Treating the mind, body and soul, Holistic Sanctuary is a lounge-style aesthetic salon that will leave you feeling relaxed, revitalized and completely reinvigorated.
Targeting mainly male customers, owner and therapist Keiko Chiba wanted to create something that was a little different to the multitude of spas in Tokyo. It is not just about soothing aching bones or purifying the skin, the focus is on the general wellbeing of the people who go there. Just a three minute walk from Akasaka station, Keiko describes it as a “hideaway room in Tokyo.” It really is a serene environment that is perfect for unwinding and forgetting about the stresses of everyday life.
“I want everyone who comes here to feel as comfortable as possible,” she tells us. “I don’t want to restrict their treatment to just one part of the body. There are a number of different treatments here and guests have the chance to customize treatments as they wish. While they are taking their treatment they can chat about their lives, problems etc or they can just lie back and listen to the healing lounge music.”
Speaking in flawless English, Chiba’s friendly attitude adds to the charm of Holistic Sanctuary. She clearly loves what she does and has a real passion for her new business. From the Blossom & Jasmine candles to the different coloured lighting, a lot of thought has been put in to the layout of the salon to make customers feel completely at ease.
It is a modern, artistic room with photos taken by Pulitzer Prize winner Steve Wood – a former customer in London – on the walls. Now a personal friend of Keiko, the four-time British Photographer of the Year’s still life pictures give the place a sexy, chic look.
From a visual perspective it is very impressive, but what about the actual treatment? Weekender opted for the Pioneer Special Body and Facial that included reflexology and a head massage. After a welcoming enzyme drink – we were also offered a relaxing tea – and a short consultation, it was time to lie back and let Keiko Chiba work her magic.
“Because of lifestyle changes men are becoming increasingly interested in personal grooming. They are realising the health benefits, on top of the fact it looks cool.”
Exceeding expectations and then some, it was two hours of pure bliss. It is no surprise to hear many customers repeatedly booked her when she worked abroad.
With over ten years of experience in international leisure centres and spas, Keiko, who is VCTC qualified, certainly knows what she is doing. She has worked with sports stars including Olympic figure skating medalists and a number of celebrities such as Ikumi Yoshimatsu, Miss International Japan 2012.
Keiko was a mobile therapist in London for two years, bringing her fold-up bed to clients’ houses and held pamper parties across the city and one thing she noticed during her time there was the increasing number of male customers requesting treatment.
“I think because of lifestyle changes men are becoming increasingly interested in personal grooming,” she says. “I think before there wasn’t much opportunity and many guys felt ashamed to do it, but now I think more and more males are realising the health benefits, on top of the fact that it looks cool.”
With a huge number of female salons already established in Tokyo, Chiba has decided to primarily target men, but that doesn’t mean women aren’t welcome.
She is expecting around 80% of her customers to be male, but is hoping that they will encourage their wives or girlfriends to give the salon a try. The fact that she is licensed in maternity massage techniques and reflexology for pregnant ladies is another major plus point.
Chiba’s other qualifications include; Aromatherapy, Deep Tissue Massage, Reflexology, Swedish Massage, Manual Lymphatic Drainage, Facial Massage, Hot and Cold Stone Massage, Indian Head Massage and Thai Foot Massage.
During your visit to Holistic Sanctuary there is also an opportunity to try the Lipo Cavitation machine, or Cavi-Lipo as it is called there. It offers non-surgical ‘liposuction’ aimed at reducing fat cells and cellulite without any anesthesia or pain.
It is basically a slimming machine that emits ultrasonic waves to causes that are known as ‘cavitations’ in fatty tissue.
These cavitations then destroy the fatty tissue while leaving all other tissues intact. It is possible to target these fatty tissues by operating at a specific, narrow band of frequency. The fatty cells are converted into a liquid and are then naturally expelled from the body in the form of sweat and urine with the help of lymphatic drainage.
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This article first appeared as part of a promotion in the April edition of Tokyo Weekender.