THE  FOURTHWAY  MANHO  E-JOURNAL

Volume 9             May 10, 2003


HEALTH SPA AND ASSOCIATED THERAPIES

By Professor Dr. Tan Man-Ho

"In this Work you must remember to be present always and everywhere in the house of the SPA as you work on your own "painfully stressed" physical body and your tensed spiritual self, reducing the set of mechanical constraints that is impeding the harmonious flow of your instinctive, sex and feeling centers and allowing new pleasure-energized instinctive hydrogens into your body assisted, in most cases through three-brained beings of the opposite sex. 

The house of the SPA can be designed in various styles --  the Balinese, the Thai or the middle eastern -- but they must be in a supportive harmony to the SPA philosophy."

The mystical wonder and irresistible appeal of healing waters that baffle human quest for natural health and perfection, the theme of most spas, has attracted the infirm, weary and escaping three-brained beings for thousands of years.  The term "Spa" comes from the name of an ancient town in Belgium that attracted people from many areas to its healing waters during the 16th century.  The hope of having a relaxed and rejuvenated physical body and an enhanced spiritual well-being has caused resurgence of great interest in health spas, which gradually become one of the important natural health system in a growing spa industry.

Water is a great solvent and many substances can dissolve in it.  Besides this, it can be chilled or warmed within the range of 0°C  to  100°C to enable good range of variation in temperature for a human body that operates at 37°C constant.  For short moments of exposure to water at 0°C and 60°C, a therapeutic environment can be created for the problem body.  Water is a wonder medium for introducing healing substances into the body as it is a good transportation medium.

Hot springs are also one of the sources of healing waters, which is known for warm water therapy and bacterial killing sulphur that cleans the skin.  Together this combination constitutes a powerful healing effect on the human body.

In addition to use of non-water based substances, exercise classes and equipment, a variety of treatments are available at modern spas.  Modern spa system is often incorporated with Jacuzzi, hydrojets, steam bathroom, large spa pools and other equipment.  There are also massage therapy, aromatherapy, oil therapy, scrub therapy, body wrap therapy, balneotherapy, sauna, etc. to accompanying it.  But the central theme of a spa system is still the water therapy.  Although many of the claims made about the treatments have not been proven and are often misleading, there is no doubt that they are relaxing and cause a sense of well being – the feeling good after effect.  The relationship between the mental, the emotional, the sexual and the physical health are well accepted from both scientific and experiential understanding, and therefore the relaxation and harmony derived from these treatments may well have a positive impact on physical health.

Aromatherapy involves body, face, and/or scalp massage with aromatic essential oils extracted from plants, trees and flowers that are believed to provide therapeutic benefits.  The theory is that the olfactory system (associated with the sense of smell) converts scents into signals that travel to the portion of the brain known as the limbic system.  The limbic system is a very primitive portion of the brain and is involved in generation of emotions and primal urges.  These signals provide a pathway to our emotions and memories, along with affecting physical changes in our body such as appetite and stress level.  Generally, the therapeutic benefits of aromatherapy have not been verified by scientific investigation, however the ability of fragrant oils to induce relaxation is widely accepted.  A cautionary note is that while "natural" is frequently equated with "safe", essential oils can cause allergic reactions and skin sensitization in some individuals.  Most are diluted with a carrier oil before use.  Aromatherapy comes after general body cleansing and never before it.  The oils are applied in small quantity first to see if there is an allergic response and gradually applied in greater amount if everything goes on well.

Aromatherapy uses several oils and liquids on the body, for oil burners and diffusers.  They include lemon, citronella, basil, cedarwood, eucalyptus, rosemary, lavender, juniper. mandarin, sweet orange, thyme, patchouli, cinnamon-leaf, lemongrass, tea tree, chamomile, ylang ylang and others  Lavender oil has been incorporated into many topical products for its ability to induce relaxation, and the delightful fragrance emitted from lavender pillows have made them very popular, however some have developed sensitive skin condition from their use.  A scalp massage with oil containing thyme, rosemary, lavender, and cedarwood is helpful to stimulate a mild hair growth.  Bergamot oil is a favorite among many individuals and is associated with the scent of Earl Gray Tea.  Although it can cause sensitization, it has been used with UV light treatment for people with psoriasis, vitilago and some fungal infections.  Perfumes are used for direct changes to inner emotions and moods.  The flavonoids and pectin from oil of the bitter orange peel and flower may be used in foot rubs due to its anti-fungal activity in the presence of Athlete’s Foot (tinea pedis).

