In Your Element

Writer Véronique Lo | May 14, 2018

The bespoke Chuan Ritual by Chuan Spa at Cordis, Hong Kong helps restore a sense of well-being from the inside and out.


From its facilities to treatments and products, Chuan Spa Hong Kong has been designed with a focus on traditional Chinese medicine philosophy to offer a holistic wellness experience, which the signature Chuan Ritual epitomises. The 150-minute journey comprises three treatments – a body scrub and wrap,  signature massage and either a 30-minute facial or foot treatment – which are customised according to your element (metal, wood, water, fire or earth). The therapist will first determine your element for the day based on a short questionnaire, before deciding on the relevant massage oil and techniques for the treatment.   


“Your element today is earth. It’s related to the colour yellow and governs the spleen, stomach and muscles,” says my therapist Cher Mar while offering me a sniff of the massage oil she’s chosen. It smells of eucalyptus – soothing and refreshing at once. 

With the details of my journey confirmed, Cher Mar leads me to the treatment bed but instead of asking me to lie down, she tells me to sit upright with one palm facing up and the other on my stomach. “We will do the Chuan breathing ritual to prepare your mind for the experience,” she explains. Following her guidance, I close my eyes, visualise the colour yellow, and take a deep breath in through the nose, and exhale through the mouth while saying the word “gong” for as long as I can. This exercise lasts just a minute or so, but the calming effect is noticeable.

The main part of the treatment is a herbal salt scrub to remove dead skin cells and improve absorption of minerals and vitamins from the body mask that follows. The algae mud mask has a strong, distinctive seaweed scent – not the most pleasant but also not an artificial fragrance, and the rehydrating and nourishing benefits make the smell forgivable. While I am cocooned in the warm wrap, Cher Mar gently massages my scalp, lulling me to dreamland…

The relaxing mood is only briefly interrupted when I am unwrapped and sent to shower, but before long I am back on the treatment bed, ready for the hour-long massage. Featuring acupressure techniques, the full-body massage eases tension and unknots tight muscles.

For the final act, I opt for the Kerstin Florian mini facial. It’s a straightforward treatment that covers the basics – cleansing, moisturising and a lifting massage – but effective nonetheless. Since I am still sunburnt from a few weeks ago, Cher Mar decides to skip the face scrub and instead focus on rehydrating the skin.      


I feel properly pampered – my body light and stress-free, my skin smooth and soft, and my complexion clearer and brighter. It’s incredible how 2.5 hours can make such a difference in how I feel both physically and mentally.


The perfect retreat for urbanites. The Chuan Ritual is designed to bring a sense of harmony and balance to the body and mind based on principles of the Five Elements. While this may sound vague, throughout the ritual you can observe that each step is created to achieve this very goal, from the breathing exercise to the element tea served at the end of the journey. After the treatment, take your time and enjoy refreshments and tea in the relaxation lounge with a spectacular view of Kowloon’s city skyline – it’s calming to know even amidst the city chaos, one can still find peace and harmony.