Massage parlours are going traditional as they mix herbs with natural oils to soothe muscles and stimulate blood flow.
At Lotus Health and Relaxation Centre in Leisure Lodge, Mombasa, they have introduced a new massage that incorporates the ‘magic’ of Maasai medicinal plants. It starts with feet cleansing.
“If you have been driving for long or jet lagged and someone cleans your feet in this water, it is very soothing. You relax even before the masseuse starts the body massage,” said Syprose Super, the masseuse at Lotus.
A masseuse then uses a warm cloth filled with steamed herbs from Narok to gently press the body and stimulate blood circulation. “They are sourced from Narok after being sun dried. We then pack them in bags and heat them. When we do the massage, the herbs are warm and their medicinal value is able to penetrate to the skin to soothe the muscles,” she said.
The herbal massage treatment takes about 90 minutes.
“We realised that we can use traditional herbs and oils to do massages. We get the oils from the Mt Kenya region mainly made from macadamia nuts and avocado,” Syprose said.
According to Sam Ikwaye, the Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers Coast executive officer, wellness tourism is growing, attracting many customers. He said the industry however lacks skilled labour, with the trainings offered failing to keep up with the changing trends.
“Since it is an emerging area, we have not had many spa workers trained in mainstream schools,” he said.
Mr Ikwaye urged hotels to offer authentic spa products and services to attract more tourists.
“Most hotels offer Thai, Japanese and other kinds of foreign massages but tourists are also looking for authentic African experiences,” he said.