MASSAGE therapy is not just to pamper the privileged few – it’s as much a part of a healthy lifestyle as regular exercise and a balanced diet.
That’s the view of Cleuza Santos, whose Lirio Therapy company has been serving a wide customer base since 2005.
Cleuza, who trained and qualified both in her native Brazil and after arriving in Britain 12 years ago, says: “There’s a big difference in the attitudes to massage at home and in the UK.
“Here, it is seen as a luxury, or, at the bottom end, a service that has very little to do with actual massage therapy.
“In Brazil, when you arrive at an airport, the first thing you are offered is a massage – it is something that everybody makes use of.”
Whatever your line – or place – of work, massage therapy can help, as our jobs become ever more demanding and stressful.
Cleuza’s list of clients – and the diverse ways in which they earn a living – at her studio at the truGym in East Street, Bromley, are testament to the fact it’s not just A-listers who stand to reap the benefit of her skills.
“The most common type of customer is the office worker, who has a sedentary job – probably sitting at a computer all day – and one that involves a lot of stress,” explains Cleuza.
“I have a lot of clients from RBS, and am looking to expand my portfolio of mobile visits to different firms’ headquarters.
“It is in the interests of every employer to have a fit and healthy staff, and my view is that money spent by companies on treatments is more than repaid by having a workforce with vitality.
“But it’s not just the financial sector – my client list includes doctors, who work long hours from early morning to late at night, and government employees, too.”
Cleuza’s treatments – Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, Indian head massage, waxing, facial, laser lipo, manicure and pedicure – are not limited to white-collar workers.
“As part of my training, I studied anatomy and physiology, so I understand how the human body works,” adds Cleuza.
“The office involves stress, and tension is relieved by particular attention to the neck, back and shoulder.
“But, away from the office, other types of workers have problems that can be addressed by massage.
“For example, police officers work long physical days, as do builders.
“Muscles can become tight, and that affects a person’s circulation – by targeting those muscles and relaxing them, the blood flow is improved.
“Sports people are also regulars. I often deal with bodybuilders, who are in need of very strong massages – with use of the elbow! – and also triathletes, who use virtually ever muscle in their bodies as they swim, cycle and run.
“I also offer a visiting service to pregnant women, some of whom are dealing with a huge change in their bodies for the first time.”
All this means a seven-day week for Cleuza – from 10am to 8pm Monday to Friday, from 10am to 4pm on Saturday, and by appointment on Sunday.
It’s said that a healthy body is a healthy mind – and the reverse is also true.
“Most of the benefits of massage treatments are physical, but there is a mental and psychological side to them, too, because they are linked,” reveals Cleuza.
“For example, I had a client suffering from anxiety. The best way to treat this was to address their breathing – once that was improved, so was the condition of anxiety.
“I also have testimonials from clients who have contacted me feeling depressed, including a woman who was down as a result of marital problems.
“I gave her six treatments of massage, and received very positive feedback from her.”
Cleuza’s message is simple. If you move – or think – she has a way of helping you to do it better.