Looking for a massage
If you’re anything like me, you’ll have spent the last 10 months ‘hot desking’ in the comfort of your own home. At first, I set up at the dining table. Then on the sofa. When lockdown really kicked in, I opted for a makeshift desk at the end of the bed. Not one of these options offered any ergonomic support, nor did they offer the option for adjusting my screen. The result, as I’m sure you can appreciate as you probably feel the same, is that almost a year later, my back is not in the best of shape.
Of course, in Saigon, getting a massage is not too tricky. There is probably a spa on your street Even if there isn’t, a quick Google search returns over 6 million results so you won’t have to go too far to find one. If you are looking for a luxurious treat there are a number of luxury spas that will pamper and preen you for hours at a time. Half day, full day, spa staycations; there is no end of decadent destinations for you to enjoy.
But what if you’re looking for a massage that can fit easily into your day and budget? Perhaps, like me, you feel like you might need a few visits to get all of the knots out. Or maybe you’d like to start building a weekly massage into your routine? In these challenging times, it’s not always practical, or possible, to head off to a 5-star hotel for a full day of pampering.
Luckily, Saigon also offers a wide variety of more affordable options. Raku Spa on Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai Street is a budget friendly option conveniently located in Phạm Ngũ Lãoward, just a 5-minute drive from Bến Thành market and Bùi Viện Backpacker District. Situated down a charming ‘hem’ leading off the bustling main road, the spa is easy to miss if you are driving yourself. But if you make sure that you set your GPS carefully, or even better opt for a taxi or Grab, getting to the spa is relatively straight forward.
Upon arriving, I received a warm welcome from the staff and provided with a short, but appealing, list of services to choose from. Raku Spa specialises in Japanese style Shiatsu massage, where the massage therapist will apply pressure to key pressure points to restore the flow of ‘Qi’ to your body. Considering the number of knots that I needed kneading, I had no choice but to opt for this treatment, but I have to admit I was tempted by the Herbal Shampoo Massage that was also an option.
Following my massage therapist into the treatment room, I was surprised at how much treatment space Raku Spa has. In typical Saigon style, this was not immediately obvious from the street, but as we worked our way up the staircase, I saw a variety of spaces set up for solo guests, couples and groups. Each room was simply furnished, but looked clean, comfortable, and most importantly perfectly peaceful, which considering the proximity to Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai, seemed like some sort of miracle.
Once comfortably settled in a softly lit treatment room, I immediately felt the tension start to leave my shoulders. My therapist, Quyen, started to gently, but firmly work each pressure point and the tension that had been building across my shoulders and back for months, eventually started to lessen.
As Shiatsu Massage focuses on energy points across the body, Quyen eventually made her way to my legs and feet, where I had neglected to mention I have a couple of longstanding injuries. Despite my terrible Vietnamese, she quickly understood that less pressure was required and adjusted her technique accordingly. Following that, the massage continued to be as tension-relieving and relaxing as before, but I would strongly advise mentioning any issues at reception before treatment begins.
After 90 minutes of targeted pressure from Quyen, I emerged from the treatment room feeling relaxed, refreshed, significantly less rigid than I had when I arrived. I certainly hadn’t been expecting for every kink to have been knocked out of my back in one treatment, but I was sure that a few had gone and the others were noticeably reduced.
As I exited through reception, stopping to say thank you to the cheerful receptionist, I noted that the seating area was much busier than when I arrived. The familiarity with which staff and customers treated each other suggested this was not the first time these visitors had been to Raku Spa, and I imagined that these customers had their regular treatment booked for the same time each week. And when I thought about the affordable prices of Raku Spa’s treatments and the rejuvenated spring in my step, I can fully understand why.
Raku Spa is located at 153/3 Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai Street, Phạm Ngũ Lão ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. For full details of the treatments available click here.
Raku Spa also offers an ‘In Home’ service – for further information or to make a reservation, please contact the Spa Booking Line on 077 994 7878 (Phone/Zalo/Viber/Whatsapp)
Our reviewer was a guest of Raku Spa