Focus on Prenatal Massage

The Benefits of Prenatal Massage

Prenatal massage 2

Massage performed during pregnancy can reduce anxiety, decrease symptoms of depression, relieve muscle aches and joint pains, and improve labor outcomes and newborn health.

Carrying a baby inside you changes your center of gravity and puts a lot of stress on your back, neck, abdominal muscles, and shoulders. Pregnancy also relaxes your ligaments, so that your pelvic joints are less stable, and changes your posture, pulling your pelvis forward. Add to that the extra weight you’re carrying and you may find you’ve got an aching lower back.

Benefits of Pre-natal Massage

Reduction of swelling

Edema, or swelling of the joints during pregnancy, is often caused by reduced circulation and increased pressure on the major blood vessels by the heavy uterus. Massage helps to stimulate soft tissues to reduce collection of fluids in swollen joints, which also improves the removal of tissue waste, carried by the body’s lymph system.

Improvement of nerve pain

Sciatic nerve pain is experienced by many women in late pregnancy as the uterus rests on muscles of the pelvic floor and lower back. The pressure of the uterus spreads tension to the muscles of the upper and lower leg, causing them to swell and put pressure on nearby nerves. Massage therapy addresses the inflamed nerves by helping to release the tension on nearby muscles. Many women have experienced significant reduction in sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy through regular massage.

Other benefits of prenatal massage:

  • Reduced muscle tension and headaches
  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Improved oxygenation of soft tissues and muscles
  • Better sleep

Body position during prenatal massage

Most women find it uncomfortable to lie face down right from the start of pregnancy because of their tender, swollen breasts. And you can’t lie face down on a traditional massage table once your belly has started to grow. On the other hand, it’s not a good idea to lie flat on your back either, particularly once you’re past mid-pregnancy, because the weight of your uterus puts too much pressure on the vein that returns blood from your legs to your heart.

For these reasons, we at the Spa at Four Seasons Hong Kong use either our special pad with hollowed-out areas and special pillows to accommodate your belly, and often your breasts as well.

Prenatal massage



Another research project from my wonderful concierge at the Spa Four Seasons Hong Kong.


Benefits of Ginseng (Panax quinquefolium) The name Panax means “all-heal” in Greek.

Uses of Ginseng
By folk medicine practices, American ginseng and Asian ginseng (P. ginseng) roots are used as an aphrodisiac, stimulant, or for sexual dysfunction in men.  It is also known to help with respiratory illnesses, quality of life, and resistance to stress (we all need this!) We can also use the healing properties of ginseng in our cosmetic and skin care products.

Ginseng Beauty
It is known to be a secret of delaying aging and sustaining youthfulness and beautiful skin (especially the Korean ginseng)  It provides elasticity to the skin by activating cellular function and producing new skin cells.  The Spa has ginseng in one of our newer product lines, Ling.  They have a Ginseng Mask which is formulated with Aloe Vera to soothe, Collagen to firm and Panax Ginseng to tone.


Ginseng Tea
Benefits: Ginseng tea is considered as one of the most nutritious herbal supplements available in the world.  Below are some of the aliments it can help.

  • Menstrual Problems: American Ginseng tea is well-known for its cooling effect. It is recommended for young women who suffer from menstrual cramps and distress.
  • Low Blood Pressure: This energetic drink keeps you on your toes all day long.
  • Brain Food: Ginseng tea acts as a stimulant to the brain cells. It improves the concentration power and thinking capabilities.
  • Obesity: This tea is popular as a natural appetite suppressant.
  • Sex Problems: Men with erectile dysfunction disorder can consume ginseng tea as it lessens the symptoms of such sex related conditions.

Spa Rant-Protection First

Protection first

Once I went for a massage (I know, this seems to happen a lot), and it was seemingly going well. It was soothing massage, so there was oil involved and things seemed to be going well until I noticed a really odd scratchy/squishy sound. This was followed by some odd snapping sounds until I finally looked up and turned and realised my therapist was wearing rubber gloves.

Rubber gloves. For a massage. Seriously? In all my years of spa-ing that has never happened to me before. It was so surprising I asked my therapist why she was using gloves. Her answer was “it’s for your protection, and mine.”

Well this was another stunner. What did I need protection from? I assumed she washed her hands before starting the massage…and I didn’t think I was particularly germ-ridden.

