The Treatment

A 90-minute Seriously Stretchy Summer Release deep-tissue Thai Massage with rolling acupressure and passive stretches at Knot Stressed Therapies Clinic (40-42 Montrose Terrace, Edinburgh, EH7 5DL, 07540 809 944,

This treatment is based on a foundation of Thai massage, with the practitioner using their hands, elbows, knees and feet to apply yoga-like stretches to the receiver’s body. These Thai techniques are complemented by acupressure, whereby clearing pressure is placed upon the body’s “meridians”, junctions through which life energy is considered to flow. Price: £50.


Why go?

Knot Stressed’s large team of experienced staff offer a range of therapies and workshops aimed at soothing all kinds and conditions of mind and body. There’s sports and remedial massage for athletes (and wannabes), those aimed at improving the lives of people living with chronic conditions, massage, hypnotherapy and reflexology for pre and post-natal mums, all alongside a plethora of the usual spa-style pampering.

If all that wasn’t enough, they also run classes in yoga, meditation and Qi Gong (an ancient Chinese movement art practice), plus counselling and hypnotherapy.

Thai massage
She’s taking the pain (no gain) with more grace than I could muster.

Our spy says

After a bruising bike ride that involved being blown off the side of a mountain still attached to my bike, I felt in deserving need of a visit to Knot Stressed. I was new to Thai massage and hadn’t realised that it doesn’t involve oils. Instead of stripping down I changed into a t-shirt and (the provided) loose-fitting Thai trousers, and lay back on the floor mat to wait.

My therapist was Juan Mases, who has two decades of experience in a variety of massage techniques. Whilst for the client Thai massage is a passive affair, for the practitioner it is anything but. Juan quickly got to work, starting at my feet and working his way up each leg towards my hips and lower back. He used his body to twist mine this way and that, gently but positively contorting me into various stretches.

Juan’s philosophy is to treat each massage like a conversation: he poses the client’s body various questions and listens carefully to the answers. From there he knows where next to steer it and which areas might need particular focus.

This conversational approach means that each treatment he provides is subtly unique. Some bodies aren’t as flexible as others, some have issues, strains and stresses that others don’t.

The process continued up to my arms and shoulders before I turned onto my stomach and it all began again. It was on Juan’s dealing with my back and shoulders that I most noticed the acupressure techniques being applied. His fingers found stressed and knotted spots, pressure was applied and the release delivered physical bliss.

The results

Despite having spent the 90 minutes lain on the floor, I felt like I’d undertaken an invigorating workout. Juan likens the experience to ‘yoga for lazy people’, except that a yoga movement can only stretch your body in one plain, whereby his Thai techniques allow your body to be moved in several directions at once, and further than your yogic ability might allow.

It’s normal to finish a massage feeling loosened off and relaxed. I didn’t expect to be so energised too, so good I felt ready to take on that bike ride again.

This article first appeared in The Scotsman magazine’s Spa Spy section.