The Bliss team is always happy to take on any challenge, so when it was suggested that we go in search to understand how to enjoy massages in Saigon we were happy to oblige! We traveled around the sensory world of spas and compiled a rundown on the best advises given by masseuses working in Ho Chi Minh City.
It is almost impossible to visit or live in Vietnam without going through the traditional massage initiation available here in Saigon. Still based on ancient practices it is actually an easier process to locate a Spa than it is to locate a bakery in Europe. Whether it’s situated within a hotel or a specialized spa, invariably when you unfurl from a good massage session, you cannot help to feel balanced and happy. It’s undeniable that in Vietnam, the art of massaging was mastered, long ago. To optimize your massage experience here are the insights that were delivered to us by masseuses that we interviewed.
Evening or morning?
Some people feel invigorated after a massage, and therefore prefer to receive it early in the day, others prefer to go in the evening to eliminate the stress of the day and experience a deep restful sleep. Before you go think about what makes sense to you and trust your instincts!
Forget the coffee after a massage
If you book an early-morning massage session, be sure to drink your morning coffee before, and not after your massage. Did you know that drinking caffeine after a massage can stretch the muscles you have just worked on so it is better to drink a herbal tea or water instead.
Avoid eating prior to your massage
A complete meal prior to a massage is not advised because a massage stimulates the digestion. It’s better to eat one to two hours before indulging in your session.
Hydration, hydration, hydration!
Ensure that you are hydrated before your massage and then drink plenty of water afterwards. Stressed muscles cause inflammation and toxin buildup that can prevent essential nutrients and oxygen from reaching where they need to go, contributing to pain and stress. A massage releases the accumulated toxins, helps your blood and oxygen to circulates better and the water helps to eliminate the toxins released. However, avoid drinking just before the massage if you want to avoid a toilet break!
Drinking or getting a massage – choose one!
Avoid mixing alcohol and massaging! Even if you have been drinking in the previous 24-hour period, we would recommend to delay the massage. A massage session helps to stimulate the blood flow so the toxins will intensify the alcohol’s negative effects.
Let’s face it, it can be intimidating to be naked on a massage table. Masseuses of course are exposed to nudity all day every day. To wear some undergarments may interfere with a massage. In Vietnam, Spas will often provide paper/ disposable underwear so as to avoid oil spots on your own underwear. Anyway, with or without, a good masseuse will always keep you covered with a towel and will only expose the area to be massaged.
The hot shower
You will be told that the most relaxing way to get ready for a massage is to get a hot shower before. This is mostly true. Certainly, you will be less tense and the masseuse will appreciate your cleanliness for obvious reasons. But a hot shower is not such a good idea because this can increase blood circulation and increase sweat production during the session.
Before or after a workout?
In general, going to play sport after a massage is not a good idea. You may be too tired, hurt yourself or simply lose your motivation after being so relaxed. It is best to have a massage after a workout. If you have a deep massage, then wait 24 hours before doing any sport. Indeed, deep work can create micro tears in the same way as an intense workout can. Muscles need time to recover.
There is nothing worse than to leave a spa unhappy. The masseuses cannot read your mind so do not hesitate to indicate to them at the beginning of the session, or during the session the type of pressure you prefer (soft, average, strong) and to indicate the parts of the body they have to insist or not to touch. They actually appreciate it.
Avoid the massage if …
You have sunburn or you have a contagious disease (for more than obvious reasons).
In case of allergy
If you are allergic to certain oils, lotions, etc. do not hesitate to bring your products, spa in Vietnam are generally ok with that.
Oh là là!
Don’t be afraid if a masseuse massages your butt and hips. In Asia, it is quite common and it will release many tensions kept there. However, if you do not like it, don’t be afraid to mention it.
With or without pain
You may experience slight pain during a massage, but relaxation is the key. If the massage is too hard, the muscle tightens, creates more pain and can lead to muscle contusion and other damage. So, again, do not hesitate to let your masseuse know if something is wrong.
Remember to breathe
When a masseuse works on a point of the body that is a little bit blocked, the tendency is to contract muscles and to stop to breath. This is an error as it’s actually important to breathe well in order to oxygenate the blood and relax the muscles.
Yes, you can sleep!
One of the greatest compliments for a masseur is the sound of snoring during a massage session.
With your husband or with friends, you can have a duo massage in the privacy of a cabin. The practice is widespread in Vietnam and you can enjoy it for the same price. Enjoy your relaxation near your loved one.
Does a massage session a year help?
It is best to get massages regularly. Indeed, a massage releases endorphins that have their own healing capabilities. All muscular pains can never completely disappear because the body moves constantly, but massages practiced regularly and in the long term, relax, reduce stress, resolve muscle injuries and can refine the silhouette.
Tip, or no tip
Remember, in Vietnam, a tip is usually expected at the end of the session. Very often, that’s the only salary a masseuse receives.