Insider's Guide to Spas


China’s Best Spa Therapist Tony Wu

Mary Bemis

A sought-after and award-winning therapist at the Peninsula Shanghai, Tony Wu is one of the best. A fully qualified doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine, he is a nominee for China’s Best Spa Therapist 2013 from SpaChina magazine. He recently visited the States to share his magic via his newest therapy, Vital Qi.

Insider’s: What exactly do you do in your position with Peninsula Shanghai?

Tony Wu: I am a therapist with specialization in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Due to my Chinese medical knowledge, I oftentimes give consultation to my guests and advise them on how to battle any illness they may be experiencing, and how to live a healthier life.

Insider’s: How did you get into the spa world, and why?

TW: I came into contact with TCM when I was 12 years old. It is because my mother is a Chinese doctor specializing in acupuncture. I was fascinated by her practice and was very interested in pursuing this career.

Insider’s: How do you create your new treatments?

TW: By being empathetic. I see / smell / hear / feel / sense as a guest and completely put myself into their shoes. In doing this, I am enlightened with new ideas, and these ideas are then put into practice after I prove it by learning from different books of different disciplines in Chinese medicine. I still continually learn from books and from mentors. I have one mentor of “South” stream and another one of “North” stream. The former one is focused on finger pressure points, whereas the latter is more on exploring how stretching and pounding work on smoothing the qi (chi).

Insider’s: What’s your favorite spa treatment, and why?

TW: Foot reflexology. It is because by pressing 62 pressure points on the feet, one can learn the condition of the entire body.

Insider’s: How do you live the spa lifestyle?

TW: I have a body treatment by professional blind masseurs twice a week. For dietary arrangement, I tend not to eat anything (except drinking water) one day per week and on weekdays, I always prefer vegetables and soup to rice and meat.

Insider’s: Best piece of advice on how to live a balanced life?

TW: Learn more about “Give and Take.” It will in turn be more rewarding if you are willing to work extra miles in all the tasks you undertake.

Insider’s: Where do you see future of spa treatments headed?

TW: They will not only be enjoyed by grown-ups any longer. Guests are getting younger and [spa-ing] will eventually evolve into a family experience.

Insider’s: What’s your favorite getaway, and what do you do when you need to relax and rejuvenate?

TW: Thailand. To me, cooking a meal for my family is the best way to relax and rejuvenate.

Mary Bemis

Mary Bemis

Mary Bemis is editorial director of She is an award-winning spa journalist, honored with Folio's Top Women in Media Award, and the distinguished ISPA Dedicated Contributor Award. In 1997, she launched American Spa magazine, and in 2007, Mary co-founded Organic Spa magazine. A pioneer in the sustainable spa and beauty worlds, Mary is co-curator of Cosmoprof North America's Discover Green Pavilion. She sits on the board of Wellness Warrior, is a Global Wellness Day Advisor and a co-founder of the Washington Spa Alliance.