Express Wellness

Can express treatments, fitness and mindfulness actually make a difference?

Portrait of Tammy Strobel
Can express treatments, fitness and mindfulness actually make a difference?
My Reading Room

Recently I had a day that put me through the wringer – physically, mentally and emotionally. I snuck off for an express massage at a local no-frills spa and 30 minutes later felt almost good as new. The physical trigger point and muscle-easing massage, mental break for my thoughts to slow during the peace and quiet, and caring, motherly therapist healed me on all counts. This treatment punched way beyond its half hour weight in terms of healing, leaving me uplifted and resilient. 

Of course there’s nothing I’d like more than to be able to take a full day in a spa, not to mention a week at a retreat, to really tackle ongoing issues. But without that time, I didn’t expect a miracle, just a helping hand. This busyness epidemic we all seem to suffer from only allows for long treats occasionally. So to keep our heads above water, small bites of quality healing seem the way to go. But are they really making a difference? 

Take fitness as an example. Regular bursts of HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) are said to be more efficient in increasing overall fitness than long sessions of endurance training. 

Same, same but different is the mental fitness achieved through meditation. Experts believe that a few minutes a day make a difference. The key is to practise regularly. “To achieve a health-inducing, stress-reducing relaxation response it takes time to gain a level of control or skill. Eventually we will be able to access this in less time, and therefore achieve more in less time, but we need to earn that via a regular practice,” says personal trainer Andrew Cox. 

When it comes to yoga, however, instructor Dani Bruns at Flex Studio in Hong Kong says, “Short classes tend to be only a workout session, which isn’t yoga to me. It is just asana training and usually breathing, centring, quieting the mind and shavasana are neglected.” 

London’s Elemis Day Spa has some high- tech, low-time personalised facials that not only helps stimulate the complexion but also delivers TLC. Their BA Travel Spas feature BIOTEC technologies like O2 Infusion, Galvanic, LED, Micro-Current or Ultra-Sonic Peel but with the same Elemis care. 

“Simply getting your face into a skilled therapist’s hands anytime is beneficial,” says Joelle Pugh, global PR manager at Elemis. “All skin concerns will respond to 15 minutes of treatment, but for more severe skin issues like acne or super sensitivity, a course would be recommended to follow.” 

At the Pan Pacific Singapore’s St Gregory Spa, gua sha (scraping) produces light bruising and stimulates blood flow and healing. “The traditional length of a gua sha treatment is only 15 minutes,” says a St Gregory spokesperson. Traditional healing then also comes in express packages, it’s not just a modern phenomenon. 

But again, one-off treatments will only go so far. “A singular treatment will provide instant but temporary relief. Without regular treatments, the same fatigue and muscular tightness will set in after a short period of time.” At St Gregory Spa, guests unfamiliar find shorter treatments an attractive way to experiment with trying something new, while business travellers find them easier to squeeze into their packed schedules. 

Clearly express wellness is here to stay. Fitness and relaxation taken little and often may not always rack up the same benefits as longer sessions, but it’s better to grab the opportunity when you can, rather than wait and wait for a longer window to open up. 

More: fitness