Anti-Oxidant Centre, Ganban-yoku Therapy
I’ve introduced something new into my life this month, Ganban-yoku. What is this you ask? Is it a type of Japanese food you just haven’t heard of? It is actually a Japanese anti-oxidant therapy treatment called Ganban-yoku Therapy available at the Anti-Oxidant Centre here in Singapore. The Anti-Oxidant Centre is a new concept of a Japanese Ganban-yoku (hot rock bathing) spa and the first solely dedicated to this therapy in Singapore. Ganban-yoku is very popular in Japan for the health benefits and the therapy is spreading to other parts of the world.
These days we’re constantly hearing about how important it is to consume foods that are high in anti-oxidants because of all the great health benefits they possess. Many women, (including yours truly), use face products with anti-oxidant properties on their skin to help with aging, pigmentation and to maintain healthy, glowing skin. To sum it up anti-oxidants are very good for our bodies both internally and externally. So when I heard about this therapy where the sole purpose was for your body to soak up as many anti-oxidants as it can in a 45-minute therapy session, I was in!
I had the pleasure of experiencing my first Ganban-yoku therapy session at the Anti-Oxidant Centre earlier this month. When I walked into the centre the first thing I noticed was the busy and friendly staff. The second thing I noticed was an old, dried out cracked open egg in a bowl on a small table. Next to it was a piece of stale bread. I began to wonder if someone left their breakfast half-eaten on the table. Thankfully I quickly learned that wasn’t the case. The egg and bread had been sitting in the anti-oxidant environment for over 3 months. I noticed that there was no sign of mold, rotting or a bad odor coming from either piece of food. How could that be? Reality check: if that food was sitting out in my home or your home for over 3 months it would be rotting and smell something horrible. Because the egg and bread had been sitting in the pure anti-oxidant environment of the center where negative ions are emitted they were well preserved. After this process was explained to me in detail I more clearly understood the great benefits of anti-oxidants to our bodies. In scientific terms:
Anti-oxidants are naturally occurring substances that have extra electrons to give up. They are beneficial to our health by preventing oxidation of substances known as free radicals, neutralize harmful bacteria and organic compounds and reduce odors and humidity.
Now on to the anti-oxidant therapy experience itself! After my mini education session I was given what’s called a Yukata to change into to wear during the therapy. It’s a pair of lightweight shorts and a short-sleeved robe for the top. The Yukata is very comfortable and loose. Trust me the last thing you want on your body when you’re laying in 39-41C/102-106F heat is tight clothing. I was shown to the women’s changing rooms. The centre has women and men’s changing rooms with lockers, showers, toilets and changing areas. In addition they provide a range of simple amenities for your use after you shower like lotion, body spray, etc. After a quick change I was ready to go. After walking to the waiting area I was given my own bottle of anti-oxidant water to drink and was told to drink half before my therapy. Your bottle is then refilled for your session and you’re encouraged to drink it throughout the 45-minute therapy and believe me, you’ll need it!
The centre has 19 anti-oxidant beds in 4 rooms, which accommodate 3, 4, 4, 8 people at one time. These anti-oxidant beds consist of ceramic tiles, which naturally release Far Infrared Rays (FIR) and Negative Ions absorbed through the skin and air breathed in to help the body perspire and “detox.” I was taken to a room with 4 beds but had the room to myself. The minute I walked into the room I felt the heat immediately but it wasn’t that stifling, humid “OH MY GAWD I CAN’T BREATHE” feeling. Unlike regular saunas the dry sauna rooms at the Anti-Oxidant Centre are kept between 39-41C/102-106F with the humidity about 30% so it’s a more comfortable environment than a regular sauna. For those of us living in Singapore 30% humidity is a walk in the park! The staff member told me I could get up and leave the room to take a break if needed but I knew I wouldn’t do that. I wanted to soak up every minute of these beneficial anti-oxidants! As I laid down on the anti-oxidant bed I noticed it felt just like lying down on a warm cement patio. With my full bottle of anti-oxidant water and towel by my side I was ready. I won’t describe the entire 45 minutes play-by-play but some key things I experienced were: warmth, relaxation, peace, dozing off, warm turning to hot and sweating like a champ! I’m naturally a big sweater. I call myself “Sweaty Betty.” Attractive I know! So I wasn’t surprised when every inch of my body was dripping when I walked out of the room after the 45 minutes was up. This is actually what you want during your anti-oxidant therapy though. The idea is to detox, for the bad stuff to leave your body while you’re soaking up all the anti-oxidants through the beds and the air.
