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Once a fortnight, Richard Gavriel turns up at a Tanjong Pagar spa in Singapore, lies under a pile of towels and allows himself to be set on fire.

Actually, a therapist pours rubbing alcohol over his mid-section and sets the liquid alight.

Huo Long Thermotherapy

About 30 seconds later, Gavriel will murmur that it is getting too hot and the therapist will put the flame out with a wet towel.

The 41-year-old director of a corporate training firm undergoes this “fire therapy treatment” to lose weight. The treatment is based on the belief that the body is regulated by five elements – fire, wood, metal, earth and water. The heat supposedly balances the energy of those who have too much of the water element in their bodies that could cause digestive problems or joint pain.

In Gavriel’s case, easing his digestive problems is supposed to help trim his waistline

Huo Long or thermotherapy is a traditional therapy that originates from Tibet. Huo Long therapy combines traditional Chinese medical meridian theory with Moxibustion therapy to enhance the efficacy of these therapies.

Through intermediate direct contact with heat, pores and acupoints can be swiftly opened up providing for immediate improvement in circulation of essential energy or Qi and inducing the Yin and Yang balance of the body.

This is a form of alternative therapy which many practise in the country. For example, check out the woman in the screenshot below who has a thick yellow face-pack, a towel covering half her face and two balls of fire over her eyes, and looking as nonchalant as can be.

Therapists who specialize in Huo Long therapy prepare towels that are soaked in a ‘secret elixir’ as well as a little alcohol. Then the towel is torched for a few seconds after which it is put out by another towel.

More than the beauty factor, therapists say that the treatment also relaxes the muscles and is kind of a stress-buster, making the person invigorated. Fire treatment is used as a miracle cure for everything from obesity to the common cold.

Those who have a phobia of fire need not be afraid, as therapists deem the method to be safe and harmless if performed by trained hands. “When administered by a trained therapist, the skin does not get burned but is warmed. Therefore, the procedure is safe”.

As far as Mr Gavriel is concerned, he said he was sceptical at first about the “fire therapy treatment”. But after completing 10 sessions, he is happy with the results and will be paying about S$2,000 for another 10 sessions. “My waistline has reduced by about 7.5cm in six months and my appetite has decreased. I eat about one-third the amount of rice I used to.”


Sources :

The Straits Times

Ancient Art Of Fire Therapy Being Rediscovered
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