All the rage in Japan, stone spas have been linked
with healing a wide range of ailments from gout to arthritis and diabetes by
their proponents. Whether you buy the medical claims or not, the treatment is
definitely something to try and Yi Sheng Tang is currently the only such spa in
Having changed into loose cotton robes, you’re led to a room on the ground
floor with space for 20 people to lie down.
As other customers emerge drenched and panting, you’re taken
into the room, kept at 45 degrees and with 80 per cent humidity, and told
to lie on your back on the pebbles. Heated from beneath by pipes of hot water, the room is suffocating at first but, as pillow cases filled with more hot pebbles
are placed on your shoulders, belly and legs and sweat begins to pour out of
you, it becomes more bearable.
We're told to lie on our back for ten minutes
before retiring to a cooler side room to drink water and allow our body to
return to a more normal temperature.
For beginners, a further two-three
sessions (of ten minutes, eight minutes and finally five minutes) are recommended,
though you can keep going longer if you’re fit and healthy.
Spa treatments are
148RMB, but 128RMB at off peak times (10am-6pm Mon-Fri), and you can have a traditional
Chinese massage for 68RMB.