Monday, March 31, 2014

I have moved to a new site!!


Thank you for visiting me here.

I have upgraded and changed with the times!!

Please visit me at:



See you there soon.

Chef Devagi Sanmugam

Monday, June 7, 2010

Rustic Nirvana - Asian Healing Disciplines........

I have heard of Rustic Nirvana from my friend Cynthia Lee. She was raving about it and so I decided to check it out. I liked the ‘nirvana’ part of it. In Sanskrit it means bliss and tranquility. My girl friend and I went to the Cuppage Terrace outlet. We definitely did not see plants and faunas like if we were in Shangri-la to experience Nirvana but we certainly were seated at a serene place one afternoon.
We found out that Rustic Nirvana is the brainchild of Ms Yvette Chiang, a Singaporean who has been intrigued with body wellness since a very young age. It was interesting how young Yvette got thrown into the world of massages and wellness. Apparently, she used to massage her grandmother when she was young and since her physical strength for the massage was limited, her grandmother taught her how to use chopsticks to create stronger acupressure when massaging…… innovative!! In 2002, Yvette set up the first Rustic Nirvana and using her creative and innovative streak, she went full swing into creating new therapies and innovating existing ones against a backdrop that is steeped in Asian healing disciplines. Rustic Nirvana is proud to claim that all its therapies are 100% handwork and performed by therapists at all times, and do not rely on any machines. “Handwork” is emphasized because at some spas customers usually go home unhappy because, for a good part of the therapy, they are left alone with a machine that massages. They feel far from pampered and are hardly rejuvenated. Characteristic of its laid-back village-style relaxation concept, Rustic Nirvana is careful not to introduce the use of machine-aided therapies. Rustic therapists are personally trained by Yvette herself, who is a qualified and skilled trainer in aesthetic and bodyworks.

We looked through the Spa Menu and found exotic names like the Crystal Hot Bed, Kung Fu Bouncing Herbs therapy, Back to Wok massage, Aventurine Green Claypot Prata therapy as well as the Golden Topaz and Rose Quartz Crystal facials and more. We were told that these therapies are exclusive to Rustic Nirvana only and that you cannot find these therapies anywhere else. Rustic Nirvana also offers complimentary TCM consultation by qualified Chinese physicians at its outlets. This service is extended to all its customers and is another sterling example of Rustic Nirvana’s commitment to women’s wellness.

As soon as I changed and lie down to surrender to my therapist, I was given a light massage to warm the body a little and then since, I am in my 50s, I was recommended the Imperial Tang Gui Scrub. The dried Tang Gui herb does wonders to the skin by promoting blood circulation and is a warming herb. The scrub did ‘woke up’ the otherwise tired body. After the scrub I was wrapped and steamed. Mind you I was not taken to a steam room but had the comfort or was it discomfort of lying down on the couch, covered from neck to feet with a tent and then slowly and surely hot steam was injected into the tent and I was literally steamed like a kueh. But it was a wonderful relaxing sensation. After that I had to take a shower. I opted for the Aventurine Green Claypot Prata Therapy – what a treatment for the chef!! This was indeed a special therapy invented by Yvette. It is a blend of Indonesian Jamu powder mixed with rice flour dough in a claypot. This mixture is then massaged onto the body using a piece of aventurine green quartz to draw in positive energy. I was told by the therapist that applying pressure with the aventurine green quartz is also more effective than using the thumb and fingers as it can penetrate deeper and access hard-to-reach areas. Green aventurine is thought to improve eyesight and increase muscle flexibility. It is also beneficial for the heart and lungs and also balances the emotions. I liked the feeling of the dough sliding on my body, knowing that it will banish fatigue, toxins and excess fluid and the strong pressure of the aventurine relaxed me.

