There was a time when getting a massage was considered a taboo. Or at least, something that is frowned upon especially with sexual connotations historically associated to the trade and the act itself. Although the most common forms of massage techniques worldwide have acceptance and has earned recognition as scientific, ‘wholesome’ and professional in recent years, newer forms of tantric massage continue to suffer certain stigmas.
The most common and popular form of relaxing massage treatment, the Swedish massage, has become in fact a fundamental massage technique. It involves the combination of long smooth strokes, and a combination and alternating movements of kneading, rolling, lifting, wringing and soft small circular movements, tapping, and vibration movements. As a technique, it starts with softer broad general strokes which develop into more deliberate and firmer strokes in more specific parts of the body which creates gradually developing relaxing sensation. The use of lotion or powder helps provides smoother sensation while use essential oil and flower extracts involves the sense of smell and therefore extends the soothing effects of the treatment.
Rehabilitative massage treatments are also becoming popular in Singapore massage centers particularly among middle and higher age clients due to their potency for healing or relieving chronic tight or painful muscles, addresses strains, postural problems and other mild injuries. This form of massage still uses Swedish massage movements but one its variants, deep tissue massage uses more deliberate, slow and intense strokes to target muscle knots and other deeper layers of muscle and connective tissues while another variant, the hot massage involves the use of special items like smooth stones that are warmed and gently rubbed on specific parts of the body to relax and loosen tight muscles before the massage therapist works further on specific problem areas.
Although both Swedish and rehabilitative massages are now staple in massage centers in Singapore, erotic or sensual massage are just beginning to get a mass base. Known as tantric massage, these new techniques are actually based on higher principles of spiritual awakening and harnessing of sexual energy often based on Ancient Oriental doctrines and beliefs. But this is perhaps where the stigma starts.
For instance, in body to body massage, a common form of tantric massage in Singapore, therapists use natural curves of their body and direct contact between the therapist and the patient’s skin to stimulate sensitive senses and pressure points. Although it is supposed to provide an “almost spiritual experience”, its sensual dimension has made it provocative especially in more conservative countries. The intense intimacy between client and therapists, especially between different genders, also makes many people uncomfortable and they altogether avoid this awkward feeling which understandably takes away from the whole idea of being relaxed.
In more liberal cultures however, tantric massage has an added appeal precisely because of its oriental origins which renders it with an almost exotic character and therefore a promise of an altogether different cultural experience. The level of openness of more liberal cultures also makes physical intimacy a natural, even aspired level of connection. The spiritual connectedness of two individuals offered by tantric massages after all can provide a feeling of security and comfort that is physically relaxing and mentally calming as it allows shedding of physical and mental inhibitions.