For me, one of the best bits about booking a day or a stay at a spa is reading the glossy book of excitement called the Treatment Menu. On which, you may find something called a Bamboo Massage.
‘I wonder what that is,’ you might be asking. ‘If only I knew a brave blogger who likes having odd treatments who could explain.’…
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What Is Bamboo Massage?
“Why did you choose this one?’ asked my therapist when I booked my bamboo massage – obviously expecting a sensible answer like ‘I have terrible knots in my back’ or ‘I run and so I need you to stretch out my leg muscles.’
The answer she wasn’t expecting was ‘because it’s bonkers and I haven’t had a bonkers massage since I got hit with a hammer in Chang Mai.’
If she could have reversed quietly from the treatment room I think she would have. You see, the Bamboo Massage gets its name because, in a nutshell, you’re being rubbed with a piece of bamboo cane.
It’s a full-body massage but works best on flat areas upon which the therapist can roll said stick up and down. They do work on your back, but, in my session at least, more time was spent on the thighs, calves and arms.
Most of the movements use rolling, but they do dig the stick in occasionally to loosen knotted bits (especially during the short section where they work on your back) and there were a few moments where you get thwacked with the bamboo sticks to liven things up a bit.
Bamboo Massage Benefits
So, what’s a bamboo massage actually going to do for you.
The action of the bamboo massage sticks rolling up and down the muscles stretches them and causing the muscles to lengthen and relax. This helps reduce muscle tension.
The stimulation also increases blood flow to the areas being massaged. And while it’s not specifically a lymphatic massage it will help release any build-up of fluids or metabolic waste in the area.
Some spas offer a version called warm bamboo massage where the sticks are gently heated before use – this helps relax the muscles further and would also enhance any circulation-boosting effects.
Where Did Bamboo Massage Originate?
I was wondering if there was any traditional element to Bamboo Massage, it sounds like it’s something that should have originated in Asia, but it seems that actually it was created by a therapist working in the US called Natalie Cecilia.
Cecilia started getting pain in her hand and wrists doing deep tissue massage. She started using the bamboo to take the pressure off – and her clients loved it. Ta da – a new treatment was born.
What Do You Wear?
Just normal underwear, or bikini bottoms. A towel is placed over the bits of you they aren’t currently working on to keep you warm and also preserve any modesty.
Does Bamboo Massage Hurt?
I didn’t find it a comfy process. Bamboo massage is a deep tissue massage and with little fat and a lot of muscle in the areas being worked on, the massage is quite deep and things really get stretched and pulled, but as a runner who doesn’t stretch as much as I should it did leave me feeling much looser.
To be honest, if I had been choosing sensibly the Bamboo Massage would not have been the best choice for me as I need more work on my upper body – plus I find having my legs massaged quite uncomfortable.
As such, it wasn’t a relaxing massage, but it was a good therapeutic one.
I wouldn’t pick it if it’s your first massage or if your tension is more in your upper body but for sporty folk, it might make a better choice than something simple like an aromatherapy massage – plus it gives you something far more interesting to talk about over dinner that night!
UK Spas That Offer Bamboo Massage
But where can I get a bamboo massage near me? – you’re asking. I had my massage at one of the Champney’s Spas, but I can’t see it on their current treatment menu. At I write this in August 2020 though, you could find bamboo massage at the following UK spas…
The Grovesnor Pulford Hotel and Spa, Cheshire.
Located close to Chester this spa has gorgeous gardens including the Asian Sensory Garden complete with koi pond to relax in. Spa wise you’ll find steam, sauna, Jacuzzi and a hamman to relax. Check out prices for stays or the day spa here.
Aqua Sana Spas, around the country
This set of spas located inside Centre Parcs offer bamboo massage. Check your location for booking and prices. See more here.
If you’re looking to book a stay at Champneys or even just to visit for the day click to visit the Spabreaks website which offers deals from all the Champneys spas around the UK – and lots of others as well usually much cheaper than booking direct with the spa.
Bannatyne Spas, around the country
47 of the Bannatyne Spas around the country offer Bamboo Massage among their treatments – I also notice some of them do a chocolate massage which is probably a post in itself!! Click here to find the location nearest to you and see if it’s on offer.
You can book direct or, you might also want to check the spabreaks site to see if they have any deals as they work with the Bannatyne range.
Lifehouse Spa, Essex
Located in Thorpe Le Soken, this is what I call a ‘spoil yourself spa’ – so you can combine healthy food, body-boosting treatments and cocktails! Have a look at what’s on offer here.
Other Local Spas
If you’re looking for a day spa or beauty salon that offers bamboo massage, you’ll find a brilliant list on the Treatwell site. You’ll also see all the prices, get special offers and can also book your appointment directly from the site which makes everything VERY easy. I love this site!
Can you Buy Your Own Bamboo Massage Kit?
You can – although you do need a willing volunteer to do the massage on you! If you have one of those though, you can check out a kit here.
If you want to learn how to do bamboo massage, you’ll find courses at the London School of Massage.
Who is The Wellness Nerd?
My name is Helen Foster and I’m a health journalist and wellness author. Publications I’ve written for include Women’s Health, Reader’s Digest, Body and Soul, Good Health at the Daily Mail and more. I have also written 16 books on health and nutrition.