I was also given a facial therapy with a Golden Topaz!! A piece of golden topaz rod was used to massage some facial cream onto the skin in gentle circular motions. The golden topaz is ideal for uplifting and firming ageing skin like mine it seems. The facial ended with an invigorating mask and a nice relaxing neck and shoulder massage. The facial left my skin feeling invigorated, alive and perfectly balanced and my body feeling like I was floating on cloud 10 looking down at cloud 9 smiling. I came out of the room rejuvenated and sleepy and saw my friend sitting there waiting at the reception area equally looking relaxed and sleepy. I feel there is a physical relationship between going to a spa and falling asleep. Physically a spa raises your body temperature while you are soaking in a tub or being steamed. It also speeds up metabolic processes including heart beat and respiration. It tends to expand your veins and capillaries as well. The result is a relaxed feeling of euphoria, especially after a hot shower. However, when you get out of the shower your body temperature immediately starts to fall, and your heart beat and respiration slow. These are the exact things that your body does as it prepares for sleep. Therefore, many of us feel sleepy shortly after getting out of the spa. To fall into a deep restorative sleep is the reward for many of us who go to a spa!!

My friend had a Sea Mineral Salt Body Glow scrub that left her skin silky, soft and revitalized. For the massage she had opted for Chopsticks Healing Massage – a Yvette special. She was tapped, kneaded and pressed at acupuncture points with a bundle of specially designed chopsticks. She said the three different strokes and pressures from it were supposed to promote blood circulation and relax the tensed muscles. She was totally refreshed after this therapy it seems. For the facial therapy, a Rose Quartz was used to detoxify her skin and to balance the female hormones and to relax the facial muscles.

We enjoyed our outing to Rustic Nirvana. And will go back to try their other interesting massages. It is best to fix an appointment before you go there.


TradeHub 21 Outlet
8 Boon Lay Way
#05-05, TradeHub 21
Tel: 6560 9193

Cuppage Terrace Outlet
37 Cuppage Terrace
Tel: 6733 9193

Liang Seah Street Outlet
14 Liang Seah Street
Tel: 6289 9193


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Ayurlly Ayurvedic Spa

It was a hectic tiring week for us when we went to Ayurlly Ayurvedic Spa located at the Verge, in Serangoon Road. As I entered the spa, we could feel a sense of peace engulfing me including the smell of herbs and oil. We were welcomed by the Operations and Marketing person, Ms. Maha. It’s an ayurvedic spa. Ayurveda provides both curative and preventive measures towards optimal physical, mental and spiritual well-being. The word "Ayurveda" is from the ancient Indian language, Sanskrit, and literally means "Knowledge of Life". Well, Ayurvedic principle is the concept that you are capable of taking charge of your own life and healing.
After the usual formalities, Maha gave us a questionnaire to fill up, to determine the type of body we have. Everyone is born with a specific mind-body type that influences their physical, psychological, and behavioral traits, as well as their preferences and tastes. When you learn what your mind-body type is, you get insight into your basic nature. It helps you to understand why you tend to react to situations and circumstances in the way that you do. This insight not only helps you to cope with situations, circumstances, other people, and stress, but also helps you to flourish in the knowledge that you are the way that you were meant to be, when you are in balance and this information helps the therapists to mix the right mixture of herbs to the oil for the massage. Therefore the condition and constitution of the body of the client is very important.

I was found to be a Kapha – Earth type of skin; my friend was found to be a Vatha, Air type of skin person. We both agreed to our new ‘classification’. Ayurlly Ayurvedic Spa offers basically two kinds of therapies, therapeutic programs to cure the body of specific ailments and rejuvenation programs for general well being. And all their services are based on the principle to improve general health by removing toxins from the body and increasing its immunity. You see, Ayurveda does not simply fight a disease but rejuvenates the body at the same time. Our therapists led us to separate rooms that were aptly furnishes for ayurvedic treatments. Each room comes with an attached bathroom. Ayurlly also has a couple’s room with a Jacuzzi.

I was a bit disappointed the treatment bed was not the traditional wooden massage bed. I guess most Singaporeans may not like the idea of lying down on a hard wooden bed. Nevertheless the soft treatment bed made me want to sleep. The volume of the music was adjusted upon my request and the air conditioner, being part of the central system of the shopping mall cannot be tuned down for a warmer room. There was a moveable beam over the bed. I was given a robe and a loin cloth to protect my modesty.

The therapist started preparing her oils and scrubs etc. My massage was the Traditional Abyanga which is highly recommended for overall health and well being. The very traditional Abyanga massage is nourishing, pacifies Vatha and Kapha persons, relieves fatigue, provides stamina, pleasure and perfect sleep, enhances the complexion and the luster of the skin, promotes longevity and nourishes all parts of the body. I was basically based with heated, medicated herbal oil. The massage itself was structured, methodical and comprehensive as my therapist worked every oily limb and every muscle in my body. She massaged every finger and every toe; she cracked every knuckle; she massaged my earlobes and my eyelids. She used long, powerful, relaxing strokes that flowed from my right shoulder to my left heel and vice versa. I could almost feel the blocked channels in my body opening up to release the flow of energy.

