Watching all that sport throughout the Olympics is inspiring, but imagine how much they must ache at the end of the day! … Fortunately for us, we know the right people to help out by adding a little sports massage into your treatment, as Christchurch Harbour Hotel and Spa’s head therapist Kate House explains!
What does the Deep Tissue Aromatherapy Massage involve?
It’s a 90 minute treatment starting with a back exfoliation using an ESPA spearmint body polish. We then take that off using warm mitts and go into the back massage focusing on the shoulders which is where we can start making it about the individual: we do a smell test to see which oil the client would like us to use in the treatment, but if an element of sports massage is being included then we would recommend the fitness oil, which has a distinctly citrus scent; if a client spends a lot of time sitting at a desk then we will incorporate some stretches to correct the posture on rounded shoulders and of course we focus on areas of tension build-up. We then move the massage onto the legs, and feet focusing on reflexology points, and do a foot cleanse on the feet with warm mitts as well. We then massage the arms, hands, neck and shoulder area and work with the client’s breathing pattern. We finish with a scalp massage using Pink Scalp and Hair mud, which isn’t actually pink – it is more like an oil!
Where does it come from?
The oils we use are ESPA, and all their products are natural and aromatherapy based, so they penetrate the skin in a way synthetic products don’t, in terms of the massage however, it is a combination of techniques depending on the client’s needs – I am trained in sports massage, so I like to include elements of that which tends to target specific muscles rather than muscle groups.
What is it supposed to do?
Again, it is very dependent of what the client is looking for – the fitness oil however is a muscle relaxant, so it is a bit like a natural alternative to deep heat, it contains lemon and lavender and is very warming and comforting – it penetrates muscles and hydrates the skin as well. Obviously the massage itself is intended to stretch the muscles out a bit and help correct posture and relieve tension. A full body massage is also very detoxifying for the body because of the way it affects the muscles; the mud in the scalp massage contains keratin and is especially good for encouraging hair to grow stronger and brighter – it’s an amazing product and pregnant women often use it on their tummies to avoid stretch marks!
Is there anything you do to enhance the effectiveness of the treatment?
There are six different ESPA oils to choose from, so if clients don’t want to focus on the sports element they don’t have to – aromatherapy massage is very much about finding what the body needs. If we have a little more time with a client we can also recommend things like adding hot stones into the massage, or incorporating some of our Thalgo products – ESPA is very much about relaxation, where Thalgo is more prescriptive and good for specific problems.
Is there anything you recommend clients to do pre or post-treatment to get the most out of it?
Before your treatment get changed into a gown so you don’t get oil all over your clothes, and afterwards try to leave the products on for as long as possible – especially the hair mud, which takes at least 20 minutes to really work its magic. Drink lots of water, because the massage will encourage the body to expel toxins, so you want to help flush them out.
Is there anyone you particularly recommend the treatment for?
A full body massage is perfect for anyone who is highly stressed or has poor sleeping patterns. If you are going to the gym a lot or have a desk based job then it is great – particularly with the fitness oil.
Is there anyone who shouldn’t have this treatment and why?
Aromatherapy can be very potent, so it is not recommended if you are on lots of medication or if you are pregnant or have a serious illness – we can still offer clients a massage, but will adapt the products that we use accordingly, so always make sure you tell a therapist!
What we thought …
A full body massage has got to be one of the most relaxing treatments on offer and if you are a fan of deep tissue massage then the inclusion of sports massage is a welcome addition to the traditional format. Spending much time sitting at a desk, the stretching element across the shoulders was not the most comfortable experience, but we were reaping the rewards for days to come … combining aromatherapy with that more intense massage is to combine the best of both the relaxing and repairing element of spa!
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