To be honest, it didn’t feel THAT different getting a massage through rubber gloves. It was just the sound! All that pulling and sucking and squishing and snapping. Well, not exactly what you’d call soothing. And of course I was a bit offended that the therapist needed to be “protected” from me.

When the massage was over, I asked the spa manager what was the reason for the gloves. She said that some clients prefer it (I want to meet these people!). When I pressed further she just promised me it wouldn’t happen again. So I never got an answer beyond the whole sanitation thing. I know Hong Kong can be oddly paranoid about sanitation post-SARS, but this was probably the strangest experience of it I’ve ever had.

Spa Concierge Talk. Lymphatic System

I am introducing a new element to by asking my spa concierge at the Spa at Four Seasons Hong Kong to write about a topic they want to understand.  The first of this series is by Kristy and her post is about the Lymph System.

I did not know that the lymphatic system plays such an important part of our body’s health. Damage to the lymphatic system not only affects the drainage of lymph, it also makes our face and body look puffy and chubby. After understanding the enormous function and effects of this system, I swear I’ll do everything to keep it healthy! – kristy

The lymphatic system collects and returns excess interstitial fluid and proteins to the blood. Besides, it absorbs and transport fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins from the digestive system. Another important function of the lymphatic system is its defense against disease and invading microorganisms.

Understanding the lymphatic system

The lymphatic system is a part of the circulatory system, comprising a network of conduits called lymphatic vessels that carry a clear fluid called lymph (from Latin lympha “water goddess”) uni-directionally towards the heart. The circulatory system processes an average of 20 liters of blood per day.  Roughly 17 liters per day of that gets reabsorbed directly into the blood vessels. The primary function of the lymph system is to provide an accessory route for these excess 3 liters per day to get returned to the blood. So lymph is essentially recycled blood plasma.

Secondly the lymphatic organs play an important part in the immune system, having a considerable overlap with the lymphoid system.


Lymphatics are found in every part of the body except the central nervous system. The major parts of the system are the bone marrow, spleen, thymus gland, lymph nodes, and the tonsils. Other organs, including the heart, lungs, intestines, liver, and skin also contain lymphatic tissue. Tubular vessels transport back lymph to the blood ultimately replacing the volume lost from the blood during the formation of the interstitial fluid. These channels are the lymphatic channels or simply called lymphatics.


Means clear water and it is basically the fluid and protein that has been squeezed out of the blood (i.e. blood plasma). The lymph is drained from the tissue in microscopic blind-ended vessels called lymph capillaries.

Diseases of the lymphatic system

Lymphedema is the swelling caused by the accumulation of lymph fluid, which may occur if the lymphatic system is damaged or has malformations. It usually affects the limbs, though face, neck and abdomen may also be affected.

Some common causes of swollen lymph nodes include infections, infectious mononucleosis, and cancer, e.g. Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and metastasis of cancerous cells via the lymphatic system. Enlarged lymph nodes may also caused by lack of sleep, imbalance and irregular meals, long-hour standing or seating, improper gestures, etc.


Ways to maintain a healthy lymphatic system

  • Gentle exercise
  • Massage

Suggested massage: Lymphatic Massage – gently stimulates fluid to remove toxins from your body. It is recommended for people who are seated for most of the day, or those who want to reduce puffiness or swelling. It has positive effects on problem skin, cellulite, dysfunctional respiratory systems and people with low energy.

  • Stay happy and laugh from your belly
  • Drinking water everyday
  • Clean up your diet
  • Practice deep breathing
  • Don’t be afraid to sweat
  • Other recommended treatments

Seaweed Cleansing Cocoon – designed to cleanse the body of pollution and toxins, this treatment begins with a salt and juniper berry scrub, followed by a focus seaweed wrap and finishes with a detox oil massage. The wrap insulates the body to provide the best environment for the skin to absorb a combination of highly active, deeply penetrating ingredients which will detox and energize the body.

Contouring Detox Experience – a full head to toe experience, this treatment will leave you feeling slimmed, restored, and drained of water retention. It begins with an energizing salt scrub which is directly followed by an application of spirulina and green clay. The body is then wrapped in tight bandages to force the water retention to the surface. In order to release the unwanted toxins a lymphatic drainage massage ends this therapy.