Scientists have said that in this day and age we are getting more stressed than ever before. Whether it is the pressures from work or life in a busy city, we are finding it easier to worry and not as easy to calm ourselves down, which is why we look towards others to bring our heart rates down, rejuvenate our spirits and calm our weary muscles.
Spa treatments, aromatherapy massage, saunas, reflexology, acupuncture and medicinal food are all ways of improving our health through traditional means and of relaxing our bodies and minds, and all can be found in abundance in Taiwan. The small island offers a huge range of health treatments catered to all types of people, so it is never hard to feel at peace when you visit Taiwan.
From emerald-blue beaches to soaring mountainous peaks, the island – like its sister Hainan – has been blessed with natural wonders, and boasts its fair share of mineral-rich springs both hot and cold. The waters from these springs have been found to contain a number of elements and minerals with proven healing properties and for this reason are widely used in spa and wellness centres throughout the island.
Taiwan’s health and wellness centres hold traditional Chinese medicinal practices close to their hearts, so often treatments go hand in hand with lifestyle advice. Balance is considered the most important aspect of life so specific types and temperatures of food are used to balance energy within the individual, and between their natural cycles and the environment.
Colour is also taken into great consideration with food, as we are encouraged to consume a variety of colours such as red tomatoes, green spinach, orange carrot, black sea vegetables and yellow squash. As a rule in Chinese medicine, we are advised that ‘for long life, eat until you are 70 percent full’ so as not to stress the body and digestive organs.
Spas have been developed throughout Taiwan for their medicinal processes. The word spa originally means ‘health from water’, and the concept of a spa has developed to become part of an important health and beauty trend around the word. In Taiwan’s many spas you can combine beauty, body and facial treatments with soothing massage and aromatherapy.
Tension-relieving herbal baths have a history of over 2,500 years. Herbs are dissolved in water that is raised to a suitable temperature for the essence to be absorbed by the skin. Herbs commonly used in Taiwan’s baths are Artemisia indica, chuangxiong rhizome, Chinese angelica, rhizome cymbopogan citrate (lemongrass), camphor, and mint. These particular herbs may be used to ease back pain, prevent colds and immune deficiencies and improve skin tone.
A full body massage can be perfect for the weary traveller to alleviate aches and pains caused by sitting in the same position flying, or stress from jetlag. Exposure to the sun and to wind at the beaches or in rural areas can damage the skin, so a facial or other skin treatments can be the perfect answer to having you glow again.
Common folk massage in Taiwan is a foot reflexology massage which can be found at anywhere from day spas to tourist hot spots such as night-markets. The lowest rate is about NT$400 for half an hour. Reflexology treatment dates back to ancient China, when it was discovered that foot massage was effective in treating illnesses and improving general health. The technique was popularised a few decades ago by a Swiss priest, who developed the practice throughout the island. Reflexology has been proven to promote blood flow and metabolism, and is perfect for travelers who spend their days wandering the cities and countryside of Taiwan.
For the bolder travelers to Taiwan, there are more out there therapies such as cupping, acupuncture or moxibustion. Cupping therapy smoothes the flow of energy through energy channels, stimulating the metabolism and adjusting energy flows. The cups leave temporary red marks which can be analysed to determine the state of the person’s general health.
To find health treatments and therapies in Taiwan you have a few options. You can source out a doctor licensed in traditional Chinese medicine for advice and also for traditional massage and therapy options such as acupuncture or food and herbal programs. Many of the island’s top resorts have world-class spa facilities offering a wide range of massage and beauty therapies to suit all preferences.