What is a Deep Recovery Massage? I had one to find out


Even if you get regular massages, a ‘Deep Recovery Massage’ can sound a little daunting – so imagine how it feels for a first-timer. We sent 28-year-old writer MIKE DOMAN to endota spa for his first ever massage to see if it could start to undo the effects of years of office work and a few weekends at the snow.

I’d never had a massage before. The reason why is a little weird: I was never sure how undressed I was supposed to get. That’s been the primary barrier for three decades – I didn’t want to be the guy that gets too undressed or not undressed enough. I now realise that’s ridiculous.

At endota spa, it wasn’t a problem. When I arrived, I finally pushed through the peril of that innocuous question to find you actually get to request how much they tell you. There’s an option on the form at the start that says, “How much information do you want to know?” and you get to choose between “very little”, “some” or “a lot”. I chose “a lot”.

I spend most of my day in a seat. I know that’s bad. I manage a team of great people, but there’s a lot of them, so stress comes up a lot. A rudimentary analysis of my emails reveals that, on average, 163 emails hit my inbox every day. Heading into the massage, I wanted to get to the bottom of why my back is tense, my neck’s sore and why sometimes I don’t sleep well. I’d also just returned from my fourth snowboarding trip in as many weekends, and I was so sore on the last day, my mates practically carried me to the car.

Having a weight on your back feels very nice. They start by placing a warm jade stone on your lower back that “grounds you” during the massage. I’m not sure exactly what that means. I didn’t ask, either, but it felt great. I didn’t know that someone putting a weight on your lower back could feel so awesome, and now I do.

I never knew I needed a back scrub. I had an arnica, peppermint and clove endota spa scrub applied to my back. While this was happening, I remember thinking that I needed to buy “whatever this magic sand is”, so I bought some on the way out. Additionally, having never experienced hot stones, I now think that having someone rub hot rocks on sore parts of your body in a safe environment is something everyone should try at least once.

Day spas smell like paradise. There are oils everywhere, and – once you’re done – they give you a piece of cardboard with essential oils on it to take home. The card even has a quote on it to motivate you (“’I am the greatest.’ I said that even before I knew I was.” – Muhammed Ali).

A professional massage is not the same as your partner rubbing your back. Unless your partner is a massage therapist, in which case: go you. After the massage, I got a debrief that made me feel like they’d been following me around, observing my life for a week. They highlighted all the things I do that I think are fine, but are probably hurting my body – like sitting almost horizontal on an office chair.

I now know what having a normal back feels like. It turns out my back’s been in a bit of a bad shape from years of poor form, but the experts at endota spa explained what I need to do to fix it (and what treatment I can get next time so it’s a bit more tailored). My legs, neck and shoulders – which were aching after snowboarding – felt like they were brand new again. I also got some recommendations about how to fix my posture. The best part is that next time, I know exactly how undressed to get (down to your jocks, no more, no less).


endota spa is a partner of AIA Vitality, the health and wellbeing program available to members of myOwn health insurance that rewards you for looking after your health. AIA Vitality members can purchase four discounted endota spa treatment vouchers online each membership year. The discount is based on your AIA Vitality Status, with Platinum members receiving a 50% discount.