Tired of the same old Swedish rubdown? Here are a few unique alternatives.
1. Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy
Like something out of a Cirque de Soleil show, this technique involves a therapist holding onto ceiling-mounted parallel bars while performing the massage with her feet. Since most people have more strength in their legs than their arms, Ashiatsu can be great for those who like firm pressure. But unlike deep tissue massage where the therapist can get into nooks and crannies with fingers and elbows, the strokes are long and slow, minimizing the need for squirming. Like a Swedish massage, the therapist uses oil on the client’s bare skin. And yes, the massage therapist washes and sanitizes her feet thoroughly beforehand.
Where to get it: Winvian Resort, Morris, CT
2. Hakali Cactus Massage
Though it sounds painful, it’s anything but. A blend of the nectar and flowers of the nopal cactus is applied with warm paddies (cactus leaves) that have been stripped of their needles. Proponents claim the gel-like cactus juice contains healing properties similar to that of aloe vera. It’s moisturizing, detoxifying and great for sunburns or bug bites.
Where to get it: Four Seasons Punta Mita, Mexico
3. Golf Ball Massage
Physical therapists have taught patients for years to use tennis balls for self-massage. The golf ball massage is a new twist on this familiar principle. Therapists use heated golf balls to break up tension and increase flexibility in the muscles. It’s best for athletes, weekend warriors and those who prefer deeper bodywork.
Where to get it: Beverly Wilshire Hotel, Beverly Hills, CA