Accommodation for courses and treatments

 

Fending off February's ills

The Daily Telegraph Chinese massage article pictureDaily Telegraph, February 6, 1996

This time of year is a low spot for most people - but remedies are at hand. Christine Doyle finds ways to stay fit.

SIMON BURROWES, 31, cannot imagine missing his monthly session of Body Harmonics, a newly' developed blend of Chinese, Thai and Indonesian massage, at the Hale Clinic in London.

Tuina, or Chinese massage, is like acupuncture, but without needles. The masseur pushes deeply into muscles, specifically the acupuncture points.

"I play a lot of sport, but have a rumbling shoulder injury from too many press-ups," Simon says. "I also have slightly dodgy knees from football."

To aggravate matters, his job in an artists' supplies shop involves heavy lifting. "I have been to many masseurs, but I find this technique pinpoints the tender spots and eases them without discomfort."

In spite of the widely accepted therapeutic benefits of massage, many people still shy away in embarrassment. Yet one session could work miracles on muscles knotted, for example, from being fixed rigidly before a computer screen. Massage triggers the release of endorphins, the body' natural opiates, so reducing the need for painkillers. 

Not least, say massage fans, it helps people to think through their worries and helps them to resist winter infections.

Body Harmonics, based in Cheltenham, was started by Maria Mercati, who lived in Indonesia for many years and later traveled widely in China and Thailand.

Thai techniques include stretching the body into a variety of yoga positions, such as the cobra, to ease lower back pain. "It sounds tough but in fact is very comfortable," Simon says.

Mrs. Mercati adds: "This type of massage is more forceful than many others. I see people come alive after it. They seem more sparkly."

>