Are you dying for a massage, but put off by the greasy oils, having to undress and making an appointment in advance? Then the enmasse massage concept is for you.
I don't need much convincing to go for a massage - it's one of the most divine ways to unwind completely and forget about my daily stress. What I don't like, though, is having to make an appointment in advance, as I would like to be able to go on the spur of the moment, when I feel in need of some TLC and pampering - it's not something I can predict beforehand! The use of massage oils can also be a problem. Though I love the intoxicating scent, and the oils' aromatic properties definitely add to the experience, it means that I have to go home afterwards and have a shower first, before I can go on to my next appointment.
So, when I heard about the new enmasse massage concept, I got very excited. Finally the answer to my prayers - a no-appointments, no-oils, fully-clothed Thai massage in the heart of Cape Town!
When I arrived at the premises, I was pleasantly surprised to find free and secure parking. The moment I entered the enmasse massage building, another surprise waited for me: beautiful, calming navy blue and white surroundings with soft white lighting, a subtle blend of aromatics borne through the air, and a great choice of chilled music. It felt as if I had entered a completely different zone - suspended somewhere between heaven and earth. This great ambience helped to relax me immediately and to switch off from the outside world.
After a warm reception, I was handed a crisp white cotton shirt and loose-fitting Thai-style pants plus white flip-flops. I also received a coat hanger and suit bag to store my own clothing – especially handy to keep your suit crease-free should you go want to go for your massage in between meetings. My clothes and valuables were locked away safely and I followed my therapist Joanna to Thai massage heaven – a large open space with separate cubicles, which offer you perfect privacy, but which also have screens that could be opened up, should you want to enjoy a Thai massage with your partner, a group of friends or a group of colleagues as part of a unique teambuilding session.
So what exactly does a Thai massage entail? It is a deep-tissue massage combined with assisted yoga-like stretching. Therapists perform the treatment on a padded mat as opposed to a bed leveraging their body weight and using their hands, feet, knees and elbows to apply firm rhythmic pressure and to manipulate your body into various yoga-like positions. The stretching techniques affect the entire body, increasing flexibility, releasing both deep and superficial tension, and helping the body's natural energy flow more freely. The effects are similar to yoga, with the one big difference that you don’t have to do any of the work yourself - the therapist does it for you!
'The sushi of massage'
"enmasse is a unique massage concept which strives to make massage a regular way of life as opposed to an occasional luxury," explains enmasse owner Murray von Hirschberg. "Think of it as the sushi of massage. Initially it was an exotic treat but now it has become a part of our lifestyle while still retaining its authentic Eastern allure. Thai massage at enmasse is healthy, fulfilling, relaxing and above all convenient and 'served' in a unique, authentic and aesthetically appealing space."
After an hour of pure Thai massage bliss, I felt like a brand new person. I actually felt like I had a really good workout without any of the effort! My body felt toned and relaxed; and I was brimming with energy - a feeling which lasted for two to three days.
Following my treatment I was invited to relax on one of the sofas and to enjoy one of the 47 complimentary, therapeutic teas. With so many different teas to choose from (ranging from green teas and Ceylon teas to rooibos), I finally settled for a very refreshing apple-and-vanilla rooibos tea to round off my unique experience.