We all know steaming is healthy (i.e. steamed veggies, steam saunas, etc.), but how about getting your entire body steamed in a wooden tub of herbal Chinese medicine?
Tibet Therapy, located in Causeway Bay, offers some seriously smelly steaming services in the name of health. Out of curiosity, I tried out their body and foot steaming treatments over Easter and it was quite an experience.
Never heard of Tibetan steaming? Neither had I. Apparently it was discovered 2,500 years ago by Tibetan doctors and the original medicinal mixes were highly protected and secretive. The idea behind it is that “herbal fumigation and steaming therapy can ‘clear dirt and odor, reduce body heat, increase energy and prolong life span’, since the herbal mixes are being turned into steam and absorbed directly into the skin (the body’s largest organ).
The many benefits of Tibetan steam therapy include increased metabolism, relaxed muscle, reduced pain, improved joint function, better sleep, self-healing and even an anti-aging effect on the skin (source).
First, we needed to choose a herbal mix that would be used to create the steam in our personal wooden tubs. There are 10 mixes to choose from at Tibet Therapy split between male and female-targeted, including those that treat insomnia, slimming, water retention and other health issues.
The lady uses the herbal mix in the steam machine, which feeds the steam into the tub. We then changed into one of their disposable tube dresses and underwear and sat in the tub, while she helped cover the lid (leaving only our heads exposed). The seat was a little hard and we were told to keep our feet elevated against the side of the tub, but this quickly became tiring since we were in the tub for a total of 40 minutes.
There’s a small television screen to watch but it’s stuck on a local channel, not to mention we were unable to use our hands to change channels since they were in the tub. Halfway through, the lady brought us a cup of water to drink, complete with bendy straw and all. Time passed pretty quickly and we found ourselves sweating a bit by the end of it.
Surprisingly, after the body steaming, we were told not to shower for at least two hours (!). We dried ourselves off with their towels and then put on a robe for the foot steaming session. This was done in the public area of Tibet Therapy, where we first steamed the soles of our feet (which was really hot) and then our calves (which was just fine).
At the bottom of the tub was a small white disc, which would catch the steam drops from the legs/feet, and the colour of the steam would indicate your condition. Apparently, clear means you are healthy, yellow means your stomach has issues, while purple meant something else (they have a picture to explain everything).
After the steaming, we didn’t actually feel any different, except for the soles of our feet feeling a little scalded from the hot steam (be warned!). Priced at HK$168 for the 45-minute body steaming and HK$98 for the 45-minute foot steaming (with other specials on weekends), it’s probably worth trying the Tibet Therapy at least once, if not for novelty alone. But when the lady tried to sell us a 10x package for each, we passed.Tibet Therapy Hong Kong, 26/F, Siki Centre, 21-23 Jardine’s Bazaar, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, +852 2856 2633, www.tibettherapy.com.hk