Thursday, December 08, 2005

 

I'm On Fire
One the reasons I stay in journalism besides the fact that I'm lousy at math and possess no other marketable skills is that I still the opportunity to do things like getting set on fire in an upscale Hong Kong spa.
I felt a little like a human yule log. Or given that I'd just eaten 20 minutes before and my torso was basted in mysterious Chinese herbal oils, swathed in plastic cling wrap and towels with a fire flickering on my back, perhaps a living boil-a-meal was more appropriate.
It was all part of an ``Aqua-Fire therapy'' that Life of Life Healing Spa in Causeway Bay promotes as a rejuvination and weight loss treatment.
The spa claims that the fire's heat hastens the oils' ability to zap fat cells and detoxify the body.
Or as therapist Olivia Hon said, ``The heat can make the medicine penetrate your tissues and fat cells and make your tummy smaller and healthier.''
It's batshit loonball New Age hokum, of course. But no question that my stomach - or more accurately, my jiggling, expanding six-pack - could be smaller and healthier but I'd taken Hon's suggestion that ``most men have fire on their backs. Mostly women have it on their tummies, hips and thighs'' to heart. Besides, if it spread I'd be better protected down below than I would on my stomach.
Hon and owner Karen Chu said that about 100 people, mostly women, have
paid up to HK$1,000 to have themselves set on fire in an attempt to slim down.
``Most lose 5 or 6 centimeters (editor's note: about an inch or so in normal American measurements) after one treatment,'' Hon said.
Mandy Sea, a doctor and nutritionist at Chinese University's Center for Nutritional Studies begged to disagreee said any perceived weight loss could be attributed to temporary water weight being sweated out and that if someone is obese and/or suffering from high blood pressure they may be playing with fire.
``The heat is not efficient enough to burn away your fat,'' said Sea. ``And if someone is suffering from hypertension and overweight the heat could raise your blood pressure to dangerous levels.
``The herb oils will not make any chemical changes to your body. There is no chemical data on how much penetration there might be or how it could affect your skin and health.
While moderated self-immoliation won't melt the pounds away, I can attest that it was oddly calming once you got over the idea of a stranger waving a flaming oversized lighter over towels on your back that were soaked in solution of 95 percent alcohol.
There's a slow creep of heat and no singe smell, only the faint herbal medicinal scent of ``Botanical Slimming Fluid for Hard Cellulite'' -- part of the ``confidential'' herbal massage mix that Chu said she imported from Beijing to Hong Kong after learning of the fire treatment there.
Its origins are equally vague. One report Chu cited claimed that it ``was originally used in a miltary hospital to treat soldiers with muscle strains.'' It wasn't clear why they didn't use hot packs or hot water bottles and if they lost weight but Hon and other staffers said they swear by it now.
``Is it too hot now?'' Hon asked as my skin temperature began to rise noticeably.
As the seconds ticked by I felt like a roasting turkey but manly pride kept me mum, at least for a few seconds until it was too much to bear and another staffer snuffed out the flames, stripped off the towels and plastic and sprayed me with a cooling herb spray. The relief was sweet and soothing.
``Women last longer,'' Hon said laughing. ``Two or three minutes sometimes. Men only 10 or 20 seconds mostly.'' I did a fake chuckle, but otherwise preferred not to go there...
Comments:
Hi Justin

Love the story.

Is there anyway to get in touch with you about it?

Cheers

Martin
 
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
Sure Martin. Glad you liked it. Email me at average_guy26 at yahoo dot com for more info. thanks. justin.
 
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