The abyanga left me feeling wonderful, but it also left me drenched in oil from hair to toes. The solution to that problem was almost as good as the massage itself. I was then I scrubbed with a Walnut and Gotukola Scrub. The scrub was made with walnut shell powder that was quite abrasive but it really gave and invigorating exfoliation. According to Maha, the gotukola (Indian pennywort) oil was used to firm the skin, the algae extracts for hydration, the cardamom oil for warming the body and the rose hip oil to initiate cell regeneration. The scrub helped remove part of the oil and then I was asked to have a light warm shower.

She then asked me to lie down again and ensured that I was warm and also with an eye pad. I could hear here preparing for the much awaited Shirodhara. Well the Shirodhara is a relaxing ritual that has been used by the Indians to restore inner calm to the mind and balance the emotions. She guided a gentle stream of warm herbal infused oil to my "third eye" (otherwise known as the middle of my forehead). But I was lying there with stress on my third eye, trying to visualize what was happening and how the oil was being poured! But after a while, as the warm oil was poured over my forehead I felt a sensation of deep and profound relaxation. The treatment concluded with a head and shoulder massage. As she massage my scalp I occasionally drifted to a journey of the mind……….to distant India, the mountains, the sages, herbs and more while listening to the nice music being played in the background and the fragrance of sandalwood coming for the little container at the corner of the room. Just as I was feeling soooo…..relaxed, she said “OK, you can shower now”!

After the second shower, I was just waiting to get home and onto bed. Somehow the Shirodhara made me so relax, I just wanted to sleep. Ayurlly offers many other traditional ayurvedic massages, face, head, body and localized therapies.

Ayurlly Ayurvedic Spa
No. 2 Serangoon Road
The Verge, #05-11/13,
Singapore 218227

Tel:  6737 5657

Monday, March 29, 2010

EGA Wellness Beauty Centre - with a difference

It was at the end of a stressful week that I found my way to EGA Wellness Beauty Centre at United Square, a jewel of a beauty salon, tucked on the first level of United Square, just round the corner of Swenson’s. I walked with a mixture of apprehension and hope I was ready for some tender loving care when I entered.

EGA Wellness Beauty Centre’s design does more than harmonize the client's senses; it elevates and uplifts their spirit. Helen, my therapist for the day was a dream. She tenderly directed me to my treatment room, and there the steady gentle music washed over me and slowed the rhythm of my heart. I had the feeling that by the time my EGA visit was over, I might very well emerge a beautiful butterfly.

She asked me some easy questions about my skin type. Helen helped to alleviate my fears as she addressed my concerns in the pre-therapy session. I explained that it was my first time doing a facial and I was afraid of breaking out as I have sensitive skin. She explained that the "breaking out" period was actually known as the "healing process", when pimples, whiteheads and blackheads seem to develop quickly over a few days as the toxins are being purged out. She also reassured me that since it was my first time, she would go easy on my pores with a brief extraction procedure and softer face massage so the "healing processs" would be shorter.

She then explained to me what is EGA all about. Basically EGA promotes passive and active wellness through its energy enhanced products. This energization is made possible through their very own proprietary new technology AFT (Amized Fusion Technology). It is a resonance technology developed over 25 years of research applying the principles of Quantum physics and Quantum mechanics.

AFT enables our body to source the much needed natural energy and utilizes this energy to restore balance to our body, thereby achieving its natural homeostasis state. With the application of AFT, any matter, may it be organic, abstract, power stones, metals or any substance, can be enhanced to resonate at Zero-point life force energy – an ultimate weapon against rapid ageing. Therefore Ega brings you another step closer to a perpetually youthful skin and I was excited.

I am a 50+ woman with good clear normal skin, concerned with sun damage and the fine lines that have been etching itself in the last one year. My therapist Helen used EGA product to design my treatment. The facial included a cleansing of the face and then a delightful steam pore-opening treatment followed by my most-dreaded, the extraction process. She started off gently extracting the whiteheads on my forehead before slowly moving to work on my cheeks. Surprisingly, I found the process hardly painful save for the nose area which slightly stung. A toner was used.

