Time Out says
In their third year of existence, Hard Rock Hotel’s Rock Spa has added a new massage treatment to further promote blood circulation, untangle knots and ease stressed muscles. Aptly called Rhythm Sticks, it involves the use of various sizes of bamboo rods.
The question is, does it work? After an hour and a half of investigation, I conclude that on its own, it’s too mild for those old hands at receiving deep tissue massage or urut. However, when coupled with the capable hands of the spa’s masseuse, Amy, it goes beyond physical well-being – after being pummelled, kneaded and your stubborn knots coaxed into submission, a realigning of body, mind and soul does happen.
Starting with a warm feet wipe down while you’re face down on the massage bed, warm lavender-based oil is then slathered onto one leg and the journey begins. Gently and consistently, long strokes soothe aching calf and thigh muscles before replaced by a thick rod that’s firmly rolled upward along the length of your leg muscles right up to the buttock. This feeling is akin to a rolling pin rolling out unyielding dough.
Seamlessly, if you request for strong pressure, palms of hands then replace the rod to pummel stiff muscles further. After which, a gentle but no less effective pressing of pressure points on the sole of a foot with a smaller, pointy bamboo rod to release some tension. Then, a sarong covers the leg and it’s lightly beaten rhythmically with a bunch of thinner bamboo rods tied together from ankle to buttocks before this whole process is repeated for the other leg. Next, with the same strokes, your back, shoulders and arms are given the same attention before you’re asked to roll over to complete the massage.
Now, point here is, the rolling of bamboo seems to work best when rolled in between the deep curves of neck and shoulder and between thighs and buttocks – two areas prone to tension due to computer work and too much sitting down. Its smooth rolls seem to iron out kinks, temporarily relieving aches in those abused parts.
The aftermath of the mix between deep tissue massage, steady and firm rolls of a bamboo rod, pointy presses onto pressure points and light rhythmic beats of bamboo rods on to your body will achieve relaxation while light-headedness happens after a head massage – releasing (bad) thoughts (I’d like to believe). No matter how brief the relief, at least you’ll understand that it is no illusion and it is attainable.
Opt, as advised, to have the treatment in their open-air massage pavilion rather than in an air-conditioned suite. Why? Simply because the bamboo sticks will be at room temperature when they touch your skin and be the perfect complement to the warmed massage oil. A tip would be, do this treatment after a hard day’s work because deep sleep will inevitably follow suit.
Massages are from RM170+, facials are from RM180+ and scrubs are from RM260+. This Rhythm Sticks treatment is 90 minutes at RM280+. This spa ticks all the right boxes. It’s also perfect for families, parents can indulge in some me-time as there is are kids’ spa sessions available for children aged six to 12. Su Aziz
Hard Rock Hotel Penang, Jalan Batu Ferringhi, Batu Ferringhi, Penang.
Tel: +604 886 8071
Opening times: Daily, 9am-9pm
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