Each of our healing therapies has massage at its core. Our aim is to bring you back to physical and emotional balance, relieve stress, soothe sore muscles, awaken your senses and restore your wellbeing. Massage therapy is thought to have sacred origins, developing as important facets of ancient civilisations including Egypt, China, India, Greece and Rome before spreading to the rest of the world.
At Shakinah, we offer massage treatments inspired by various cultures and adapted into our own unique healing experiences. The physical and emotional benefits of massage are many. The simple act of touch triggers the release of feel-good hormone, oxytocin, and can instil a sense of calm, better clarity and perspective.
Massage helps mobilise joints, release tight muscles and fascia, and balance the nervous, circulatory and lymphatic systems. Massage has a cumulative effect, with regular massage helping to keep you youthful, supple and energised.
Hot Stones/Pohaku Massage
The art of healing through hot stones has been practised by many cultures for millennia. While its origins are unclear, we know the ancient Chinese used heated stones to improve the function of the internal organs and relieve muscular pain. The Japanese used hot stones to warm their abdomens to aid digestion. Native Americans used them in sweat lodge ceremonies to aid relaxation and relieve cramps. Ancient Egyptian, Middle East, Indian and Hawaiian cultures also adopted the practice. The Hawaiians give the massage their own flavour, combining hot stones with traditional, flowing lomi lomi moves to create pohaku wela massage. The technique derives its name from pohaku, meaning rock or stone and wela, meaning hot.
Volcanic stones, like basalt, are most commonly used in hot stone massage. Originating from Mother Earth’s core, these rocks are cleansed and smoothed over time by river currents and other natural forces. Rich in iron and other minerals, they are known to absorb and retain heat, making them a beneficial accompaniment to massage.
The heat from the stones penetrates deep into your muscles, helping them relax 5 times quicker than in a standard body massage – dissolving tension and nurturing your soul with their comforting warmth. Coupled with soothing, sweeping strokes and uplifting aromatherapy oils, a hot stone massage works on the lymphatic and nervous systems to rid the body of toxins and improve circulation, while promoting deep relaxation, mental and emotional harmony and rejuvenation.
Lomi Lomi/Kahuna Massage
Traditional Hawaiian massage, also known as lomi lomi, kahuna or temple style massage, was a rite of passage in the Polynesian culture, with practitioners selected as children to become ‘kahunas’ – or masters – of the healing art. A kahuna is a keeper of secrets and their knowledge was carefully guarded, remaining mysterious. Adept in ancient universal principles, kahunas knew special ways to release and unblock energy flowing the body so that physical, mental, emotional and spiritual healing could take place.
Lomi lomi means to rub, to work in and out. It is also known as ‘loving hands’ massage because of the sincere intention that underpins the technique. During massage, lomi lomi healers would use prayer, breathing and intentions of forgiveness, gratitude, humility and unconditional love, to connect with the recipient through touch, healing and restoring their wellbeing.
Lomi lomi blends energy balancing and remedial deep tissue work. Using a series of intuitive continuous, flowing strokes, practitioners massage with palms, fingers, knuckles, forearms, even knees and feet.
Lomi lomi is a truly powerful, transformational experience, balancing the body and mind while healing emotionally and spiritually. True Lomi Lomi heals on an emotional level, helping relieve stress, anxiety and fear. It is also deeply relaxing, detoxifying and rejuvenating. It fortifies the immune system, stimulates the lymphatic, circulatory, respiratory and digestive systems, while releasing muscle tension, improving flexibility and muscle tone.
Lomi Lomi/kahuna massage is not just a therapy, it is a way of life.
Crystal Chakra Alignment Massage
Many ancient cultures have used crystals for both healing and ornamental purposes. Sumerians incorporated them in magic formulas around the 4th millennium BC, while the Chinese have used crystals in their traditional medicine for at least 5000 years. Ancient Egyptians made jewellery from lapis lazuli, turquoise, carnelian, emerald and clear quartz, also using some stones for protection and health.
Britain’s Druids knew that wearing crystals over certain acupuncture points aided the free flow of physical and psychic energies. In America, the Mayans and Incans used crystals in their statues and jewellery, as well as for ritual and divinatory practices, while Hopi Indian healers used crystals to detect ill health.
Indigenous Australian shamans used quartz crystals to bring on rain, communicate with spirit beings and cure ailments. Similarly, New Zealand’s Maoris wear green jade and serpentine pendants to represent their ancestor spirits.
According to crystal healer and teacher, Mark Kenny, the healing benefits of crystals are due to their structural similarity to our bodies. The microscopic geometric structure of some crystals resembles that of the crystalline fluid found in our glands and lymphatic system. This geometric ‘match’ sets up a vibrational frequency resonance between certain crystals and specific parts of our body when a crystal is held near. The body takes in this frequency like a food source and in this way, imbalances and instability in the body can heal.
