What is Qi, you ask? The word is one used heavily in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), meaning ‘vital energy’. In the practice, Qi is the centre of everything in existence — blockages, deficiencies and an overflowing abundance of flowing Qi is the state of our physical and mental health. TCM aims to help the Qi in us flow effectively, and promotes methods like diaphragmatic breathing, Tai Chi, a good diet and the healing vibrations of the Qi gong to help.
So where better to experience Qi than within the lavishness of The Spa at Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur, the only spa in Malaysia with a 4-star rating by Forbes Travel Guide?
In a decade challenge of its own, not much has changed from when the spa launched Oriental Qi in 2009 apart from a growing fan base of locals and hotel guests. The treatment was designed as a personalised body oil massage combining oriental Meridien massage techniques with custom-blended essential oils. To bring forth the authenticity of these respected, age-old medicinal practices, Mandarin Oriental sought the expertise of experienced Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) doctors, aromatherapy masters and holistic practitioners.
And now comes the fun part: experiencing it for yourself. Block out a good few hours from your day so you can stretch out your spa day with relaxing minutes spent in the sauna, steam room and hot/cold whirlpools. There’s a lounge to have a coffee and relax beforehand, and after your treatment is done… we’ll get to that surprise later.
The personalisation begins, as most spa treatments do, with a consultation. During this one however, you’ll have to be more forthcoming about your overall state of physical and mental well-being so your treatment can be tailored to one that benefits you most. Yin and Yang play a big role in determining how to restore your balance, where a questionnaire helps you calculate the co-existing elements in your present state — where you could use more feminine Yin energy and where your masculine Yang energy flows. For example, questions invite you to pause and reflect, asking if you feel emotions like anger arise easily, as well as your sleeping habits.
While the therapist takes into account your answers, you have plenty of time to unwind at the spa’s facilities. A nice long sauna session will help loosen your limbs, so we highly recommend it. Next, come the results of your consultation as the therapist gives your feet a nice soak and massage. There are five categories for your total Yin and Yang points to fall under: Awaken, Bloom, Flourish, Release, and Reflect. These specific categories determine the blend of oil most perfect to work on the energy of your body’s meridians. With your blend of oil ready, the massage is carried out with focus on the key points that allow a smooth flow of Qi, from the top of your head all the way to the tips of your feet. A quick massage of essential oils on your face is a nice touch for a healthy flush, especially with your pores open after the sauna and steam room.
The massage leaves you feeling limber with your muscles just as relaxed as your mind, and what we loved is how the end of the massage isn’t even the end of the spa session. Instead, you’re invited to a private rest area where you’re encouraged to pick up a paper and pen to reflect and journal, with healthy refreshments served, comfy chairs, and a surprise treat of the same blend of oil used in the massage in a tiny take-home bottle. Once you’re ready to step outside, you’re left feeling calm and focused as you imagine a visual flow of Qi through your body.