After your therapy session you sit in the cooling area for at least five minutes while enjoying a complimentary glass of enzyme juice and drinking more anti-oxidant water if you choose. I love the enzyme juices both for the taste and the incredible benefits they have. Each enzyme juice has different benefits.
Ginger Enzyme. Stimulates circulation, helps prevent heart attacks, has natural blood thinning properties, lowers blood cholesterol levels, cleanses and stimulates blood. Prevents internal blood clots, therapeutic properties for hypertension.
Dragon Fruit Enzyme. Improves cell metabolism, prevent aging, enhance one’s beauty, increase amino acids in the body
Lemongrass Enzyme. Ability to inhibit (suppress) the growth of cancer cells. It contains anti-fungal and antibacterial properties, helps in the process of detoxification of the pancreas, bladder, liver, digestive tract and kidney; it boosts the immune system by strengthening the immune cells.
Hawthorn Berry Enzyme. Considered a “cardio tonic” herb, the flowers and berries of the hawthorn plant have been used in traditional medicine to treat irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, chest pain, hardening of the arteries, and congestive heart failure.
After your therapy you can shower there at the centre or feel free to head home after you’ve cooled off.
I spoke with Suliman Haraharah, the owner of the centre, who told me some clients who regularly do the therapy have experienced the following health benefits.
Reduced cholesterol levels
Improved blood circulation
Relief of pain and stiffness caused by rheumatism
Increased immune resistance
Increased metabolic rates and weight loss
Anti-aging of cells and overall body
Diabetic sufferers report reduced sugar levels after multiple treatments
Cancer patients report pain relief and improvement of general wellbeing
I have done the therapy three times now and really enjoy it. After each session my body has felt relaxed but also very refreshed at the same time. I feel healthy knowing a lot of the bad stuff had left my body. I have noticed immediately after each session my muscles throughout my body are more relaxed also. I find myself falling asleep earlier than usual the evenings I do the therapy also. Needless to say it creates a happy body and mind.
In addition to the Ganban-yoku therapy the centre now offers Ganban-yoga and Ganban-pilates in the anti-oxidant rooms. Ganban-yoga is very gentle yoga. I tried a class myself and enjoyed it. It’s not nearly as intense as bikram yoga and is more focused on stretching muscles and relaxation. So don’t expect a full Hatha yoga class. The 1-hour session includes 45 minutes of yoga and 15 minutes of ganban-yoku therapy. Classes are limited to 8 people and are done in the largest anti-oxidant room.
I’ve decided to do Ganban-yoku on a regular basis over the next month to see what effects it has on my health. My goal is to go three times per week to really enjoy the benefits. I will post again on my findings and experience next month so stay tuned.
If you’re in Singapore and keen to try Ganban-yoku therapy or Ganban-yoga at the Anti-Oxidant Centre you’re in luck! All Chamorro Chica readers will receive a FREE Ganban-yoku therapy session worth $39 or $30 off a Ganban-yoga session until 31st August. Simply print out the voucher below, show it to the staff on your Smartphone or present the code: CHAMCHICA at your appointment. I highly recommend trying it out. Simply call to make an appointment.
Find the Anti-Oxidant Centre on Facebook and read what others are saying about their experience.
Disclosure: While I did receive a complimentary session at the Anti-Oxidant Centre to try the therapy, all thoughts and opinions in this post are my own. Photos courtesy of the Anti-Oxidant Centre or taken by me.