This was followed by a face and neck massages more of a lymph drainage massage with the EGA cream I slowly drifted into a light sleep. The massage helps to improve the circulation of blood, reduce water retention and hasten the purging of the bacteria in my skin. Finally, Helen applied a collagen mask on my skin that felt so refreshing after all the treatments my skin had been subject to that afternoon. While it was an extremely relaxing experience, I still had a nagging worry at the back of my mind - what if my skin is red and swollen? After about 15 minutes of being left alone to relax the mask on my face, finally the mask was removed. It was a fabulous experience, with a dazzling array of luscious and soothing ingredients utilized perfectly to give me a much greater result than I had imagined possible. My EGA facial, was not just a facial, it was an experience.

The speciality of EGA Wellness Beauty Centre is its AM Wand. This wand that looks like a stainless steel pen is used for discharging energy blockages in our body, to facilitate body in healing, to balance and energize the body imbalances. It also helps to energize creams and oils for better absorption of nutrients.

I was deeply relieved when I checked myself out in the mirror after the treatment. My face was not red at all but in fact, I felt my skin looked brighter than before and felt extremely soft to the touch. Needless to say, I was pleased with the results.

I did a short interview of Ms. Bhamah, the director of Ega Wellness Beauty and a well known aesthetician in the beauty world and founder & CEO of Lady Fair Beauty Centre and Lady Fair Beauty & Spa. She said “ EGA promotes passive and active wellness through its energy enhanced products. This energization is made possible through a new technology AFT (Amized Fusion Technology). It is a resonance technology developed over 25 years of research applying the principles of Quantum physics and Quantum mechanics. AFT enables our body to source the much needed natural energy and utilizes this energy to restore balance to our body, thereby achieving its natural homeostasis state. With the application of AFT, any matter, may it be organic, abstract, power stones, metals or any substance, can be enhanced to resonate at Zero-point life force energy – an ultimate weapon against rapid ageing. Ega brings you another step closer to a perpetually youthful skin. With the application of EGA cosmetics, age works reversely and exhibits significant rejuvenation at cellular level, increasing immunity unlike most other cosmetics that work only on the surface”………phew, I learnt so much.

101, Thomson Road,
#01-52, United Square
Singapore 307591

Tel: 62580065.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Aramsa Spa - bliss in Bishan Park

I have gone to Bishan Park hundreds of times when I used to dutifully take a morning walk to bring the color to my cheeks. This time when I walked towards the park with my 21 year old niece Sujatha, I was going with mixed feelings. Firstly, there were so many changes in the park; secondly, I was excited wondering how the spa would look like. My niece was asking lots of questions too as she had never been to a spa. She was very concerned about spa etiquette. I could only think of “freedom” – that’s what you get in a spa that puts your mind, body and soul to rest.

Opened in 2006, and set in a tranquil Bishan park, amidst 22,000 foliages, trees and plants from 200 over species, Aramsa Spa – The Garden Spa was billed as Asia’s first outdoor spa in Asia. This 7,000 over square feet of space has twelve treatment rooms that include massages, body treatments and facials, a wellness studio, corporate events room and outdoor courtyards, a vegetarian café, another café, a bar and a retail outlet.

We were greeted by very friendly staff and were given forms to fill up. Soon we were shown the changing room and lockers. After changing into the bath robes provided, we were ushered to a resting lounge for a ginger tea. Not the sarabat stall kind of teh halia but the Indonesian type –this wonderful sweet & spicy ginger tea from Indonesia as a nice warming drink to a beginning or finale of a deep and relaxing massage. Ginger tea is known to aid digestion and relieves bloated feeling by getting rid of excess “wind” in the tummy (maybe that’s why they like to serve it at the spa). But do not consume excessively because it is believed to be “heaty” as well.

Shortly, two therapists came to us introducing themselves as our masseurs and led us to the treatment room. I could hear the birds chirping away as I walked on the pebbled footpaths to the treatment rooms. A beautiful sense of being one with nature permeated into me as I as I looked at the beautiful landscape and gardens. It’s like walking in a scented garden – the whole place smell of ginger and lemon grass. I parted with my nervous niece, telling her “just relax and enjoy”. It was a room with the view!!! It was truly an enchanting, warm, fragrant room with soft music overlooking a mini garden where a sunken bath was placed. You don’t have to worry about peeping Toms and all because, the garden is cordoned off with lots of bushes and trees and a hedge lined with black cloth.

