That’s right, I’m taking about Fucked Up Qi Syndrome (FUQS), a common affliction many of us deal with every day. Life is hard for those of us with FUQS, surviving day in and day out with just some totally lame qi that just drains all the color out of life. How many times have I cried to the heavens why oh why am I cursed with this wack qi situation, what did I do to deserve this, my life force sucks ass!
My friends, there is only one solution when you’ve got qi that blows and it is this: putting on a hazmat suit and burying yourself in sand for 20 minutes. Yes, that’s right.
The Sand Bath
Sand Baths are pretty common the world over as it turns out. They love them in Egypt. Looks like they’ve got some great sand over there. The variation at Benhin Floating and Sand Therapy House uses lovely sand imported in from some desert in Xinjiang. Evidently, Xinjiang desert sand has lots of magnets in it which is great for people like me who suffer from bullshit qi. It’s also got lots of other inscrutable beneficial minerals in it according to the nice spa lady. Okay, I’ll buy that.
The purported aim of the sand bath is this: to eradicate your han qi. That’s the bad qi. I think. Something like that. It’s like the cupping thing. The sand bath combats your han qi build-up (I guess it’s like plaque?), as well as works untold magic on your internal organs to address problems like stress, indigestion, circulatory issues, headaches, cold symptoms, and not being buried alive.
It also works really well on hamsters! WHAT.
You don’t need to bring your own, they provide you with the hazmat suit, which is there to lock in your sweat and ensure that you don't get any actual sand on your body. They also give you some lovely paper-thin disposable spa undies so you don’t have to free-ball it in your sand bath. So, basically, you put this thing on get in the tub. And then they bury you in heated sand for 20 minutes.
It was like a warm and soothing bath. But with sand. Yep.
It’s the same principle as a sauna and it does the same thing. Just really opens up your pores and gets the sweat flowing. Every five minutes, the attendant comes over and shifts the sand to make sure you’re getting the fresh, hot stuff. But yeah, it’s like a sauna that completely immobilizes you. The attendant dabs the sweat off your brow and feeds you warm lemon water through a straw. Maybe two or three times I felt a brief pang of terror at being buried and immobilized — you can feel the weight of the sand on your chest — but for the most part it was a really relaxing experience. After 20 minutes though, I was really done with it; every pore on my body was pumping out sweat and I had had enough.
(Thinking of giving away my disposable spa undies as a special SmartShanghai giveaway. Maybe as a raffle prize for this event!)
Afterwards, the procedure concludes by dressing you up like The Big Lebowski, feeding you coffee, and having you chill on a pool bed for another 20 minutes.
Feeling drained. Serenely drained. Yeah, very drained, but serenely so. Feeling good. Feeling *makes ocean waves gesture with hand*. Gotta say, really helped in relaxing muscles. That was the main thing. I do a lot of sports so obviously that was huge for me. My skin felt better as well. Just sort of naturally oiled and moisturized I guess. From my sweat. (Ewww. Gross.)
I tell ya, it left me feeling real good to blast some Carl’s Jr, which I did immediately after.
Slept very well that night too.
Should You Do it?
I know a lot of people swear by the health benefits of saunas. If you’re one of those, this is definitely an interesting riff on that experience that provides the same results. Apart from that, it’s just a really fun and interesting sort of thing to try — being buried alive. Benxin has two side-by-side sand baths also, so it can work as an interesting date even if you don’t explicitly suffer from FUQS.
(Stay strong FUQS sufferers. Stay strong.)
Thumbs up. Would do again for sure. And the whole thing was only 70rmb!
Benxin Floating and Sand Therapy House is at 737 Caoxi Bei Lu, near Sanjiao Dong Jie, in the ground floor of an apartment building. The sand bath treatment is 70rmb all-in. In addition to the two sand baths, they’ve also got several sensory deprivation tanks if that’s more your thing. Those cost 368rmb an hour. All of this is by appointment only. RSVP one day in advance.