A massage session at one of the most beautifully located spas in the country – I certainly didn't complain when my editor asked me to cover this one for Health24.
And so it was that, on a lazy Saturday afternoon and with my fiancé in tow, I set off to try out the Gingko Elixir Massage at The Spa Steenberg in Tokai.
What it is
The treatment combines various traditional body-touch techniques, including techniques characteristic of Swedish massage, lymphatic drainage, shiatsu, foot-reflex massage and deep-tissue manipulation.
What makes this massage particularly great is that aromatherapy oils are mixed according to your needs and mood.
Ultimately, the aim is to transform your body into a state of total renewal and relaxation.
What it felt like
Like most other full-body massages, the Gingko Elixir Massage also involved a lot of rubbing, pressing, gliding - and even some light slapping.
The treatment started with the legs and feet, after which the therapist gradually moved her way up towards my buttocks and back. On request, she spent some time here, working on those omnipresent knots while applying aromatherapy oils specifically aimed at easing muscle tension.
As a special treat, she proceeded to giving me a head-and-scalp massage. As I've never had this done before, I tried to pay a bit more attention (though at this stage, I'd already drifted off to sleep). Interestingly, she gathered my hair into a ponytail and tugged at it: this would normally have been a bit sore, but it actually felt marvellous. For the first time I realised that I also carried a bit of tension in the scalp region.
I was rolled over onto my back, and more pampering ensued. The most memorable part here was the chest rub, which involved the application of eucalyptus oil. This cleared my sinuses almost instantly and it felt wonderful to be able to breathe properly again.
My arms, hands, legs and feet got massaged some more, and it was with great reluctance that I eventually had to open my eyes as the session drew to a close.
Most massages done at professional spas are wonderfully relaxing. But this one had something more – perhaps it was the combination of oils used, or the add-on head-and-scalp massage. Either way, I'd definitely recommend it.
And ten out of ten for The Spa Steenberg, where I had the treatment done. The facilities were of impeccable standard and staff members were friendly and extremely professional.
For a 1-hour massage, expect to pay R390.
Where to get it
The Gingko Elixir Massage treatment is not only available at The Spa Steenberg (021 713 2222), but also at Arniston Spa Hotel (028 445 9000), Erinvale Estate Hotel & Spa outside Somerset West (021 847 1682), River Manor Boutique Hotel & Spa in Stellenbosch (021 887 9944), and Winchester Mansions Hotel in Sea Point (021 430 0218).