When I first arrived in Hong Kong, it was tricky to find “alternative” therapies or exercise methods here… Those options that did exist tended to be positioned as quite fringe (joss sticks and patchouli not being so much my thing), or were mostly catering to the Canto-speaking market. Well, I’m happy to report that a change is definitely in the air, heralded by the opening of several new businesses catering to HK’s yogis, natural health enthusiasts and meditation lovers… At the helm of the movement is The Sanctuary, newly opened on Arbuthnot Road in Central (Ed: The Sanctuary has now moved to Wellington Street, scroll down for the location!) – a space created by local Sassy girl Vivienne Tang out of her passion for holistic living.
Located on Wellington Street, why not retreat to a meditation, pilates, Qigong or yoga class, indulge in some hot stone healing, or visit with one of The Sanctuary’s resident therapists? Some treatments you might fancy trying out on their extensive and intriguing menu include Hypnotherapy, Vibrational Attunement, Emotional Freedom Techniques and Homeopathy.
I was lucky enough to be invited along to try out a treatment of my choice, and though I toyed with the idea of doing something vaguely active, I decided instead that going for the most exotic-sounding therapy on the menu (which coincided perfectly with my lazy wish to lie flat on my back) was a fab idea. I picked Sekhem Healing, which apparently works by the therapist channeling energy to create improvements in your body, mind, emotions and spirit. It happened that the day I went in for my session, I was an absolute mess, right in the midst of a pregnancy hormone surge which generally made me unpleasant to be and be around. Does anyone else get that while pregnant, by the way? The feeling that all your emotions could literally pour out of you like a pot boiling over at the slightest provocation? No, just me then? I’ll carry on…
My practitioner, Surj, kicked off by explaining how the Sekhem session would work. I would lie on the table for 75 minutes, while she worked around my body, placing her hands on my head, shoulders, hands and feet, or waving them above all other areas. I tried to ask some probing questions on how the whole thing actually WORKS, but didn’t get the sense it’s something that can necessarily be explained, so I had to go on faith and put myself in Surj’s capable hands.
As she worked her way slowly around my body, she asked me occasional questions about parts of my body that I might be having trouble with, and areas where she could feel “blockages”. To be honest, for the first half an hour or so, I had quite a nice relaxing sleep but didn’t feel anything out of the ordinary. When Surj started channeling energy over my pregnant tummy though, I did feel a sensation of extraordinary peace and contentment come over me, and Surj even said, “Well, the baby’s enjoying this!” I tend towards extreme cynicism, but I was genuinely taken aback by the physical feeling of something happening, even if it’s now hard to describe. The feeling passed after around five minutes, and I settled back into a more calm state than I had been in before, even slipping into a light doze.
After the healing part of the treatment was finished, Surj sat down with me to talk through a few things she had “sensed” when working on me. This feels like a cross between an actual therapy session, and a nice chat with a very warm and motherly woman, and helped me to walk out of The Sanctuary feeling restored and emotionally more settled.
I’m definitely keen to check out more of what The Sanctuary has to offer, as while Sekhem might not be something I go back for on a regular basis, my mind is far more open now to trying out some of their other offerings… Next stop, Vibrational Attunement! Um, maybe!
Sekhem sessions at The Sanctuary are offered by Surj Bahra who has worked closely with the founder of Modern Sekhem, Helen Belot. A session lasts 75 minutes (HK$1,300) or 90 minutes (HK$1,500).
*As of January, 2016, The Sanctuary has moved to Unit 902, 9/F, Waga Commercial Centre, 99 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong.