Enmasse Massage Concept
Health Spa in Cape Town
I’ve had some great massages in my lifetime, in countries all around the world, but surely a massage could not be that good?
When the founder of Enmasse Massage concept, Murray Von Hirschberg, promised to arrange a mind blowing experience for me, one that would be “something between floating in outer space and drifting into the bottom of the abyss; while having an adult lion tip toeing over your body”, I was instantly intrigued and slightly sceptical.
As I stepped into Enmasse, I was instantly greeted by their signature aromatic in the air, a blend of Cedarwood, French tarragon, Carrot See and Jasmine, the sound of Jack Johnson on his guitar and three smiling, peaceful people at the front desk. As I took in the high ceilings and walls both painted a dark, blue with slender, white columns of hanging lights forming a stark contrast, I already felt far away from the world, my desk and the traffic.
I gladly changed out of my work wear and donned the provided white, cotton ‘ninja’ outfit and flip flops. The polite staff explained that I should place my clothes in the suit bag and return it to the front desk along with my valuables to be placed in the locker. At the front desk a step-by-step guide is provided on how to wear the wide, comfy ‘fishermen’ pants for those who have never been to Thailand or owned a pair of these. Just to be clear, the How-To guide states that’ “it’s not that kind of party” and therefore all underwear and clothing needs to remain on and that all treatments are oil-free.
Enmasse is derived from En Masse(On Mas) which means together or as a group and I soon caught a glimpse of this as I followed my massage therapist, Hakeem, upstairs into a large room with many, small partitions where guests can get massages in a semi-private environment in the spirit of having a “shared energy”. So while you don’t have your own room, you do have your own white mattress, pillows and material ‘walls’ separating you from the next person. There is no need to worry about disturbance or noise as everyone whispers in here or doesn’t talk at all.
Before the massage commenced, Hakeem asked what amount of pressure I would like and how keen I am on stretching. I opted for medium pressure, lots of stretching (much needed after a hectic dance class) and highlighted an ankle sprain. That was the last time I opened my eyes for the next 60 minutes. From then on, nearly every single part of body was manoeuvred, massaged, pressurized in some way. The sensation went from a rolling pin on my hamstring, to slight pain when focus was on the knots in my back to a calming massage of my neck and head. There were times when my body was totally lifted off the ground with only my finger tips and feet touching the ground and others when my upper torso was being swung in gentle arcs. The beauty of Thai massage compared to an oil-based one is that therapist don’t only need to rely on their hands, but are able to utilise their elbows, knees, bodyweight and arms instead of just their hands.
I felt like a tight cloth that was being wrung out all whilst French, Latino and Norah Jones’ music wafted from the speakers with the occasional knees in my back, hands pulling my fingers and my tense muscles being released post-stretch. It was like yoga, only I didn’t have to put any effort into to it at all. Passive exercise and stretching at its most relaxing and best. I could get so used to this, in fact I already began to feel that I may not want go without this. At some point I ‘awoke’ from a bliss induced coma to find that I had to recall where I was and why there was a man massaging the skin between my fingers.
Ah yes, I thought, I was in Enmasse heaven, a place where people can gain membership for R620 per month for two 60 minute massages (or R1040 per month for 4 massages) of Thai, shiatsu, reflexology, foot massage or pregnancy massage. I drifted off into a semi-consciousness state again only to feel a warm cloth behind my neck to replace a pillow and a fluffy blanket being tucked around me. I was told I could relax there for as long as I wanted and then relax some more and enjoy tea downstairs. That was when my eyes first opened and I hoped I wouldn’t ever have to leave. The thought of sampling one of their 47 various tea blends was the only reason I decided to stand up.
I took advantage of the fact that guests are never rushed out of Enmasse and browsed through the list of green teas, fruit teas, black, chai, oolong and yerba mates while still covered in a blanket to keep warm post-massage. I wanted to try the lemon Caipirinhia, strawberry, cream caramel, chocolate chai, Cape Town nights and china gunpowder but in the end chose Turkish apple which took me straight back to Istanbul and its servings of apple tea in tiny glasses.
So from 8am to 10pm 7 days a week you can experience the unique concept which Murray envisioned of people being able to have regular massages at a non-expensive but relaxing, clean environment. Murray reminded me of what sushi was 20 years ago and how people in the Western World had fully embraced it now and likened it to the current wellness trend that people are latching onto. We have less time and now use in our money in short, sharp bursts. Instead of 4 month holidays we now have to resort to a weekend to try fully relaxing and releasing all our tension within 60 minute massages. I agreed and realised what a gem Enmasse really is. Any place that encourages me, in their guide booklet, to relax and sleep for as long as needed after I’ve already had a massage guarantees my return and my money spent escaping the madness for 60 minutes.
Lauren Manuel is a freelance Travel Writer based in Cape Town and has her own Travel Blog and you can follow her on Twitter @thetravelmanuel
Photographs by Craig Kolesky.
|Reviewer's Rating||★ ★ ★ ★ ★|
|Facilities||Treatment Rooms, Relaxation Room|
Last updated on 10-05-2012