‘Return To Yourself’ With Andaz Ao Spa’s Winter Body Treatment

This Full Body Yuzu-Inspired Massage Will Get You Back On Your Feet

Have you been fully yourself lately?!

It was the name that grabbed my attention. I’m not a regular spa visitor, and I have the special skill of persuading myself that that shoulder pain, that occasional back stiffness and that tired skin I see in my reflection, are just things that come and go. But it has been some time now that I haven’t been feeling truly my best self physically. My evil friends would say it’s the age, the kinder would say it’s just end of the year fatigue, but I knew that it was something else — I needed to sit down and spend some time for myself. Even if it was only an hour or two.

So when I came across the latest spa offer at Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills, called “Return to Myself,” it really got me thinking. Not if I should do it, but when. The sooner the better, I thought — it was exactly what I needed.

I visited AO Spa & Club recently at the end of a long day at work, a particularly cold one, and was kindly greeted by two friendly staff who offered me an orange honey welcome drink as I was writing a questionnaire of my body condition, preferences and things I’d like to improve in my lifestyle.

“Return to Myself” begins with a refreshing orange honey welcome drink.

After completing the questionnaire, I was escorted to my treatment room, a small and stylish space with a stunning night view of Tokyo Tower and the city lights. My therapist invited me to relax as she began introducing my treatment of the day — a yuzu (Japanese citrus)-inspired foot bath followed by a 90-minute full body oil massage.

The hand mix of yuzu peels and bath salt used in the treatment are prepared in front of you.

The treatment began with a yuzu-yu — a foot bath with yuzu salt and peels to encourage blood circulation. My therapist, as she was scrubbing my feet with the bath salt, explained that in Japan there is a saying that taking a yuzu bath in winter, especially on the Winter Solstice day (Dec. 22 this year), will keep you healthy throughout the cold winter days. I knew of yuzu baths before, but had never taken a foot bath with the citrus, and this first-time experience was more than welcome. It gradually warmed up my body and helped me relax.

Soaked in citrus: The yuzu foot bath increases blood circulation

Following the foot bath was the massage. I laid on the soft therapy bed, head down, and as the therapist began applying hinoki and orange scented blend of oils, I was transported somewhere else in no time. That place was far, far away from work, family issues, city blues and the regular daily hassle. The place where I was now was warm, stress-free, relaxing. And there was no one else but me there.

The massage covered every part of the body, head to toes, all sides. It felt particularly good on my legs, head and shoulders, parts which, according to my therapist, felt extremely stiff and “exhausted” as she kindly put it. I knew it was true, but I was amazed at how differently I felt after the massage. My body was lighter and more refreshed than it had been in a very long time.

[I]n Japan there is a saying that taking a yuzu bath in winter, especially on the Winter Solstice day, will keep you healthy throughout the cold winter days.

In the end of the treatment, I was invited to spend some time on my own having another warm drink in the treatment room before moving to a relaxation room, equipped with a shower, spacious bath, a private space, and healthy drinks and bites. Despite the late hour of the day, I enjoyed the privilege of another hour there, taking it slow in the bath and relaxing.

Is that what it takes to return to myself, I wondered. Indeed. And I knew I should’ve done it earlier.

If you’re in the same boat — book your treatment and spend a few hours at the spa for yourself. Sometimes this is really what it takes to get yourself back on tracks — physically and emotionally.

The Deets

AO Spa & Club “Return to Myself” Special Festive Treatment

Address: Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills 37F, Toranomon 1-23-4, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-6830-7735
Spa treatment hours: 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Available: Nov. 1 through Dec. 31
Cost: ¥23,000 (Price is subject to consumption tax and a 15% service tax) 

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