Knife massage originated in China over 2,000 years ago. Legend says that monks in the Han and Tang Dynasties practiced a technique known as "knife treatments". These techniques were later introduced to Japan. A knife treatment session generally lasts 20-40 minutes, depending on the seriousness of the client's illness. It's important to remain perfectly still, making it unsuitable for children.
The therapist starts by preparing the cleavers on a wet stone and rubbing iodine over the blade. The therapist can use the sharp edge, blunt edge, or side of the cleaver to perform the massage. The trick is to bring down the cleaver with just the right amount of force and to not push or pull once the cleaver has contacted the skin. Knife massage is said to release static energy, increase blood flow, and wash away harmful toxins, leading to self-cure.
Developed by massage therapist Dorothy Stein, or Dr. Dot. The sessions start with Dorothy biting her clients backs and buttocks before rubbing lotion on the skin and moving to a more traditional massage. In Dorothy's own words: "I take big bites, obviously not firm enough to break skin, but firm and deep enough to grab and tenderize the back muscles, warming them up for the real rubdown that follows."
She first started at the age of 5 when her mother asked her to massage her back. Her hands weren't strong enough so her mom encouraged her to bite her for deeper pressure.
If you want to experience the bite massage, you might be out of luck. A disclaimer on Dr. Dot's website states: "No one on Dr. Dots whole team offers or does the Bite Massage. This is just a modality that Dr. Dot herself developed and does for close friends."
Face Slapping and Massage Boxing
Offered by Thai massage therapists Mawin and Tata New Series World located in San Francisco. Face slapping and massage boxing are not considered a part of traditional Thai massage. Less than 100 years old, this technique was developed by Kung Khemika Na Songkhla in Thailand. Mawin and Tata were 2 of 10 students to be taught this method of skincare slapping and boxing. The technique is said to increase circulation, unblock energy, and stimulate the anti-aging process. A 15 minute session costs $350 or 4 for $1,000.
Face Slapping Natural
Sure to make some people's skin crawl, this massage is offered in Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Israel, South Africa, Germany, and Russia. A combination of big and small snakes will slither across your body, squeezing your skin and muscles, hopefully to your relaxation. The snakes are washed and dried before each 15 minute session. Thankfully, the snakes have their mouths taped shut and are always well fed before going to work. The different sizes of snakes are able to achieve different intensities in pressure, in the same manner as your therapist would during a regular massage.
Fire therapy, also called "huo liao", originated in Tibet and has been practiced for hundreds of years. The therapy uses the same principles as acupuncture and fire cupping. It's believed to relieve stress, increase circulation and treat a range of medical conditions.
The technique involves placing a "fire rope" made out of 20 different Chinese herbs on the client's body. This rope is then covered by plastic wrap and wet towels to protect against the heat. The therapist will then pour alcohol on top and set it alight. Your therapist will stay close by with a wet towel to extinguish the flame if it becomes too hot. This procedure must be performed three times.
Fire therapy professionals stress the importance of the following safety procedures:
1. Fire must occur at the correct acupuncture point.
2. There must be a wet towel held by your therapist right next to the open fire.
3. Contact must be maintained with the client as all times.
4. Fire must be extinguished immediately if the client believes it's too hot.
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I've been a Licensed Massage Therapist since 2006. In my free time I enjoy hiking with my husband and dog. I also have a passion for cooking, baking and gardening.