Getting to the heart of the problem needn’t be painful

Jean-Pierre Hartmann's Deep Tissue Massage in Cape Town


Nothing prepared me for the excruciating last 10km of my first marathon - my lungs were on the verge of collapse and my calves felt like there was an invisible force pulling them in directions they simply did not want to go. Surprisingly though, I experienced the greatest tension in my upper back, shoulders and neck. I've so far suffered a monumental case of Goldilocks syndrome when it comes to massages – some have been too soft whilst others have been positively yelp inducing but during a 60-minute session with deep tissue massage expert Jean-Pierre Hartmann my scepticism is met with something that is just right.

Jean-Pierre Hartmann has a wealth of experience in acclaimed spas and hotels and has trained with the London School of Sports Massage but when he acted as an assistant at Osho School of Creative Touch's annual deep tissue massage training he was enthralled by the profound effects on the body and decided to become a master of one massage rather than a jack of all. He opened a small studio in centrally based and minimalist Jai Yoga where the sunlight pours in.

A communicative and personal experience

I'm asked to take a seat in a gentle voice that feels like someone is fastening a necklace around my neck whilst Jean-Pierre prepares the room. The studio itself is low-lit, soothing and the massage table is the central focus. For me, music is an important element of massage that can make or break it and I'm delighted to be given a choice of meditative, calming and relaxing musical styles including nature, classical, drumming and electronic ambience.

After discussing my problem areas with Jean-Pierre I lie comfortably on the massage table and the sound of trickling water, pan pipes and tweeting birds begin to work their magic. He explains that he will be using cream instead of oil which is water based to hydrate the skin and aids traction for deep tissue massage. During the massage he concentrates on specific areas using strokes with the forearms, fists, elbows and thumbs. My muscles feel like they are being lengthened, tension is being broken down and the massage is deep without causing my body to tighten to withstand the pressure. In instances where I feel a slight pull Jean-Pierre asks me to breathe deeply to feel more at ease. We are in constant communication regarding pain levels and which strokes are effective.

The tension is gone, I am stress-free and feel like I have my motion mojo back

I'm not thrown back into reality before I'm ready and Jean-Pierre allows me to have a blissful snooze before I float out of the studio. The massage hasn't been painful rather Jean-Pierre has found an easy way around a back left ravaged by a marathon. He recommends two to three sessions spread out over two week intervals for long term effects.

Jean-Pierre also specialises in breath work (a deep diaphragmatic circular breathing pattern able to clear the subconscious mind), lomi lomi (a long, dynamic and flowing massage which originates from Hawaii and emulates the ebb and flow of the ocean) and rebalancing (another form of deep tissue massage).

Massage sessions are R320 for 60 minutes and R400 for 90 minutes. Contact Jean-Pierre Hartmann for more information +27 (0)74 195 1160.

By Lisa Nevitt

Take your foot off the accelerator and relax. Read our Spas and Wellness Section.

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