Having a massage back in London was a once-in-a-blue-moon indulgence… or pretty much a non-existent indulgence, such are the prices you have to pay over there! Here in Hong Kong however, you could have a massage three times a week if you fancy, especially when you can get a foot massage for as cheaply as $98 a pop (though I cannot guarantee the environment will be anything but ghetto!). Nevertheless, a casual foot or body massage is no substitute for proper manipulation of your muscles, tissues and joints if you have an unresolved back condition, neck pain, joint problems or repeatedly sore muscles.
If you are in need of something a little more targeted than your local Happy Foot, then you might wanna check out Central Healing – a newly opened centre in Central with a team of trained osteopaths and a massage therapist among their ranks. As experts in natural pain relief, the osteopaths work on relieving a number of ailments through manual therapy and exercise rehabilitation; meanwhile, their registered massage therapist, Justin Mifsud (formerly of The Sutherland-Chan Centre), works in conjunction with them using a range of massage therapy techniques and his knowledge of anatomy to treat your neck and back pain, sciatica or other conditions that our generation is plagued by from hectic living and long office hours spent in front of the computer.
When I reached Central Healing after one such long day at work, it was lovely to be greeted by Justin and welcomed into their smart, but not overly clinical workspace. Justin was friendly and warm and after our initial chit-chat, assessed me by evaluating my hip alignment and posture and discussing my health history. As someone who has suffered a serious back problem in the past (I slipped a disc a few years back), massage therapy has always piqued my interest. Even after physiotherapy and an almost complete recovery, I have often experienced slight discomfort when sitting for prolonged periods of time and I also felt that one side of my back seemed weaker than the other. Normal massages around my old injury make me slightly nervous but Justin’s professionalism and thorough knowledge of human musculature and joints quickly put me at ease.
After settling onto Central Healing’s comfy but not too luxurious bed (remember, this is not a spa!), Justin explained what he was going to do; throughout the whole treatment, he explained which area he was working on and what he thought the problem was or what he had detected. What was amazing about my session was how swiftly Justin was able to hone in on areas of inflexibility and tension that I frankly never even knew I was suffering from! Without my prompting, he was able to identify the problems I had from my injury and confirm my suspicions about what my slipped disc has subsequently caused over the years. Though the massage was at times painful, it was a welcome pain that told me that I was going to feel relief and experience greater flexibility afterwards.
Time flew by, and before I knew it our session was over. Initially my muscles were a little sore, but the next day my back and hips felt the loosest they have ever been since my injury and I could feel a marked difference around my hips.
I was deeply impressed by Justin’s therapy and I definitely have confidence that anyone who has chronic back problems or any muscular or joint issues would benefit from seeing him in conjunction with Central Healing’s team of osteopaths. I know that should my discomfort flare up again, I will be back with Justin in a jiffy!
A 60-minute massage therapy session costs $900 and a 90-minute massage $1300
Central Healing, 16/F, The Workst@tion, 43 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, Hong Kong, 3426 3460; closed Sundays
Check out more foodie adventures from Michelle on her blog, Chopstixfix!