Enhancing Massage's Therapeutic Benefits With Bamboo

Article via Skin Inc. Magazine by Elaine Sauer and Cassandra Stratton

Discovering new modalities in massage can be so invigorating because it is one of the world’s oldest forms of medicine, along with food, herbs, meditation and prayer. The Bamboo Fusion Massage is an innovative treatment that combines heat, natural tools and rhythmic massage movements to relax the body and rejuvenate the soul.


Growing in popularity worldwide, the Bamboo Fusion Massage uses heated bamboo shoots of varying sizes that glide deeply across the body, to relax soreness and promote mental and physical well-being. Created for clients who prefer a more intense massage, this treatment is ideal for both women and men because it strikes a balance between a deep tissue massage and a stress-reducing treatment. 

One version of the Bamboo Fusion Massage was created and designed by Nathalie Cecilia, who was born in the Provence region of southern France and graduated from the Sarasota School of Massage Therapy in Sarasota, Florida, in 2004, where she specialized in Thai massage therapy.

A petite woman, Cecilia was seeking innovative ways to improve the effectiveness of her deep tissue techniques. Her idea for the Bamboo Fusion Massage stemmed from the success of hot stone massages, which help to melt muscle tension, combined with her knowledge of Chinese, Indonesian and other Asian beliefs that hold bamboo as a symbol of life energy, prosperity, longevity and more.

By integrating heated bamboo stalks infused with oils into the experience, Cecilia was able to prolong her stamina for deep tissue massage and increase the benefits to her clients, who felt the advantages of a traditional deep tissue therapy, as well as a greater feeling of vitality, strength and youthful rejuvenation. In fact, in China, stalks of bamboo still symbolize eternal youth, strength, prosperity and peace.

The bamboo serves as an extension of the therapist’s hands, making the tools seamless to use. When offering heat therapy in massage, it induces the relaxation response more quickly, creating a faster reduction of stress and tension within the tissue. This, in turn, relieves tight, sore muscles more quickly, enabling clients to enjoy the relaxation response earlier during the massage, thereby providing them greater results for their time.

Using bamboo also allows therapists to provide a deeper massage without injuring themselves or causing repetitive injuries, such as carpal tunnel. The use of the bamboo sticks reduces the stress placed on thumbs and wrists, which can extend a therapist’s longevity in this industry. In addition to the traditional table massage, the Bamboo Fusion Massage can be effective during seated chair massages.


Bamboo Fusion Massage gives clients a deep sense of well-being and relaxation. It also helps skin become more supple and relieves tightness and tension while rejuvenating the body and mind. As with most massages, there are contrain­dications to consider, which include neuropathy, diabetes, high blood pressure, pregnancy, recent breast implants, fractures and dislocations. Also, clients who are taking medications that are affected by heat should avoid this service.

Marketing the experience

Although e-mail outreach and in-spa signage are musts when it comes to promoting this service, it is also crucial to focus on getting key influencers into your skin care facility for a complimentary Bamboo Fusion Massage so they can experience the unique service firsthand.

To launch the massage, consider hosting a special two-day event, inviting select guests and reporters to enjoy an exclusive, complimentary Bamboo Fusion experience. This type of event can achieve two important objectives: It will create word-of-mouth buzz among clients, and it will generate stories in trusted media sources, adding further credibility to that buzz and your facility’s other outreach efforts.

Finally, it is important that your team members remain focused on keeping that post-launch momentum going strong. This can be achieved by giving bamboo-themed gifts to VIPs for the holidays, continuing to schedule private Bamboo Fusion Massage experiences for the media, and using social media outlets, such as Facebook and Twitter, to spur conversations with clients about the service.


Elaine Sauer is a business and spa consultant, former corporate director of Mario Tricoci Salons and Day Spas, and a member of Skin Inc.magazine’s 2010–2011 advisory board.

Cassandra Stratton, corporate massage trainer for Mario Tricoci Hair Salons & Day Spas, is a licensed massage therapist with 11 years of spa industry experience. She has held both managerial and technical positions throughout her career, and has advanced training in table Thai, myofascial release, hydrotherapy, sports, chronic pain, lymph drainage, cancer and pregnancy massage. She is a guest lecturer at Cortiva Institute and Harper College in Illinois.