The masseur briefed me the procedure. Since, I am in my 50s and have dry skin, I was recommended a scrub, wrap and massage to hydrate the skin and this is the Exotic Coconut Treat. The session started with a foot bath. My feet were soaked for a short while and she carefully dried my feet and led me to the massage bed. The friendly masseur asked me whether I want a gentle, medium or hard pressure when she is massaging and I opted for medium. By the way, this is not me in the picture!

She gently rubbed my whole body with coconut oil. It was a while later that I noticed that I was actually lying on white plastic sheets. She pulled the plastic sheets over me to ‘wrap’ me and left me there on the bed for 20 minutes!! I thought, this was retribution for all the times I have marinated chicken or other meats and left it in the fridge in plastic bags!! And I was being marinated with coconut oil  During a wrap ingredients are mostly allowed to be absorbed by the skin while during a scrub the ingredients are mostly used to exfoliate the skin to remove dead skin layers.

But as I lie there I was serenaded by the nice background music and the chirping sounds of birds and the wind………and soon I drifted off to sleep! The therapist gently tapped me and I realized that my whole body was perspiring because of being wrapped in plastic sheets……..literally sweating out!

Mine was a sea salt exfoliation. The salt glow is made of sea salt, blended with lavender relaxing aromatherapy oil blends. Sea salt has wonderful exfoliating properties and nourishes the skin and also hydrates your skin because the salt is combined with oil. As you lay on my stomach, the therapist rubs a mixture of sea salt and oil into my skin. Then I turn over and she does the other side. Since I was draped in a huge towel only the part she is working on was exposed. Sea salt can be very abrasive and therefore I had to tell therapist to be light handed when scrubbing me as my skin is sensitive.

When I was scrubbed thoroughly, I was asked to step out of the room into that small garden and have a warm shower. While I was having my shower I could see her through the glass panels, cleaning up the treatment bed and getting the place ready for the massage. I only washed off the salt without using any shower gel. The scrub left my skin soft as a baby’s.

The Huna Huna massage also known as Lumi Lumi is a Hawaiian style massage. The therapist used her hands, elbows, and forearms in deep long movements that are intended to mimic the ebb and flow of Hawaii’s ocean. The combination of the background music, the oils, and the long flowing massage a relaxing me and soon I was just floating, half asleep, half feeling and enjoying the movements along my body that was capturing and removing all my negative energy while creating a balance within my muscles and being. All the accumulated knots and aches in my muscles were just easing away. And my bliss was short-lived when the masseur said, “It’s over. Did you enjoy yourself?”

I was ushered to the lounge again and I saw my niece coolly sipping ginger tea again and eating cookies!! When I asked her how she felt, her faced lighted up and she only said “so shiok!.

She had tried the Tropical Java Lulur package. The turmeric and rice scrub, popularly known as Lulur Scrub had done wonders to her skin by removing all dead skin layers and giving the skin a young, supple and fairer natural appearance and she looked refreshed and glowing because the scrub had also increased the circulation and blood supply of the skin!. Mandi Lulur, an ancient Javanese beauty ritual is made up of a combination of ingredients that are highly antibacterial, anti fungal and anti-inflammatory. The Lulur is widely practiced by Indonesian brides as a weekly treatment leading up to the wedding day.

She was then painted with yoghurt and wrapped in plastic sheets and left to relax for 20 minutes. The yoghurt will further cleanse the skin, removing the turmeric and leaving the skin smooth and soft. She had a soak in warm ginger water and flowers for 20 minutes in the outdoor sunken bathtub. She was thrilled at this oneness with nature-kind of bath. Sujatha was given the Aramsa Touch Massage. From the way she described to me, it sounded like a Shiatsu massage combined with aromatherapy techniques.

We left Aramsa Spa-The Garden Spa totally rejuvenated. And something else was waiting for us, just outside the Spa – the Green Room Café!!

Aramsa Spa – The Garden Spa
Bishan Park 2
1382 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1
Singapore 569931

Tel: 64566556