Review: Is Ganbanyoku Hot Stone Therapy For You? | CoolJapan

In today's world of self-care and wellness, we are always reminded that taking a break once in a while should not be viewed as over-indulgence. In fact, investing time and effort in retreats or spa sessions are highly encouraged because they help keep the balance in our lives. A busy businesswoman — and mama — our Creative Director, Kersie Koh knows this all too well.

Kersie at Ganbanyoku entrance

A couple of weeks ago, Kersie tried Ganbanyoku, a Japanese-style hot stone therapy that directly translates to 'rock bathing'. This method uses magma stones from Japan, aimed to heat the body from outside in. The stones naturally release Far Infrared Rays (FIR) and negative ions that help the body release toxins from perspiration, while helping balance out the body's natural ecosystem internally. It also strategically hits the body's acupressure points, making it helpful to get rid of nerve pains, aches, or muscles' tight knots. Cool, right? But while everything sounds pleasing on paper, we asked Kersie to spill the beans on how the actual experience was like. Here's what she has to say. 

Diving into the session as a first-timer

Ganbanyoku session preparation

Tucked in a quiet corner of Far East Plaza, the therapy venue gave off a very comfortable vibe with its clean, quiet and private setting. The staff were also welcoming, helpful and gave clear instructions on how the therapy will be conducted. Prior to the session, Kersie was instructed to bring a change of underwear (as the one worn during might get soaked in sweat) and avoid undergoing the therapy with an empty stomach.

Going Ganbanyoku

What's unique about the Ganbanyoku therapy is that there is no massaging involved. "I was under the impression that I would be lying on hot pebbles while my therapist placed hot stones on me," Kersie shares. "But I quickly realised that's not how Ganbanyoku works. Upon entering the treatment room, I was given a cup of water to stay hydrated. Then, I was asked to lie on a flat, heated platform made of magma stones all the way from Japan."

"The treatment room featured three spaces allocated to three patrons," Kersie says. "I followed the instructions given to me. First 10 minutes, I was on lying on my tummy. Then, for the next 40 to 50 minutes, I flipped and lied on my back."

Ganbayoku Hot Stone Therapy

"About 10 minutes into the session, I began to perspire. But what's interesting was the staff shared that I don't have to worry about sweat because it will not smell." This is apparently because the FIR coming from the stones cause the body to excrete 'silky sweat' that is composed of the body's natural oils and serves as a natural conditioner to the skin. The sweat comes from within because the body is also heated internally, as opposed to a sauna which only heats the body on the surface. This is why people who try Ganbanyoku are also advised to shower before the session, not after, as the perspiration produced is actually beneficial to your skin's hydration level.

Overall thoughts

"It did feel a little warm for me towards the end, but I was advised to lay out a big towel and lie on it, which made me feel better after," shares Kersie. "In essence, I felt very comfortable the entire time. After the session, my mind felt relaxed and my body refreshed."

For those who like heated therapies, this could be a more soothing alternative to steamy saunas because the latter can be quite suffocating. "I can imagine how helpful it would be to soothe those nasty body aches and for people who are in need of some much-needed relaxation." 

Ganbanyoku mood shots

Price-wise, a 60-minute Ganbanyoku Hot Stone Therapy is priced at SGD32. Sign up for bulk sessions (of up to either 10 or 20) and enjoy free +1 or +3 sessions in a bundle for only SGD27 to 29 per therapy.

Find out more about Ganbanyoku Hot Stone Therapy here.