Anyone who’s experienced the ‘joys of pregnancy’ knows how misleading that term can be. At least, to my ‘woe is me, when’s the good bit coming?’ type of brain. Don’t get me wrong, pregnancy is an absolute miracle and I wouldn’t trade the gift of my incoming child for anything in the world. I’m just talking about the other bits… those little devils they call ‘details’! In my case, these are things like back pain, extreme fatigue, nosebleeds, gum bleeds, kankles, clumsiness, forgetfulness, sleeplessness, and needing to surgically attach myself to the toilet.
So, what is this whinger’s point? While pregnancy gives life to another body, it can often feel like it’s killing yours at the same time. I’ve never felt myself so physically tested and that’s before labour has even begun (not to mention the sleep deprivation). So, when anything in the way of luxury appears before me like a mirage in the desert, I tend to reach both hands out and claw at it with crazed third-trimestery eyes. This week, it was the chance to indulge in a prenatal full-body massage IN MY OWN HOME. Oh yes. All I had to do was drag my kankles from the couch to the door to let my lovely therapist in, and then lie down and receive nothing but pain relief and body rub goodness. This is when pregnancy becomes fun again.
My mirage was an at-home massage therapist living in Hong Kong named Sher Martelle-Climas (above, with her adorable daughter) who runs her own business called Touch HK. Sher (whose name is pronounced the same as the seatbelt-loving singer) simply emailed me to set up a time, explained a little bit about prenatal massage over email, and then showed up at my door bang on time. While Sher uses Facebook to connect with new clients and has her own website, mostly you just have to know she exists in order to make her magically appear. She finds most people through word-of-mouth and only does home visits. But the best bit is, she’s one of the few massage therapists in Hong Kong (to my knowledge) that has the fancy letters ‘R.M.T.’ after her name. These mean ‘registered massage therapist’, very different to just a ‘massage therapist’. A registered massage therapist means she had to complete two full years of medical training in her home country of Canada and is registered with the Canadian College of Massage Therapists. Translation: there’s no chance you’ll get a dinky massage with Sher.
Just ask my poor back (which feels more pregnant than my front right now) and it’ll shout the same thing from the rooftops after one hour with Sher. After working for ten years as a registered massage therapist in Canada and Hong Kong, Sher not only knows how to find exactly the right sore spots to manipulate, but she also has a comprehensive understanding of the human body. If you throw her just about any niggler or ailment, she’ll fire back some impressive medical jargon at you and then press something that makes you call things out like, “ahhhh” and “oh yes that’s it”!
This also isn’t one of those therapists who comes with a price list of specialties like ‘Swedish’, ‘Thai’, ‘reflexology’, etc. Sher offers a completely tailored massage to each client, so the price is generally fixed across the board for her 90-minute standard massage (heavily pregnant women close to delivery like me can only be massaged for around 60 minutes.) When she arrives, she’ll have a chat with you about your medical history and what’s bothering you at the moment, and will then cook up the best treatment for you on the spot. While I felt the massage was quite firm, if at any time it became painful, Sher was quick to release some pressure and make sure the experience was as enjoyable as it was therapeutic.
Admittedly, when I found out I was having an at-home massage, I had begun wondering whether to clear my bed, throw some towels in the wash or kick the dog off the sofa, but Sher brought her own folding table, oil and towels. The oil she uses depends on whether you’re pregnant or not, and if you have your own favourite oil, cocoa butter or body cream at home, she’s happy to use that in its place. In fact, I’m sure she wouldn’t be opposed to you whacking on your scratched Def Leppard CD if you really wanted – she’ll just fit with whatever makes you most comfortable in your own home. Sher’s prenatal massages are side-lying, which some people have trouble with but I personally LOVE, and before we began she asked if I could bring her my own pillow arrangement for sleeping to make myself as comfortable as possible on her massage table.
And, not meaning to pimp Sher out or anything, but you might even make a new friend if you sign up to one of her incredibly valuable bulk-purchase discounts and keep her coming back. She has a 17-month-old daughter who she loves talking about and is great for a chat. Although, if you want to fall asleep and let her hands do all the talking, I’m sure she won’t mind that too. After all, as soon as Sher quietly slips out the door, all you need to do is slip into bed. Did I mention the joys of pregnancy?!
SASSY MAMA DEAL: Sassy Mama readers get a special price of $1200 for their first at-home 90-minute massage with Sher. Simply mention SASSY MAMA when you book!
An at-home massage from Sher costs $1500 for 90 minutes. Pre-paid packages are five sessions for $6000 or ten for $10,000; packages are valid for a year and can be shared between your household.