updated 27 Jun 2014, 19:32
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Spas on the go

Aleyda Mobile Spa

Tel: 6604-7567

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Operating hours: 10am to 11pm daily

Prices: From $95 for a 60-minute body massage to $260 for a 90-minute couple massage

I love massages and cannot think of anything more indulgent than having a professional back rub in the privacy of my own home. So I was excited to review Aleyda Mobile Spa's signature service, the 90-minute Swedish massage with chamomile and lavender aromatherapy cold-pressed oil ($130) on a Saturday afternoon. Book at least 24 hours in advance; the weekends - Fridays to Sundays - are the spa's busiest periods.

I had the session done in my relatively empty second-floor living room. Before the arrival of MsSalinah Aliman, owner of the three-year-old mobile spa service who was also my therapist for that day, I prepped the area by hanging up white linen curtains to create a more cosy environment.

Ms Salinah brought a portable but sturdy massage bed, and a suitcase filled with fresh white towels for the treatment. A male assistant helped her carry and set everything up before leaving. I was given a clean robe, a disposable hairnet and undies to change into.

When I returned to the room about 15 minutes later, I was pleasantly surprised. The massage bed had rose petals scattered on it and the room was scented with aromatherapy oils, and soothing music from MsSalinah's iPod was playing in the background.

The session started with a neck and shoulder massage that was firm but soothing. By the time MsSalinah got to my legs, I was fast asleep.

All in all, the head-to-toe massage was satisfying. It was painful at times, but bearable.

In my opinion, the price of this 90-minute massage is reasonable considering that it includes the therapist's transportation fees. It is also comparable to the charges of other mid-tier spas.

Aleyda Mobile Spa started its business with facials and spa parties, and they continue to provide these housecall services.

I would consider engaging them the next time I want to give my mother or husband a treat.

Massage At Work

Tel: 6254-5501

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Operating hours: 9am to 6pm daily

Prices: $85 per hour, per therapist, for upper body massage. Each one-hour session can be split into three 20-minute sessions to be shared among three clients

As its name suggests, the nine-year-old Massage At Work specialises in delivering pampering services to the office. For this story, they had agreed to give five colleagues and me 30-minute neck, shoulder and upper back massages.

It was something I was looking forward to to ease the stress on a Tuesday afternoon.

I used to attend a weekly lunchtime yoga class held in my office building, but stopped because it disrupted my work schedule.

My body had been feeling the effects of being starved of yoga for weeks. So I received the Massage At Work team with the anticipation of a quick but relaxing massage cum power nap. About an hour before the scheduled time for the massages, a team of five - three therapists and two staff members who were in charge of the equipment - arrived with three ergonomic massage chairs and a box of paraphernalia for the set-up.

I led them to a meeting room that I had booked and left them to transform it into a "spa".

When my colleagues and I returned 45 minutes later, we were impressed. The room was scented with essential oils, cleared of the office chairs and relaxing music played in the background. Tealight candles, pebbles, potted plants and bouquets of lilies were strategically placed to create a calming atmosphere.

But the massage was nowhere near relaxing to say the least. The therapist went straight for the tight areas in my neck and shoulder and, at times, I had to restrain myself from yelping. Throughout the massage, the therapist hit all the right spots - such as the areas between my shoulder blades - and eased the tension caused by the long hours spent sitting in front of the computer.

Afterwards, I felt refreshed and my entire upper body was a lot less tense. The hot ginger tea that they served us after the massage was a thoughtful gesture.

The Massage At Work team were also kind enough to ask my colleagues and me to get back to work while they returned the meeting room to its regular set-up.

Nothing can replace the state of Zen I get after an hour-long yoga session, but this 30-minute massage came close.

Call at least 10 working days in advance to book. A minimum order of two therapists, two hours each, is required.

Sole Service

Tel: 6221-7002/ 9635-6271 (SMS only)

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Operating hours: 2pm to 2am daily

Prices: From $85 for a 60-minute foot reflexology, neck, shoulder and back massage

I have never been big on going for massages or spa treatments, unless I am on vacation. The minute I step out of any spa here, I am back to running mundane errands and dealing with traffic and bad drivers. So much for that feel-good vibe lasting.

So I liked the idea of having someone come to my home to pamper me. All I had to do was let the therapist in, see him out and then crawl into bed with that feeling of bliss still intact.

I got to do just that on a recent Sunday afternoon, when Sole Service, a 11/2-year-old home massage service, sent over two of its senior male therapists to give both my husband and I each a 45-minute shoulder, back and neck massage, and a 45-minute foot reflexology session.

Sunday is Sole Service's busiest day, but bookings can still be made six hours in advance. Weekday bookings can be made three hours in advance.

My review session for Urban was free, while my husband paid $125 for his - just a few dollars more than what he pays at his regular reflexology place for a similar session.

Tee and Chris, neatly dressed in black Sole Service polo shirts and pants, arrived about 10 minutes before our appointment, lugging two foot rests, two stools, a bag of towels and two jars of cream. They also brought a massage bed and a kneeling massage chair, so we could choose either for our massages.

Chris and the massage bed were assigned to my husband in an empty spare room, while I had my treatments done in the study. They set up their equipment quickly and unobtrusively and were polite and professional throughout.

Sole Service was started initially as a foot reflexology service and Tee's expertise showed in the way he deftly worked his way around my soles.

The shoulder, back and neck massage, which was done on the kneeling massage chair, was just as satisfying and I dozed off. The only thing Sole Service might want to change is its very rough towels that are used to wipe one's feet and legs after the reflexology session. Perhaps, next time, I will use my own.

And yes, there will be a next time. Sole Service has sold me on the idea of fuss-free, at-home pampering sessions - so convenient and the perfect way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon at home.

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