Wellness & Fitness

Massage therapy: How to pick the option to help you unwind


Linet Musengya, a masseuse at Gelian Hotel in Machakos Town, massages a client on October 15, 2022. PHOTO | PIUS MAUNDU | NMG

Massage remains one of the best-recommended ways to relax. Hotels have been investing in facilities such as spas and hiring professionals to ensure their guests get respite from the daily haste and bustle.

Linet Musenya, a masseuse at Gelian Hotel in Machakos Town, says that clients need different massages depending on several factors including pain tolerance levels and underlying health conditions.

Tales have been told of people who have fallen off massage beds jumping from the sudden pain of the masseuse’s kneading. For such people whose pain tolerance levels are low, Ms Musenya, recommends Swedish massage as the go-to option for relaxation as it involves a gentle touch.

The Swedish massage technique is also the recommended approach for expectant mothers whose bodies might be a bit sensitive from the raging hormones.

However, not everyone should get a massage as the vigour with which it is done might be painful for people with conditions like arthritis. People with haemophilia (an inherited bleeding disorder in which the blood does not clot properly) should also not get massages as internal bleeding can be caused even by minor trauma to muscles and joints. A responsible masseuse, according to Ms Musenya, will ask for a medical history before the first session.

Then there is the hot stone massage. Ms Musenya says that if one is a hiker, this option would serve them well. The stones, made of basalt, are heated and placed on different parts of your body, releasing tension and easing muscle pain. Here, the Swedish massage techniques are applied together with the hot stones.

For the daring, a deep tissue massage may cause some little pain and discomfort, but it is most effective in releasing tension from the deepest layers of muscles. At Gelian Hotel’s spa, this massage is done on sportsmen and gymgoers. People with structural abnormalities of the spine may also benefit from this massage.

Experimentation with different types of massages guides one in finding what works for them. For anyone sentimental about scents or who wants a massage that will improve their mood, an aromatherapy massage would be their best bet. The pleasant aroma of the essential oils aids in triggering pleasant emotions.

Unlike other massages, reflexology typically does not use oil. Ms Musenya says this massage, which involves applying pressure to the feet and hands, helps induce a deep feeling of relaxation. Though an ancient Chinese practice, reflexology has in recent years been adapted as a holistic therapy to relieve pain and stress. Reflexologists believe different areas of the feet correspond to specific body organs the application of the pressure enhances healing mechanisms in the body.

If you and yours enjoy massages and want to spend quality time together, given that a massage on average lasts between 60-90 minutes, a couple’s massage might be the perfect getaway activity or full body wax if you are brave enough.

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