Quartz is the most powerful energy amplifier of all crystals, due to its helical spiral form. It readily absorbs, releases, regulates and unblocks energy as needed, working on all levels of being. It can support the immune system and bring the body back to balance.
Crystals are especially effective in helping balance the chakras – not only the most well-known chakras from crown to root, but those in the hands and feet and those that extend beyond our physical bodies – over 360 in total. And it’s this healing combination that we bring to this exquisite ritual.
Bamboo Massage Ritual
The history of bamboo massage is not so well known, but its use for massage is thought to have originated in south east Asia.
Long before paper was invented the Chinese and monks in the Buddhist temples recorded their history on thin slivers of bamboo.
Bamboo is considered one of the most versatile plants on earth, earning this reputation from its holistic properties and soft appearance.
Bamboo was such an important part of daily life that it naturally was used in creative and spiritual expression, including rituals and healing practices. It has also become one of the most coveted beauty ingredients in recent times.
Bamboo massage is an innovative deep tissue technique, with warmed bamboo rods used in place of, or along with, the therapist’s hands. The stalks are used to roll and knead the tissues to promote deep relaxation, working on all levels to balance your wellbeing.
Like most massage, bamboo massage increases circulation, helps flush toxins from the body, promotes relaxation and relieves muscle pain and stiffness and alleviates tension and stress. This powerful preventative therapy provides relief from modern day stress and many physical and emotional problems.
Bamboo is also known to improve the texture of your skin. The silica from bamboo extract helps your body absorb essential minerals such as potassium, calcium and magnesium. Its anti-irritant properties soothe your skin when applied directly in creams, lotions and oil. Silica is essential for healthy skin and hair and can alleviate eczema and psoriasis. Bamboo extract also contains antioxidants to combat the free radicals that can cause wrinkles.
Herbal Compress Ball Massage
Long before recorded history, ancient cultures used plants and herbs for medicinal purposes. The early Egyptians and Chinese described herbs and their healing properties in papyrus writings. Indigenous Australian, American and African peoples incorporated therapeutic herbs into their rituals, as did Middle Eastern cultures. Traditional Chinese Medicine and Indian Ayurvedic systems are based on using herbs as medicine.
The use of heated herbal compresses in massage has its origins in Thailand, where for centuries dried herbs encased in fabric poultices were commonly used on soldiers after battle to treat their inflamed wounds and injuries.
Massage with herbal compresses has many benefits: depending on the herbs used, it can promote relaxation and detoxification, soothe aching muscles and stiff joints, while reducing inflammation and swelling through the medicinal properties of the specific herbs. The warmed compresses nurture your being, and their fragrance invigorates your senses.
Conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, pulled and sprained muscles and ligaments, migraines and chronic stress are particularly eased. Some herbs cleanse and heal the skin while inhaling other blends can aid upper respiratory ailments such as bronchitis, asthma, and the common cold.
Traditional ingredients used in herbal compresses are camphor, lemongrass, eucalyptus, kaffir lime, ginger, galangal, tamarind and turmeric.
More than just a massage, this is a truly holistic, active treatment experience that benefits your mind, body, soul and spirit.
Himalayan Salt Glow Massage
In prehistoric times, a large sea called the Tethys Ocean once flowed where the Himalayan mountain range now exists between Pakistan, Tibet and Nepal. This ocean became so shallow it deposited layers of salt that dried, forming thick salt flats which were then buried under sediment and rock – it is from these salt flats that we source Himalayan salt.
According to Himalayan salt expert, Mark Kenny, no other mineral has been more revered than salt. Its healing properties were better understood by ancient cultures, which used the mineral as a food preservative and to heal bodily ailments and clean wounds. Regarded as a protector and energy clearer, salt was thought to raise vibration and clear the mind, and was used in rituals to dislodge foreign energies from people and locations. Salt’s geometry stabilises human biological geometry, which enhances health on every anatomical and emotional level.
Using warmed salt rocks, in massage, offers unique benefits. The moist heat of the salt stones melts stiff muscle fascia, soothing inflamed muscles and joints. The salt stones have an exfoliant action when massaged into the skin, leaving it smooth and glowing, while moisturising and plumping its superficial layers.
Salt, when moistened, also creates evaporate that helps ionise the air, clearing and detoxifying it. And a salt crystal has a magnetic field which is enhanced by heat. So salt lamps also have unique healing properties – by ionising the air, electrolytes are released, which can help relieve breathing problems.
