer and the sponginess just below the back of the knees has disappeared completely. My legs look like I’ve been running 10km a day all my life (and stay slim for nearly a week).
Head & Shoulders
Next up, a computerised scalp analysis shows incriminating magnified images of my oily follicles and near-colourless super-fine (malnourished) hairs. I’m not sure if anything was lost or added in translation, but I gathered from the therapist that mites—shudder!—can cause follicle blockage. Good thing I’m up for the Harmonising Hair and Scalp Therapy, one of the spa’s six treatments to optimise hair health. Lying back on a special massage bed, I’m given a neck and shoulder massage before my hair and scalp is stroked with a wooden brush. Then, oddly, it’s knocked lightly over my noggin. Li Rong explains that pain in specific spots indicates different health problems: above the forehead, not enough rest; back of the neck, insufficient exercise; temples, build-up of toxins; etc. I don’t feel exceptional pain in any spots, though I’m fairly certain I lack sleep and exercise.
An essential oil blend is used in the head acupoint massage and on my neck and shoulders, before my hair is washed and conditioned with organic products from Australia. The blowout that followed wasn’t to salon-standard finish, but I reminded myself that Li Rong’s a skilled TCM-trained therapist, not a hairstylist. A second scalp scan showed fewer clogged follicles and less dead skin flakes visible. Maybe it’s because it’s past dinnertime, but unlike the first two treatments I feel suddenly tired after this treatment. Or maybe it is my body going into an utterly rested state about four hours of therapeutic pampering. A light dinner, and I’m out like a light.
The Luxe House, 7A Dempsey Road, tel: 6479 9997. Open from 1pm, it closes at 1am so postprandial Dempsey diners or Orchard Road shoppers can do a late-night pit stop.