Nope, this is NOT a slimming massage.
As part of Agent G's New Year Resolution to treat her body better, she's trying out Momihogushi, a special stomach massage aimed at improving blood circulation for the intestinal region.
Read on to see what it entails and what she felt afterwards!
“All disease begins in the gut.” – Hippocrates
The father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, made this observation more than 2,000 years ago but his wisdom still stands strong today.
Obviously, not all diseases start in the gut but there is increasing evidence that many chronic diseases have their roots in our daily digestive system.
You may be surprised to hear that acne and other skin conditions are no exceptions. Studies show that people suffering from skin problems often have problems such as constipation, bloating and gas. Sounds gross but basically, constipation reintroduces toxic matter into the body which is sometimes eliminated via the skin! Sometimes, the excess estrogen that is to be eliminated via our bowels also gets reabsorbed, causing hormonal acne.
Instead of going for extraction or other harsh treatments to eliminate the acne, we should perhaps see acne as a signal our body is sending us: "Please take better care of me!"
That's the rationale for Allumer, one of Japan's top facial and beauty salons, in offering a special massage aimed at improving circulation of the intestinal area. As the founder Allumer believes that true beauty is achieved from inside out, Momihogushi is one of Allumer's signature treatments to relieve constipation, edema and IBS.
When I first heard about Allumer, Momihogushi was actually the treatment that first caught my eye. I always believe that beauty on the outside is linked to beauty on the inside and that I must springclean the inside to achieve beautiful skin. Unfortunately, I'm not always sure what the problem on the inside is or what to do about it. As Momihogushi aims to aid in the detox process via massage, I'm definitely intrigued.
I had been having bloating and constipation issues for years, resulting in acne before my pregnancy. Could Momihogushi help?
When I mentioned about my problems to Tomomi at Allumer, she invited me to give Momihogushi a go.
I made an appointment on a weekday afternoon.
The salon manager, Tomoko san, attended to me. She offered me some tea and explained that Beauty Undercover readers are given a complimentary Collagen LED treatment on the next visit if they write a review for Allumer on Beauty Undercover. Hence she would also like me to give collagen LED treatment a go as well.
With the help of the English descriptions on the iPad, Tomoko explained about the Momihogushi as well as the LED service.
The LED service starts first. It requires me to change out so here I go!
Just in case you are wondering what the LED service is, this is it!
It's this huge machine with Red LED lights. I wore the goggle they provided as the red lights can be quite glaring.
From what I read later on, the red LED light produces a wavelength outside of the skin-damaging UV range. The LED red light rejuvenates the skin by stimulating fibroblasts to produce more collagen and decrease enzymes that break down collagen. It is a mild treatment that can help reduce fine lines over several sessions and is best used as an adjunct to other treatments such as facial for best results. It is also used to help with acne, improve facial texture and accelerate healing from other procedures.
The whole process is quite simple really. The therapist will close the machine and all I had to do is lie there... and basically sleep for 20 minutes.
I can decide to undress as much as I wish so that every inch of my skin is exposed to the red LED light for maximum results.
If you're curious, I didn't actually feel anything throughout the Red LED treatment, no pain, no irritation, so basically a mild treatment suitable even for those of you with sensitive skin.
I did however get a nice nap :)
After the Collagen treatment, I was given a yukata to change into escorted into the next room for the Momihogushi treatment. With its decor, I almost felt like I'm transported to a Ryokan in Japan! Very pretty :D
I was however a little surprised that I didn't have to change out of the Ryokan. Having gone for many massages, I'm actually rather used to undressing before a massage.
Tomoko mentioned that this massage doesn't need undressing as she is familiar with the various acupoints even without directly touching the skin.
What will this massage be like, I wonder.
Gonna find that out soon!
If you're expecting a relaxing pampering massage, this is not it... but man, was it good!
Tomoko exerted quite a bit of pressure at various acupoints. It is not really painful but maybe because the points were my problem areas, it actually felt ache-ish (or suan) instead. The ache reminds me of acupuncture; the doctor has to put at the correct acupoint where I will feel a similar ache somewhat if not, the treatment doesn't work.
Except this time, the ache is achieved via massage!
She was very thorough, covering various sections around my lower abdominal area where the intestinal areas were.
Tomoko asked if I usually sleep late as my lower abdominal area feels rather hard.
Perhaps my lack of sleep is causing my abdominal fat as well, along with other problems.
But I just can't help it! 24 hours is just not enough in a day!
After 20 minutes, the massage is over.
I went to the loo immediately afterwards to relieve myself.
It is hard to tell if the massage definitely helped my bowel movements - I had started taking probiotics since a few months ago and my constipation issues were very much relieved. But yes, I did have regular bowel movements the next morning :D I also find my bloating issues a little less serious the next few days.
What I was surprised to find was instead a relief of my menstrual pain. I have had bad menstrual pains since my first period. Although childbirth seems to alleviate it a little, the pains felt like they were getting worse again. 2 days after the massage, I had my menstrual period and I have to say that I experienced significantly less pain than usual! I'm not sure if this is completely due to the massage but that's the only thing that I did differently in the month. I wouldn't be surprised if the massage actually played a hand because the massage definitely increased blood circulation for the entire area.
Tomomi shared that many of the customers who tried Momihogushi for the first time eventually came back because of the effects they felt. Apparently, one customer had bowel movements only once every 6 days and after getting Momihogushi regularly, her bowel movements improved to once every 2 days! Thereafter, the customer comes back every week or every two weeks for the massage.
This is therefore highly recommended for customers who wish to improve their intestinal digestion, skin condition and overall wellbeing. For a relatively affordable price of $50 per session, I think its worth it to give your body digestion an occasional boost with the massage.
The Collagen LED, while interesting, required more sessions to see a visible effect but its a worthy add-on especially if you have the additional 20 minutes to share!