Drawing on the ionising, alkalising properties of Himalayan salt crystals, Shakinah’s Himalayan Salt Glow Massage stimulates blood circulation and toxin elimination, eases inflammation and uplifts your mind, body, spirit and soul.
Woronora Black Rock Ritual
Shakinah’s Woronora Black Rock Ritual Massage draws inspiration from the ancient history of our spa’s secluded natural location. Woronora is derived from a word meaning “black rock” in the language of the region’s indigenous Dharawal people, and refers to the rocks in the pristine river that courses through the area.
This ritual is influenced by ‘Swedish’, or classic relaxation massage, a technique first developed in the 1800s. A gentle, highly versatile therapy, relaxation massage incorporates a range of smooth, gliding and rhythmic strokes that release muscle tension and relax the mind while restoring wellbeing.
Relaxation massage relieves muscle pain, stiffness and stress, improving circulation, promoting lymphatic drainage and immunity, and clarifying skin tone. It helps lower blood pressure and enhances gastrointestinal function.
Soothe Your Secret Self
The first written records of massage come from ancient China, around 2700BCE and Egypt circa 2500BCE, with both cultures discovering and developing its healing benefits. Massage was also widely practised in Greek and Roman cultures; it also formed a great part of Indian Ayurvedic treatments and was an important part of Polynesian culture. The word ‘massage’ is thought to have its roots in the Greek word massein, meaning “to knead” or the Arabic massa; “to press softly”.
Massage’s popularity waned in the Middle Ages, but was revived around the mid-16th century in Europe. By the early 1800s, the science of therapeutic massage evolved, with Swedish professor, Pehr Henrik Ling credited as developing a massage therapy that became known as Swedish massage and which forms the basis of the modern-day classic massage style.
Remedial massage techniques grew out of this classic massage therapy. A targeted treatment for the whole body and being, remedial massage aims to find and treat the cause of an ailment, not just the symptoms, for immediate and lasting healing benefits. Going beyond relaxation, its primary focus is on helping injured muscles and joints recover.
Similar to deep tissue massage, remedial massage uses firm pressure and trigger point techniques to locate and release knots in muscles, and repair dysfunction in soft tissues, nerves and joints. It stimulates circulation, helping the body remove toxins, while relieving, restoring mobility and allowing the body to repair.
Remedial massage is ideal for sport or work-related injuries, and it alleviates chronic conditions such as sciatica, back and neck pain, fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis. With proven medical benefits, doctors sometimes prescribe regular remedial massage for physical ailments, as well as anxiety and depression.
Elevate Your Senses
Essential oils are incredibly powerful healing gifts from the plant kingdom, and humans have been using their therapeutic properties for millennia. Depictions in prehistoric cave paintings from around 18,000 BCE show people using plants to heal. By 4,500 BCE, ancient Egyptians were distilling essential oils for use in daily life.
India’s Ayurvedic practices have used essential oils since around 3,000 BCE, and the ancient Chinese were using them in herbal medicine between 2,697-2597 BCE, with many of these blends still used in modern Traditional Chinese Medicine.
The Bible mentions the use of fir, cedarwood, frankincense and myrrh for religious practices. And in Greek and Roman societies, essential oils were an integral part of massage, bathing and medicine.
Persian physician, Ali-Ibn Sana, commonly known as Avicenna, catalogued the healing properties of around 800 plants. He is also credited as the first person to develop and document distillation methods for essential oils that are still used today.
Native Americans have long used arnica to treat bruises, while Indigenous Australians knew the healing properties of tea tree, lemon myrtle and eucalyptus.
The crusades brought essential oils from Arabia to Europe during the Dark Ages. And in 1653, English herbalist and physician, Nicholas Culpeper published his book, The Complete Herbal, detailin herbal remedies for various ailments.
French chemist, René-Maurice Gattefossé first coined the term, “aromatherapie” in the early 1900s, and his 1928 book of the same name details the healing properties of essential oils. The well-known Art of Aromatherapy by Robert Tisserand, published around 1978, is translated from Dr Jean Valnet’s 1960’s French work, Aromatherapie: The Treatment of Illness with the Essence of Plants. Tisserand’s book brought the art and science of aromatherapy into the mainstream.
It’s only relatively recently that the potent healing properties of plants and essential oils have become a widespread, scientifically verified and valuable form of holistic therapy.
Scent is such a powerful vehicle of healing and transformation. It can evoke memories and influence mood. Essential oils work on many levels at once: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. Their healing properties are both subtle and profound.
Applied to the skin, essential oils are easily absorbed and enter the bloodstream, where they can circulate for up to 24 hours. When inhaled, some of the oil molecules enter the lungs, while others reach the brain. From the lungs, the oil molecules circulate through the bloodstream, as with skin absorption. But in the brain, the molecules have a profound, immediate effect – influencing emotions, memories and to an extent, glandular function.
