‘Oasis for the Soul’
Health benefits of a regular massage therapy, tips when looking for a spa, and other treatments you should try
BY MYLENE C. ORILLO
While I know that getting a massage can relax, soothe aches and pains, I never took it seriously until one therapist noticed how stiff my muscles are at the upper and lower back.
Admittedly, I’ve been experiencing severe back pains and slight headaches lately, probably due to hunching over my desk for hours, sitting through a long drive every day, and not getting enough exercise.
So I told her I’d go back to running, but she discouraged and advised me to treat my back pains first because running would only worsen my stiff muscles and overtime, it would limit my range of motion and I could get a surgery.
I’m a ticklish person so I’m always hesitant to try a whole body massage. For the first two times I tried it, I really broke into giggles and laughter, disrupting my session every now and then.
But when I got used to it eventually, I felt more relaxed, and would nap throughout the session only to be awaken by the therapist who would say, “Ma’m, it’s time to flip over.” or “Ma’m, we’re done!”
Benefits of massage
Having a massage once or twice a week for the time being is ideal. The therapist also suggested that instead of running, I should try aerobic conditioning, stretching, and strengthening to help heal my upper and lower back pains.
Researches show that massage is not only an effective method of treatment for chronic back pain, it can also “counteract the imbalance caused from sitting”. That’s good news because sitting is really inevitable with my job. Now I can keep my job as long as I get regular massage.
Also, massage therapy relieves stress, encourages relaxation, improves posture, improves blood circulation, lowers blood pressure, relaxes muscles, improves flexibility and range of motion, and many others.
While most people can benefit from a massage, not everyone does especially those who have medical conditions (e.g. bleeding disorders, fractures, burns, etc.). It’s important to consult a doctor if you have cancer, you’re pregnant, or unexplained pain.
Therapist and the ambiance
When I look for a spa, I always consider two factors: Therapists and the ambiance.
Massage spas are everywhere now from shopping malls to private clinics so one has to make sure that the therapists are trained professionally, licensed, and completed required training hours for our own safety.
In North Carolina, U.S.A., a massage therapist is required to have a minimum of 500 hours of education and should pass the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Exam before a license will be issued.
Here in the Philippines, massage therapists, even the visually impaired, take massage therapy licensure examination and undergo rigorous review and training.
The examination consists of different modules namely Anatomy and Physiology, Microbiology and Pathology, Fundamental Concepts of Massage Therapy, Application and Practice of Massage Therapy.
Ambiance is also a huge plus factor when looking for a spa. It should look, feel, and smell good. The staffs are accommodating, welcoming, and of course, knowledgeable; and the rooms are spacious, secured, safe, dimly lit, and there’s a relaxing piped in music.
Recently, I visited Le Spa in Sofitel Manila to try one of its signature massages. During my visit, the staffs made me try Filipino Pride, an hour massage that relieves muscle tension and energizes the body with this invigorating combination of Swedish, Shiatsu, Thai, and reflexology massage, because it’s what my body needed at the moment.
What especially impressed me about Le Spa is its elegant interiors of modern natural elements such as Philippine shell, dark wood and natural accents. Its modern facilities ensure the most luxurious spa experience with its lounge, dry and wet sauna, nine treatment suites that include a duo suite with a very spacious bath tub, and a spa suite with a state-of-the-art Trautwein Crystal Bath and sundeck overlooking the glistening Manila Bay.
Le Spa is a wellness sanctuary that takes guests on a sensuous journey of well-being and takes pride in its unique French touch while using exclusive signature treatments and pampering body rituals. At Le Spa, worldwide ancient traditions meet the refinement and skill of the latest in French cosmetology.
Le Spa’s signature treatments
Le Spa also offers local favorites such as Hilot Secret, ancient Filipino art of healing that lets you experience total mind and body sensation with virgin coconut oil and soothing heat of aromatic banana leaves.
But if you don’t feel like having a massage, you can try Le Spa’s signature body scrubs. Feel the combined benefits of natural skin-lightening calamansi, papaya body scrub, and mineral-rich volcano clay body-wrap through Mayon Wrapsody and gently exfoliate your skin using one of the Philippines’ most popular tropical fruits – mango with Mango
Tips and tricks
If you haven’t tried having a massage or body scrub even once in your lifetime, I suggest you try it because you are missing a lot, big time! And if you’ve tried it once, try doing it regularly. The health benefits outweigh the costs anyway and it’s for your own good – truly an oasis for the soul.
Le Spa therapists are professionally trained by French beauty experts and certified by the Philippine Department of Health. If you don’t have an idea on what try for the first time, ask them, I’m sure they’ll suggest something you won’t regret and would certainly come back for more.
Talk about world-class and French elegance
Sofitel is the only French luxury hotel brand with a presence on five continents with 120 addresses, in almost 40 countries (more than 30,000 rooms).
Sofitel offers contemporary hotels and resorts adapted to today’s more demanding and more versatile consumers who expect and appreciate beauty, quality and excellence.
Whether situated in the heart of a major city like Paris, London, New York, Shanghai or Beijing, or nestled away in a country landscape in Morocco, Egypt, French Polynesia or Thailand, each Sofitel property offers a genuine experience of the French “art de vivre”.
For more information and inquiries, visit www.sofitelmanila.com, email: H6308-SM2@sofitel.com, or call: 551-5555 loc. 1935.