For intense relief, detox and ultimate rejuvenation, KHURSHEED DINSHAW explores the many benefits of a bamboo massage.
“Known as ‘healing bamboo’, a set comprises of 5-7 sticks of varying thicknesses and lengths that are hollow on the inside and straight outside. The sticks are sturdy and smooth as they have to be rolled and used for kneading on the guest,” explains Sasikumar, Sr. General Manager at the Radisson Blu Hotel- GRT Chennai, whose Bodhi Spa offers bamboo massage. Oil or lotion is applied to ease the rolling of the sticks on the body. For guests who are looking to remove a sun tan, hazelnut and vanilla oil is applied—its hydrating properties help moisturise the skin, and it is perfect for those who have sensitive skin. As it helps to reduce wrinkles, those with skin that shows signs of ageing also opt for this oil. The antioxidants help to produce collagen, which leads to younger-looking skin.
Before administering the massage, herbal tea with or without honey is offered to the guest. This is followed by the foot cleansing ritual to remove dirt and dust. After applying oil or lotion on the body, some therapists heat the bamboo sticks for deeper absorption. Some therapists prefer to use the sticks without heating. The massage itself comprises of a variety of strokes. The small sticks are used on the soles of the feet to activate the pressure points and free any blockage hindering the flow of energy. The medium-sized sticks are used for massaging the back, hands and the legs.
“The type of bamboo stick used also depends on the body structure of the guest. For lean guests who may have protruding bones, the therapist has to be careful and roll the medium-sized stick on the muscle and not on the bones,” explains Mapuii, bamboo massage therapist and nominee for Best Spa Therapist 2017. Thick bamboo sticks are used for larger guests.
The type of pressure used during rolling and kneading also depends on the preference of the guest. Typically, hard pressure is exerted because bamboo massage is similar to deep tissue massage where hard pressure is applied. In fact, bamboo massage gives a more flexible spin to deep tissue massage as the sticks replace the hands of the therapist.
The massage can be clubbed with a protein pack wrap and a facial for top-to-toe rejuvenation. It ends with steam diffused with eucalyptus to fight off cold, which is common in winters.
Health and beauty benefits
“Bamboo massage, known as Bamboo Intense Relief in our spa, is a natural detox and the strokes used are useful for de-stressing. When the bamboo sticks are rolled, they heat the body which leads to removal of accumulated toxins and improves lymphatic drainage. There is an increase in blood circulation,” adds Vijaya Netharaman, Spa Manager of Bodhi Spa at the Radisson Blu- GRT Chennai.
For guests who feel that their muscles (particularly those of the legs) are tight and prone to pain, the rolling of the bamboo soothes and alleviates discomfort and leads to ease of movement. This massage is especially recommended for those who are gym regulars and for athletes as it helps to remove the accumulated stress and tension in the muscles. It also helps to reduce migraines, respiratory problems and insomnia.
The massage is highly recommended for those who are suffering from arthritic soreness, especially related to the neck and shoulders. The massage aids the functioning of the nervous system and improves the suppleness of joints. It helps to soften and smooth the skin. Bamboo extract is a powerhouse of silica which helps not only to keep the skin glowing and radiant but also in the healthy functioning of the bones and ligaments.