For many, the idea of a massage conjures visions of soft hands, gently kneading tired muscles while new age music plays in a candlelit room filled with the floral aroma of essential oil. In a word, most people think massages are relaxing.
That’s not always the case. Deep tissue massage involves the therapist applying firm pressure to reach deep layers of muscle. When this is done on sore or knotted muscles, “relaxing” isn’t the word most people would use to describe the sensation. However, deep tissue massages can provide much more therapeutic benefit than relaxing Swedish massages.
Anneka Greenway, the spa manager at Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa, says muscles are layered on top of each other and overlap.
“Some muscles are right on the surface and some are much deeper in your body, so with a deep tissue massage, your therapist will work not only with the superficial muscles, but also the layers of muscle found further beneath the surface.”
The so-called knots occur when a muscle is overworked, Greenway says.
“These days, we find ourselves working at a computer, driving, or holding our phones for prolonged periods of time,” she says. “This causes low-level constant contraction of several muscles, which then can form into knots. Deep tissue massage techniques are used to break up these knots, which can disrupt circulation and cause pain, limited range of motion and inflammation.”
Although deep tissue is not the kind of massage to choose for relaxation purposes, Greenway says they aren’t supposed to hurt.
“You may feel a little discomfort during a deep tissue massage, and maybe even feel a little sore the next day, but the overall benefits of a deep tissue massage make the slight discomfort worth it.”
Deep tissue massages can give relief to acute back pain, reduce chronic pain, provide stress relief, increase joint mobility and even lower blood pressure, Greenway says.
“It is also said to be one of the best treatments for fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis pain.”
Quartz Sand Massage Table
Not all deep tissue massages are created equal. Different therapists can offer different techniques and the facility at which the massage is given can have equipment that adds to the experience. The Spa at Seafire at Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa has a heated quartz sand bed on which massage treatments, including deep tissue massages, can be given. This table, which was manufactured in Germany, contains a bed of small pieces of quartz, which are heated and then covered with a clean sheet. The person receiving the massage lies directly on the sheet, feeling the benefits of the heated quartz on one side of the body while the therapist massages the other side of the body.
“Quartz is considered to be one of the most powerful healing crystals in the world,” says Greenway. “Enhancing your massage service by having it on our quartz table will generate a deeply affecting warmth that not only provides physical and mental relaxation, but also stimulates the metabolism and has a purifying effect.”
Quartz sand massage tables are rare, especially in North America. The quartz sand table at the Spa at Seafire is the only one in the Cayman Islands and there are less than two dozen in the entire United States. The table can be used for any of Spa at Seafire’s 60- to 90-minute massage treatments.
Spa at Seafire
Massages are just one of many treatments available at the Spa at Seafire. It also offers six different facial treatments, six different body treatments, four different head or hair treatments, make-up and waxing treatments, manicures and pedicures.
There is an “Abbreviated Moments” menu of treatments that are all 30 minutes long for those short on time. There is a menu of 14 treatments specifically inspired for men. There is also a menu of added luxuries like aromatherapy, warm stones and collagen boosts that can enhance massage or facial treatments.
The Spa at Seafire is spread out on 8,500 square feet of designed space that includes a relaxation lounge, a garden retreat, a large Jacuzzi and a Turkish hammam. There are five treatment rooms, a hair salon and four nail stations, two couples’ suites and men’s and women’s locker areas with steam rooms.