Massage is a popular gift for Valentine’s day, and with good reason. The usual go-to massages are couples massage and hot stone massage. Both can be fabulous. But what if you want to go to dinner and a movie afterward without feeling all greasy or looking like the bride of frankenstein did your hair? This week I give you the 3 best massage and bodywork sessions for relaxation while still looking well-coifed afterward. Some may be a tad out of the ordinary, but they will each give you that wet noodle feeling that you love so much AND leave you looking good enough for a night on the town.
1. Reflexology – Reflexology isn’t exactly massage. Instead, it’s a type of bodywork that focuses on either the feet or the hands. Yes, you get to stay fully clothed the entire time – well, except for maybe your shoes and socks. Practitioners say that the feet and hands reflex the whole body. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I do know that a full hour of work on either your hands or your feet will leave your whole body feeling as if it somehow got massaged as well. The best word I have to describe it is, “Aaaaahhhhhh.”
2.Thai massage – Thai massage is performed on a mat on the floor and you get to stay fully dressed. I would suggest wearing loose, comfortable clothing, however, because you will find yourself being stretched and moved in many different directions. Restrictive clothing would not only pinch but would also lessen the benefit. Thai massage is often described as “assisted yoga” and that’s a pretty accurate way to describe some of the ways that your body will be moved during the session. I’ll confess that when I first heard about Thai massage, it didn’t sound appealing to me at all. You see I’m somewhat flexibly impaired and the thought of someone moving my body into all sorts of positions that I couldn’t get into on my own sounded downright painful. Then a friend took the training and wanted to practice and I agreed to let her practice on me. Holy Cow! I still don’t know how she managed to move me so far in so many different directions. I’ve never felt so limber in all my life as I did after that session… and no pain afterward either. I’ve received several Thai sessions since then and love the way my body moves after each and every one. The best way to I can describe it is, “ooey, gooey, stretchy goodness.”
3. Shiatsu/Ashiatsu* – Shiatsu and ashiatsu are related forms of bodywork that are done fully clothed, either on a low table or a mat on the floor. The practitioner will work your meridians (the energy lines used in traditional or classical chinese medicine and acupuncture) using finger pressure for shiatsu or foot pressure in the case of ashiatsu. Because of the locations of the meridians, your whole body is pressed and kneaded thereby working most of the muscles as well. Shiatsu/ashiatsu is quite simply a great way to clear out your energy system while getting the satisfying feeling of someone actually pressing on your tight muscles at the same time. The phrase I most often utter at the end of a session is, “Mmmmm… do you have another client right after me?”
*Ashiatsu is different than Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy (AOBT). AOBT is done on a massage table, with you undressed to your comfort level and covered by a sheet. The practitioner uses oil (or other lubricant) and long gliding strokes to release tight tissues in the body as s/he holds onto overhead bars. It’s a wonderful service, but not the one I’m referring to.
Do you have another massage or bodywork technique to add to this list? If so, please list it in the comments below.