I miss this place! And no, this is not a paid advertisement. I’ve availed of their services twice and I intend to visit again when I’m in Manila and try their other services.
I first saw Karada in Boracay and got so intrigued, but I didn’t yet visit it and just opted for other massage places there. A few weeks later, my sister recommended this place in Mall of Asia, where they cracked her neck and aligned her body. Wow! I was sold. It was on my to-do list on my next Manila visit.
Upon entering, they first let you fill out a form and questionnaire on your physical condition, concerns and reason for the therapy. I didn’t really have any particular body aches and pains, but I put down “headaches” and “digestion” as my main concerns.
I tried the AP (Atlas-Pelvis) Balance for 45 minutes and it was the best! I was assigned a male therapist but it’s okay. He was very professional and would explain each process that he would do, especially when he needed to get into my personal space, like grab my whole body with my arms crossed over my chest to crack my back.
Next, they lead you to changing rooms with provided black tshirt and pants to change into. I’m happy to say that the changing rooms and washroom next to it are very clean, with liquid soap, tissue and other hygiene products available. Clothes and personal items are then placed in a basket which will be placed under your bed.
Once outside, the therapist will go through your concerns and treat you accordingly. Here are the highlights of my first treatment:
- Aligning my body. I was told that I was misaligned, that I was leaning towards one side of my body. He showed this to me by raising both of my legs up and putting my ankles side by side. It looked like one of my legs is longer than the other, but it’s not; it’s just misaligned. This could be the result of habitually standing on one leg more than the other (sabay hands on hips, taray pose hehe), or crossing legs while sitting (didn’t we learn the “royal” way to sit in “Princess Diaries”?), or sleeping on one side (yes, I’m a side sleeper). The therapist did a series of massages then ta-da! Hindi na ako tabingi hehe.
- Use of mechanical bed. Results of my APEs (Annual Physical Exams) throughout schooling revealed that I had a mild lumbar scoliosis (doesn’t everyone have some form of scoliosis nowadays?) Yes, bad posture. The therapist didn’t need to see x-rays. He felt the curve of my spine and knew. The mechanical beds are placed in another room. Makes sense because it’s so noisy when operated. It’s a bed divided into several parts that can be elevated or lowered mechanically. He did a series of up and downs with the bed then ta-da! Hindi na ako kuba hehe.
- Cracking my neck. On my own I’m able to crack my neck. But this brings it to a whole ‘nother level. It’s done so suddenly that you’d just be surprised with the “crack” sound and immediate relief to your neck. If you get squirmy when other people crack their neck, then you’re in for a surprise. I love it *cracks neck*. I was told that it’s the release of built-up toxins that produces the cracking sound.
Overall, it’s an amazing experience and like I said, I went back for a second treatment. Although on my second time, I didn’t crack as much (huhu! Noticing this, the therapist really put effort to “crack” me but to no avail) but that’s a good thing because it means that I’m well aligned and there’s not much built-up toxins. Yey!
Price. Both times I tried AP Balance Therapeutic (45 minutes) priced at Php945. I say this is value for money as it is NOT your ordinary massage. This is a wellness and chiropractic therapy. My brother-in-law, who has a spine injury, has consulted with a chiropractor for a lot more money (professional fees, of course) and they did the same thing!
So if you’re feeling aches and pains and ready to try something different, try this one out. I recommended this to my friend whose back hurts once in awhile and she loved it too! She said, her spine never felt so relaxed. Let me know how it goes for you.
Karada at Mall of Asia is located at the new wellness zone north wing. Contact numbers +639175488872 or +639271377045. Open 11am to 9pm everyday. It’s first come, first served. Or call for reservations. Click here for list of other branches.
UPDATE (June 20, 2018): This is a late update. My last visit to Karada was last December and it wasn’t what it used to be. They had rotated the therapists and the ones we were used to in the MOA branch were no longer there. I found them to be quite noisy as well, yes it’s an open area, no cubicles or curtains, but there used to be a hushed tone about. But that time, the therapists were talking among themselves. I don’t really need to hear if they’ve filed their overtime or leaves already. Also, ten minutes into the session, my therapist was already upselling me into this and that package. Couldn’t she at least have given me the hour to enjoy and feel serene? Clearly not. So no, I didn’t enjoy my last visit to Karada. For that price and reputation as a Japanese brand, I had expected more. I haven’t been back since.