“No bitter medicine, no smelly moxa sticks, no painful acupuncture,
but rather well-formulated recipe and pleasurable experience.”
An interview with Ms. Yvonne Cheung, Co-founder of YU SUM TONG
Bringing together the wisdom of three generations in Hong Kong, YU SUM TONG integrates Chinese and Western culture to provide daily life solutions to urban citizens who are too busy to take care of their mental and physical wellbeing. Through convenient yet effective products, YU SUM TONG aims to intervene on sub-health conditions, preventing chronic illnesses and early aging symptoms.
YU SUM TONG carefully chooses specialty herbs, natural and safe ingredients while rejecting those disturbed by heavy metals, chem-pesticides or polluted environments. Formulations are compatible with international standards without using harmful additives, unnecessary chemicals, artificial fragrances or colorings.
Ying and Yvonne, the co-founders of YU SUM TONG, are both from TCM and wellness families. From when they were young, they have learned about herbs and they possess rich practical experience in aromatherapy, spa and many other natural therapies. Since 2000, Ying has provided personal health management services to hundreds of celebrities and corporate leaders in mainland China and Hong Kong. Yvonne, with her family, has established a well-known consultancy and management company which holds an unwavering position in China’s hospitality and spa industry. The company has completed many big spa projects and provided branding and marketing services to clients as well.
For 15 years, psychology and marketing graduate Yvonne Cheung has been a specialist in the spa and wellness industry in Hong Kong and China, designing luxury spas and promoting holistic therapies and hydrothermal treatment experiences. While she is a believer in TCM and natural therapies, she is concerned that urban citizens are too busy to take care of their own wellbeing. They suffer from stress, fatigue, infertility and weak immunity. In 2018, she and TCM doctor Ying founded YU SUM TONG, a brand that integrates the wisdom of Chinese and Western culture to provide effective yet travel-friendly solutions to prevent the acceleration of marginal health conditions, illnesses or early signs of aging.
In 2018, YU SUM TONG launched the first TCM range to provide mature, effective and convenient TCM solutions and natural dietary therapy to busy modern people, as well as to pamper women’s health. SpaChina interviewed Yvonne Cheung, the co-founder of YU SUM TONG.
Why did you choose to develop products using a TCM base?
First, I wanted to develop products that take a preventive approach to wellness; and wellness that blends in our daily lives – accessible (easy to buy) and adaptable (easy to understand). A lot of TCM concepts are very close to our minds. Second, we believe in the long-term benefits of using herbal soup, herbal bath, moxibustion, etc. but we are too busy to find out where to get all the ingredients, what is the right formula or how to use them correctly. There aren’t many ready products around or their quality is not stable.
Please tell us more about YU SUM TONG and the TCM doctor Ying.
Ying has been practicing TCM for more than 17 years, providing private treatments and health management advices to A-list celebrities and corporate leaders through acupuncture, herbal prescriptions and natural diet. Putting together her successful record in correcting weak physique, managing surgery or illness recovery, and treating infertility, YU SUM TONG launched its first TCM series in 2018 – Homology of Food & Medicine and Physique Conditioning.
What kind of product concepts and messages do you want to deliver?
Integrating Chinese and Western culture, and the wisdom of three generations in Hong Kong, YU SUM TONG provides daily life solutions for urban citizens who are too busy to take care of their mental and physical wellbeing.
Through convenient yet effective products, YU SUM TONG aims to intervene in marginal health conditions, prevent chronic illnesses and early aging symptoms.
YU SUM TONG carefully chooses specialty herbs, natural and safe ingredients. Formulations are compatible with international standards without using harmful additives, unnecessary chemicals, and artificial colourings.
How long have you and your team been working on YU SUM TONG, and how many products do you have now? Please share 3 star products with us, with their concepts, recipe and effects.
We started working on YU SUM TONG since 2017 and now we have around 30 products launched. And every month we are launching new products.
Rosa Rugosa is a very special breed of Damascus III Rose is our signature and the most popular product.
Among more than 7,000 species of roses, only Damascus Rose and Centifolia Rose can produce essential oil. Damascus roses are rich in botanic ketones that can regulate the menstrual cycle and menstrual flow. They can prevent premature aging of the ovaries, regulate endocrine, relieve pre-menstrual swelling chest and menstrual pain. Roses can also relieve liver Qi and regulate emotions, according to the Chinese medicine bible, Compendium of Materia Medica. Continuous consumption would result in smoother skin, brightened complexion and reduction of dark spots.
Damascus III Rose is a pure bred of the ancient Bulgarian Damascus, and the essential oil is certified by Bulgaria, France and Japan. Wholesome rose corollas are picked manually during the 25-day blooming period once a year. They go through a traditional drying process without the use of sulfur or any chemical additives. At the end, only 1 out of 6,000 roses is selected to become Rosa Rugosa of YU SUM TONG.
Saffron/Artemisia Argyi Moxa Therapy Patches are also very hot ever since their launch. A daily-applicable form of moxibustion treatment that do not require burning a moxa or visiting a clinic. YU SUM TONG selected Artemisia Argyi (Chinese mugwort) from Qiqing county which contains two times more medicinal content and much stronger warming effect than regular Chinese mugwort. Warmed Chinese mugwort can regulate the flow of Qi, relief joint and muscle pain and cast away abnormal cold and dampness in our body.
Ganoderma (Lingzhi) Steam Eye Mask is probably the most handy treatment for mobile eye syndroms. Without removing makeup or putting on topical skincare, this self-warming eye mask helps improve blood circulation around the eyes, relieve fatigue, dryness, and discomfort. It can also calm the emotions and promote quality sleep.
It seems that when you created these products, you had a clear sense of the final consumers’ needs and thought about their convenience in using these products?
Our targets are urban citizens who are too busy to take care of their health and body physique. Regular treatments can be difficult for their schedule and taking medicine may not be appropriate. Our customers range from 25-45, mostly women. They understand the importance of maintaining a strong immune system; they are concerned about fertility potential, or they are uncomfortable with their marginal health issues, and they are trying to minimize the risk of getting chronic diseases.
The products are already in retail channels and online channels. Are they also good for the spa as a professional range for treatments and also for spa retail?
These products are designed for easy application and convenience for travelling, and they can complement many spa treatments to enhance wellness result or can be sold as an add-on service. For example, moxa therapy patches can match any massage and as a recommendation to prolong the result before the next treatment. Ganoderma Steam Eye Mask and Shouwu Scalp Revitalizing Essence can upgrade almost any spa treatment without time extension.
Compared with 5 years ago, nowadays fewer spas want to include TCM treatments. What do you think the reasons for this are?
TCM is always a recognized wellness concepts among Chinese customers although it’s been quiet in luxury spas recently, leaving only the hand-on techniques incorporated in most massages. YU SUM TONG takes on a modern TCM approach – no bitter medicine, no smelly moxa sticks, no painful acupuncture, but rather well-formulated recipe and pleasurable experience. It can be a tool to remind customers that staying well can be just simple.
What do you think about the future of TCM in China? How to educate the young generation to accept TCM?
The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle uses acupuncture to rehabilitate, and the “Flying Fish” Michael Phelps uses cupping to remove excessive water content in the body from being in the swimming pool for long periods of time. In recent years, TCM methodology is recognized widely and used in many Western countries. TCM originated in China is not only part of our culture but it represents lots of wisdom and human-nature philosophies.