Due to its fast rate of growth and exceptional versatility, bamboo is fast becoming one of the most popular natural resources available today. Not only is it used in construction and flooring, it’s also used to produce natural textiles and paper – and now it’s being incorporated in spa treatments as well.
Bamboo fusion massage is a new modality, created in 2004 by French masseuse Nathalie Cecilia, and now available in Cayman at A Touch of Thai.
Although bamboo is most commonly associated with Asian cultures, bamboo fusion originated in the United States. It came about in response to a common problem that massage therapists experience: pain and fatigue in the hands and wrists, especially when performing deep tissue treatments.
Cecilia began using cylindrical pieces of bamboo to assist in deep tissue work and soon noticed the pain she felt subsided while her clients loved the sensation and added pressure it created. And so bamboo fusion was born.
Performed in the same way as a regular Swedish or deep tissue massage, the massage therapist uses a variety of hand-crafted bamboo pieces of differing lengths, which are coated with rice to prevent them irritating the skin. The bamboo is rolled along muscles and pressed into the areas of tension.
The larger 16-inch cylinders are used to deliver long, soothing strokes along the back and thighs, and moved in a crisscross action to stretch the fascia. The shorter pieces, cut lengthways through the middle, fit snugly into the palm of the therapist’s hand and work well in specific areas, such as the scapula and on hands and feet. At times the ends of the bamboo pieces are pressed into problems areas.
Cecilia has developed her own set of techniques, based on Swedish and deep tissue massage, for use with bamboo. The bamboo pieces act as an extension of the hand, making light work of applying greater pressure, and therefore reducing the risk of injury for therapists.
For the recipient of the massage, the sensation is deliciously comforting and relaxing as the bamboo cylinders are warmed prior to application and the transferred heat relaxes muscles. Because bamboo retains heat well, the warm sensation lasts throughout the treatment.
If you’re looking to address knotted muscles and areas of tension, bamboo fusion is for you. The sensation of the warm bamboo being rolled along the back of the thighs and over the soles of the feet is exquisite. Some areas are, of course, more sensitive than others, and those without much in the way of “padding” between bones and skin may require lighter pressure in certain areas.
For those who may be uncomfortable with a therapist working on areas such as the inner thighs, the use of bamboo removes direct contact, resulting in a less intrusive experience, and for clients with a lot of body hair, it can prevent the pulling sensation that may accompany a more hands-on massage.
Bamboo has always been associated with Asian cultures, and it is fitting that this unique and exotic massage modality should now be offered at Cayman’s only Asian-inspired spa.