Absorb therapy consists of 2 types – an In-absorb therapy and an Out-absorbing therapy.  In-Absorb therapy refers to introducing substances to the skin surfaces for a period of time so that healthy substances are absorbed in small quantities to its surface to improve the quality, the aroma, the aura or atmosphere of the skin.  The skin is well known for being an absorber of many chemical substances and fluids.  Doctors often administered drugs through the rectum or anus to enable immediate reduction of high fever.  The substances introduced in In-absorb therapy will be readily absorbed under the skin to improve skin health and skin atmosphere.  The Out-absorb therapy is a removal of body oils, fluids and other waste substances from the body through the used of absorbing substances such as clay, mask and other absorbing absorbers.

Body Scrubs not only cleanse the dirt on the skin, it also removes a very thin layer of dead cells at its outermost layer, which is an exfoliation treatment  The scrubbing is performed with many combinations of substances including sea salt, red clay salts, essential oils, ground almonds, and sugar.  A loofah sponge may be used to provide exfoliating action and is sometimes used with mixture of sea salt and warm almond or avocado oil.  These invigorating treatments remove the outer dead skin cells, leaving the skin with a temporary pink glow and a smoother feel.  They do not have any internal detoxifying abilities.

Body Wraps involve applying a substance such as clay, an essential oil, or an amino acid solution and then wrapping the body in hot linens, plastic sheets or blankets.  The heat induced sweating that occurs can temporarily cause loss of inches, but they do not stimulate metabolism enough to cause fat or weight loss.  Toxins are not eliminated to an extent greater than that, which occurs with sweating.  Body wraps involves sweating and toxic body water extraction for therapeutic results.  Paraffin wax baths have been used for many years to provide relief from joint pain of the hands and feet, particularly in patients with arthritis.  In addition to treatment of the extremities, many spas now offer total body wax treatments.  Warm wax is brushed over the body, which is then wrapped in cloth or another covering in order to induce sweating.  The treatment provides relaxation and leaves the skin feeling soft and moisturized.

Lymph drainage through “removal of dirty fluid” refers to the traditional way of removing edema fluid or small “pools” of body fluid waste trapped under the skin that are too slow in draining into the main lymphatic vessels.  Lymph drainage by manual compression or equipment such as the traditional vacuum vessels as practiced by the Chinese traditional healers for removal of "bad" winds or vapors trapped in the human body is sometimes used to mobilize accumulated edema fluid out of the body through the sweat pores or to compress and distribute it around the body to increase lymph flow.  Lymph is a fluid collected from tissues and returned to the blood by way of the lymphatic vessels.  If the lymphatic vessels or lymph nodes become obstructed, often after surgery or radiation therapy, edema fluid can accumulate and cause swelling.  This fluid contains a substantial amount of waste materials discharged from the neighboring cells (do) and the tissues (re), and if it did not reach the main lymphatic vessels and transported to the excretory system for large-scale purification, the body will become ill from the toxins.  Lymph drainage is localized in specific zones of the surface body.  It improves the quality of plasma and rejuvenates the lymphatic system.

Facial work is also localized and confined to specific areas of the body such as the face, and the neck.  Facials can contain many different ingredients designed to cleanse and hydrate the skin on the face and neck.  After thorough cleansing and steaming, blackheads and whiteheads may be extracted before application of a mask.  Masks are tailored for the individual’s needs, particularly addressing the problems of acne or aging skin.  People with acne often receive a clay containing substance due to their oil absorbing properties.

Masks provide cleansing, soothing and hydrating effects to the skin.  After the facial, the skin generally feels smooth and soft, and the client is relaxed.  Many masks contain extracts from seaweed that contain amino acids, vitamins, minerals and trace elements.  There is some evidence that these substances can penetrate the upper layers of dead skin cells and affect the living cells of the dermis and epidermis.  Some of the effects described for these ingredients have been tested on cells growing in culture dishes or are generalized effects of, for example, vitamins or minerals ingested orally.  The same is true for ingredients in most other masks.  The effect is minimum because the substances used have absorbing and cleansing function rather than “giving” function.

