Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Hangover Massage: Bridging Another Information Gap
Sometimes I feel like I’ve given myself the spa-industry role of designated party pooper, the one spoiling all the fun of going to a spa by bringing up pesky questions like, Are we, the spa-goers, getting healthful, informed treatments? I’m always asking you to wonder if we are we at mercy of spa land’s tremendous growth spurt, a time when therapeutic advice and practices can feel inconsistent, as random as a flip of a coin.
Yet the more I talk to professionals who are overseeing the industry I realize that these are questions they are asking themselves, too, and that they are working towards a cohesiveness. I had an phone appointment to speak with Luisa Anderson, who is one of four senior Asia Pacific spa directors for the Four Seasons in the Maldives.
Coincidentally, a half hour before the interview into my email inbox appeared today’s recommendation from Daily Candy, a city guide to "new and undiscovered" stuff from restaurants to spas. Today’s installment announced Bliss Chicago’s hangover treatment. Here’s how it reads in part:
Spice up your hangover regime with a Hangover Herbie treatment at Bliss Spa. We promise it’s worth tearing your face off the toilet seat. It’s 105 minutes of ecstasy (which is more than you can say for the bartender). The magic word is detox, and you’ll get it from head to toe. First, you’ll be rubbed down and wrapped up in essential oils like lavender, bergamot lemon, thyme, peppermint, and eucalyptus. Next comes an intensive facial, minus extractions, to exfoliate, hydrate, and cleanse. For your pounding headache, you’ll revel in the antimigraine scalp massage. And while a mask sets in, there’s a fifteen-minute foot rub (hangovers hurt all over). In the end you’ll be watered down, beaming, and feel almost sober.
Hang on. When I was covering spas, a massage therapist I spoke with advised strongly against having a massage while hung over because manipulating the tissues can cause a resurgence of the toxins.
So what’s true?
Luisa says that some forms of massage are okay. Deep tissue can “mobilize the toxins out of the system so that they can more quickly excrete them from the body.” Is Hangover Herbie a deep tissue massage? They don’t say, but it doesn’t sound it to me. There’s a good question to ask next time you find yourself in a situation in which this detail matters.
Also, a massage while in a drunken state is never a good idea.