A word of caution: Some oils are so potent they should only be used by a qualified aromatherapist. And oils such as basil, jasmine, clary sage and rosemary are unsafe for pregnant women. You should always consult a professional about which essential oils are safe during pregnancy.
Rejuvenating Head Massage
Most modern head massage draws on ancient Ayurvedic healing practices and Indian family traditions. Also known as champissage, head massage has been practised in India for around 5000 years. In fact, the word ‘shampoo’ comes from the Hindi word champi, meaning “massage of the head”.
Indian women are thought to have developed the tradition as a form of family bonding and a beauty treatment to promote lustrous, healthy hair. By stimulating blood flow to the scalp through massage, hair condition was enhanced with seasonal oils such as coconut, sesame, mustard, almond and olive, along with buttermilk and various herbal mixtures.
Over time, the practice incorporated massage of the face, scalp, neck, upper back, shoulders and upper arms. Today, many hairdressers include elements of Indian head massage in their services.
If you’ve ever had a head massage, you know how sublime an experience it is. And aside from the sheer bliss it can instil, there are many therapeutic benefits. Massage of the head and neck relieves muscle tension and improves neck and upper body mobility. Blood flow to the area is improved, increasing essential oxygen and nutrients supply to cells. Lymphatic drainage aids the removal of waste and toxins. Massaging the face and scalp relieves sinus congestion, eyestrain, headaches and facial tension.
Head massage works on the crown, brow and throat chakras, balancing them and clearing any blockages. Overthinking and mental tension are eased, along with stress and anxiety, encouraging clear, calm thinking and improved memory and concentration. Head massage also alleviates insomnia and imparts a lasting sense of peace and tranquillity.
A foundation of Ayurvedic medicine are the body’s vital points, where flesh, blood vessels, bones and joints meet. Known as marma points, they respond to massage and manipulation much like acupressure points. And the head has the highest concentration, with 37 of the body’s 107 marma points found there. Stimulating these sites through massage can help heal the corresponding internal organs and bodily systems.
Revitalising Foot Therapy
Foot massage has long been practised for its therapeutic benefits as much as for its indulgent effects. The Chinese have practised therapeutic foot massage for around 5000 years. In fact, a 4000-year-old Chinese medical textbook describes the pressure point concepts on which acupuncture and reflexology are based. Ancient Egyptian tomb paintings from around 2330 BC depict therapeutic foot massage, alongside other medical procedures.
Indian Vedic traditions from around 5000 years ago incorporated foot massage, as did native American cultures, who used foot reflex therapy for diagnosing and healing ailments. Other Asian cultures such as Thai, Japanese and Korean also developed their own versions of foot massage therapies.
In reflexology theory, the foot contains reflex points that correspond to every gland and organ of the body. In effect, the foot is a map of the body and certain points can be massaged to improve energy flow and function to the corresponding body part.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the body’s vast network of meridians (energy channels) surface at various points on the skin, called acupoints. The feet hold many acupoints and by manipulating these, Qi flow can be unblocked, restoring balance to the body.
Working on certain points on the feet can help relieve stress, promote restful sleep, increase circulation and bolster your immune system. Water retention and puffiness are reduced as the lymphatic system is stimulated. In this way, massaging the feet can affect your whole being, promoting overall healing and relaxation of the body and mind.
Facials have been an integral beauty treatment since the time of Cleopatra, when it’s said she favoured a mud mask of black asphalt from the banks of the Dead Sea, an exfoliating scrub with Dead Sea salts and an essential oil facial massage. Milk and honey were also used by ancient Egyptians to soften the skin, which was moisturised with olive, sesame and almond oils scented with essences of frankincense, myrrh, thyme, marjoram, rosemary, chamomile, peppermint, cedar and rose.
By the Victorian era, women were using sugar scrubs and masks made from crushed strawberries.
Along with the products used, an effective facial treatment includes massage to provide maximum benefits for the skin and the facial muscles. Many people hold tension in their jaw and brow and a good face massage can bring relief, free up any stiffness and even ease headaches, relaxing and ‘opening’ the face for a calmer expression that you can see!
Face massage aids detoxification and lymphatic drainage, reducing inflammation and swelling. Skin cell turnover slows down with age, and regular face massage helps cells turn over faster, also increasing blood and oxygen flow, for a clearer complexion, more refined skin tone, plumping of fine lines and glowing skin. Facial massage also stimulates the production of the skin’s support structure, collagen, for firm, supple, more elastic skin.
Timeless Facial Rapture