Knead picks

Knead picks

Massages and spa treatments don't just help with kinks and sore spots, they focus on our overall wellbeing and health as well.

The Luxe House

7A Dempsey Road

Z6479 9997

Open 1pm to 1am

If you're harbouring thoughts of sinking into the scented oblivion of this new luxury spa as massage therapists knead you to sleep with smooth, feathery-light strokes, forget it.

The Luxe House may tick all the boxes in terms of elegant surroundings, lush greenery and top grade essential oils, but its real mission is to massage the health back into you.

Good luck drifting off into slumberland as muscle-hunter therapist Wan Yan goes through every single muscle in your body in meticulous pursuit of kinks and sore spots, intent on exorcising them with deft strokes and expert finger work.

She is among a team of therapists recruited by the spa from China, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia who specialise in Oriental therapy from body massage and foot reflexology, to exotica such as moxibustion, cupping, and the slightly graphic-sounding ear mining.

If you were once resigned to the Good Morning towel amenities of Chinatown massage outlets for a decent cupping or tui na session, you can rejoice in the comfort of private rooms with fluffy towels and meditative piped-in music.

The Divine Body Care (S$248 for non members/ S$198 for members) is a full-on massage that works on muscular, jetlag, detox or metabolism issues depending on your needs and the oils you choose.

The Mandarin-speaking Wan Yan marinades you in a rosemary oil blend, with a mixture of smooth hand strokes and hot stones.

You can feel your tight muscles unclenching and even though it's wonderfully relaxing, the massage is an intensive one that doesn't lull you to sleep. At one point she rubs your head so vigorously you wonder if she's trying to start a fire from the friction.

The massage ends on a smoky note at least - with the added option of moxibustion (S$90/S$70) where a cigar-like moxa of dried mugwort is lit and the smoke passes over your head and shoulders for detoxification.

If you prefer your feet to receive tender loving care, the Royal Meridien Foot and Back Therapy (S$158/S$138) is great for relieving stress and aches from too much sitting at the computer.

You start with a face, head, shoulder and arm massage while your feet soak in warm water mixed with one of five special herb formulations. A foot massage follows, along with unusual cupping, in which the glass suction cup is used to massage the foot.

You sit in a nifty chair that reclines fully so you don't have to move to a bed for your back massage - you can do this with oil, or if not, you can be fully clothed during the massage.

Check out another optional treatment, the unusual ear mining (S$70/S$50), where the Chinese master uses long toothpick-like sticks to lightly scratch your outer ear and behind it - ticklish but it's supposed to stimulate the nerve endings.

Then he cleans your ear canal and twirls a bamboo stick covered with fluffy cotton on one end in your ear to make rustling, relaxing sounds. Apparently, this works to relax you and help you sleep.

What sets The Luxe House apart from the rest is its emphasis on wellness and healing, and its ability to recruit experienced therapists who - even if they don't speak English - add to the authenticity of the treatments on offer.

That, plus its hideaway location among natural greenery away from the bustling heart of Dempsey, makes it a hidden gem worth scouting out.

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