Hot in the city

By on June 30, 2008

Photo © Elena Derevstova

Such a long time has passed since Sakura blossoms surfed the spring breezes. Hussy vermillion-maple leaves taunt autumn promises from afar. You are stuck in the middle of Tokyo summer. 


Pores the size of dinner plates, ankles merged with feet and an itchy haze has formed a permanent glaze over your eyeballs. Perma-run make up, zero relief showers, the sodden smell of humid air. Ahhh summer.


Sweating, swearing and feeling sorry for myself in Ginza the other day, an unexpected thing happened. An aroma caught my nose. It seemed to grow until a perfumed narcotic cloud surrounded me. Pied Piper’s enchanted child, I was pulled helplessly to a secret scented little haven from the heat.


I had serendipitously discovered a charming little holistic skin care store called Harnn Natural Home Spa. I found myself transported to old Siam, surrounded by dark, warm wood, hot tangerine silks and beautifully packaged products. Modern-Asian chic meets oriental charm. The source of the wonderful aroma was 100% natural botanical extracts and plant essential oils emanating from all the lotions, potions, unguents and balms.  


The good news was that a cozy little treatment room was waiting for me on the second floor–clearly impossible to resist. Beam me up Scotty–this girl needs a lift… or a facial at least. 


My therapist gave me clear instructions on what state of undress I should be in on the bed. Good, because I hate guessing (sure can be embarrassing if you get it wrong). She then placed a bolster under my knees, which is a small attention to detail but an important one for lower back. 


The facial treatment began with a jasmine-scented cleanser that immediately made me feel relaxed and present. (Apparently it takes more than 6 million flowers to make 1 liter of essential jasmine oil!). But when she began applying the aptly named Blossom Essence, I thought I’d fallen into a gigantic bouquet. It contains water lily flower, pomegranate, chamomile extract and black tea (kombucha). Apparently there are amino acids that restore elastin and collagen, amongst other skin worshiping properties, but to me–it just smelt so good.


In my opinion, the piece-de-resistance of this facial treatment is the lymphatic drainage massage. It can improve your skin texture by reducing puffiness and blotches and providing clean healthy pores. It is a slow, gentle and rhythmic stimulation of the lymph nodes, and it was so relaxing, it’s difficult to describe because I completely zoned out! The body’s lymphatic system flushes out toxins. So if you know anyone who occasionally eats badly, drinks too much, lives in a polluted city or is stressed… then this is the treatment for them!


Of course the type of mask the therapist chooses will depend on your skin. In my case, it’s for wrinkles and pimples. Life is so unfair. She applied the rice and deep-sea clay facial mask. It also contains natural charcoal to absorb excess oils and toxins, and rice bran oil for vitamin E. 


The Harnn facial has the skin exfoliation after the mask–usually it’s the other way around. This is to scrape off all the wine, food and pollution (in that order in my case) induced toxins the mask has drawn out. The sugar cane scrub of course also promises to remove the dead skin layer, revealing plump young skin cells underneath. For me the therapist had more problems with the ‘young’ than the ‘plump,’ but the exfoliant did feel sufficiently gritty to be satisfying without being too rough.


All good things must come to an end and, in this case it was in the best possible way–with a ‘please-don’t-stop’ head and shoulder massage. Somehow it relaxed my muscles and brought me back to reality at the same time. I’m certain it removed all possibility of stiff neck and headache for at least a week.


I left Harnn Natural Home Spa having escaped on a global sensory journey. Healing herbs and spices from Thailand like lemongrass and kaffir lime, lavender from France and clay from Japan. The products are delightful and I was really impressed by their holistic and techno-natural approach to restoring balance and countering the effects of stress and pollution. It’s hot in the city but calm in my heart. Better yet… I look great!



Natural Home Spa

Ginza Main Shop

Tel : (03) 5159-7771

Fax : (03) 5159-7772

Weekday: 11:30 – 21:00

Saturday: 11:30 – 20:00

Sunday: 11:30 – 18:00 

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