Balneotherapy refers to therapy associated with bathing.  Balneotherapy usually incorporates the use of substances found in nature, such as sea or mineral water and peat substances in heated submersion baths.  They have been used for their ability to relieve pain and improve the general sense of well being.  Although they are relaxing and provide relief for sore muscles, there is insufficient evidence to support their claims of immune stimulating and detoxifying abilities.  Normally, the skin must be cleansed first before the introduction of these substances.  Bathing used for general skin cleansing normally comes before the oil and massage therapy which is then followed by another light bathing that removes any traces of oils stuck on the surface of the skin.

Jacuzzi therapy involves soaking in a tub or pool of circulating, warm (or hot) water containing air bubbles.  The air bubble has stimulating massage effect.  It increases circulation and causes relaxation and a general feeling of well-being.  Many people claim a therapeutic benefit of easing soreness in the muscles or pain in the joints.  

Hydrojets refers to shooting of a narrow powerful water jet all over the body.  It provides a continuous narrow stream of high pressure on the skin thus giving the localized massage and cleansing.  It resembles washing our car with a water jet where any substance stuck on the skin will be removed by the jet.  After this therapy, the body often feels warm and tune up.  The water can be cold, normal or “hot” to produce the desire effect.

Thalassotherapy includes seawater baths, algae masks and wraps.  It is derived from the Greek word thalassos meaning "sea", and it involves treatments that incorporate the use of seawater and seaweed.  Seaweed is believed by some to be nature’s source of complete and balanced nutrients, containing many elements that are essential to the human body.  The chemical composition of seawater is similar to human plasma, however the protective nature of the skin does not allow most of these ingredients to penetrate to the lower living layers of skin cells.  It is natural to use an In-absorb therapy to “bring” it into the body by natural means.  There have been anecdotal reports of the benefits of seawater experienced by people with atopic dermatitis or psoriasis.  At spas, the seawater bath is usually heated to approximately 105°F.  It provides relaxation and often soothes sore muscles.  However, the ability to re-balance the plasma composition is still difficult by the natural means.

Steam baths are similar to saunas but use steam to promote perspiration.  Humidity is at its highest.  Evaporation of sweat does not occur in a steam bath, so there is little or no loss of body water as occurs in a sauna.  The heat may feel more intense than in a sauna.  Some people with sinus or allergy problems like the effects of steam baths to loosen secretions.

Saunas offer a heat treatment in a wood lined room to make the body perspire.  The air can be relatively dry, or water can be sprinkled on the walls or over the stones in the sauna to increase humidity.  Since the skin is an excretory organ, sweating causes the elimination of some waste products, which cause many to claim that saunas have a detoxifying effect.  In any event, they are relaxing and impart a temporary glow to the skin because of the heat.

Milk Bath or Mandi Susu is a nourishing bath for the skin, normally through the use of milk from goat.  Flowers and essential oils can be added to it to enhanced the milk therapy through the holistic inputs of floritherapy and aromatherapy.

The types of water used in SPA therapy is relevant.  Tap water is chlorinated and is a bacterial killer that also kills fishes.  It is not the best water in any of its 3 temperatures -cold, chill and warm - although commonly used in city Spas.  Spring water is natural and clean and it is the better water.  Oxygenated water is useful for specific intention and can be expensive.  Underground water taken directly from deep underground with mineral content is better than Spring Water which has surfaced from the ground and may contain some harmful organism.  Sea Water has the mineral content especially salt which can heal wounds faster but the water must not be polluted.  Hot Springs from volcanic soil with high content of sulphur is another good healing water.  Enhanced or manipulated water with flowers, temperatures, pressures, bubbles, essential oils, fragrant soaps, minerals, etc. is the usual practice to water for SPA therapy.  Human touch in bathneotherapy based on ying-yang rule can truly be enlightening.

Spa and associated body works have a therapeutic effect on the instinctive and sexual disharmonies that have been structured formatorily by the mechanics of jobs in earning a living or running sociocosmic stopinders. They are also associated with principles and techniques rooted partially in the Athenian Epicurean philosophy, the doctrine of kama and the tantric philosophy.  The therapeutic principle of pain-is-gain is a major theme in the body massage workshop of a SPA philosophy. 

These therapies are useful in improving the physical and physiological well being of an individual thus changing his lower level of being to a higher one.  This will in turn assist him to acquire more knowledge as his being increases.

Erotic therapy and treatment is based on different principles of therapy and body transformation, and need not be a service product for sale in a SPA workshop as these are practices subjected to the regulation of laws, rules and norms of various sociocosmic stopinders in the world.

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