Many bloggers have been raving about the fairly new Enmasse massage resulting in my wanting to try it out. When my friend Hasmita who blogs at Jozilicious decided to host a pamper session here, I was super keen and invited my mum to join me.
The concept of Enmasse is to incorporate massage as a way of life instead of just a luxury. Enmasse is derived from EN MASSE meaning together or as a group. The set up easily allows you to experience a massage with a group of friends or family.
Enmasse is situated in the popular Illovo Junction. Private parking is offered but quite difficult to figure out where exactly it is. I parked across the road where you pay the rip off price of R20. Finding parking in the evening may prove to be a problem because of the number of restaurants in this area.
The experience starts of earlier in the day when you receive an SMS reminding you of your massage and directions. On arrival you fill in your details and sign an indemnity form. We were given havianas, cotton pants and shirt to change into. A suit bag is provided to keep your clothes which prevents the usual creasing of ones clothes. I thought this was a nice touch and something I have not seen before. Valuable items can be stored in the lockers. Despite my shoe size being asked I was given a pair of havianas that was at least two sizes too small.
I loved the decor and ambience. The rich blue wall colours and neon lights were quite different to any spa I have been too. The massage area looks like what you would expect a spaceship to look like, a beautiful one at that. One doesn’t have to worry about people prying on you as the massage is done fully clothed. Even though the space consists of open cubicles it still manages to be a private space. You would be surprised to find that the music played is quite upbeat and different to the soothing instrumental music you hear at spas. I actually preferred this and the music went well with the more hands on Thai massage.
Thai massages are done fully clothed without the use of oil. The great thing about this is you could get a massage at any time of the day and none would know! It also eliminates the problem of having to wash your hair straight afterwards because of the oil used. Be warned that this is not however a typical relaxing massage. Expect to be pulled, stretched and kneaded in ways you didn’t think was possible. Thai masseuses use not just their hands and fingers but their feet and elbows as well to massage you.My therapist first asked me if there were any areas that needed attention. My back was then worked on whilst I sat upright. Next whilst lying down she massaged the back of my legs using her fists. The majority of the time was then spent massaging my back. This was the first massage I have been to where I experienced discomfort and pain that made me wish the massage was over as soon as it began.
The therapist used her elbow to dig into my back. Despite mentioning it was too painful the same technique was used with the same pressure on both sides of my back. I felt that the technique used did not feel right. It was rough and shoddy movements were applied. Most of the massage was either using a thumb to apply pressure in a rough circular movement or using an elbow to apply long strokes. The focus seemed on applying hard pressure vs applying the right technique.
For me a massage represents the release of energy from one to another. The movement should be continuous and feel natural. My massage felt disjointed and rough. I have been to Thai massages before and this is the first time I have had a negative experience.To end off my feet were wiped with a warm cloth, a balm was applied and feet massaged. I liked this as often the feet are ignored. The massage was only 50 min long and my hands, shoulders; arms and front of my legs did not get massaged. The experience felt incomplete and rather unsatisfying.
You can rest or sleep in your massage cubicle before proceeding to the tea area. Filtered water or 47 blends of tea are on offer to help you rehydrate. I chose a chocolate chai and my mother chose a hot cross bun tea. Both of these teas were rooibos teas and brewed for 8 min. We received our little pots of tea with a timer to indicate when the tea would be fully brewed. The flavour is brought out in the aroma of the tea and the tastes were very similar. The teas are available for purchase.
The massage costs R400 which is good value for money. You can choose from a Thai massage, shiatsu, reflexology, Thai foot massage or pregnancy massage and opt for either 60, 90 or 120 minutes duration. Membership specials offering discounted rates and vouchers for gifts are also available. Should you request exceptional pressure for your massage this will be charged at R50 which is paid to the therapist.
Enmasse is open every day from 8am to 10pm which is really cool as you can easily fit in a massage after work or really anytime you feel like it. I loved everything about Enmasse except my actual massage. I didn’t feel like I had a massage, my back was bruised and hurt and overall it was not a pleasant for me. My experience is obviously just based on the particular therapist that did my massage. The technique was definitely not an authentic Thai massage. I would rather pay less for an enjoyable authentic Thai massage in a not so lavish setting than an unsatisfactory massage in a beautiful place.
Thai & Chai,