Like most people living in Jo’burg, you’ll know that Sandton is a hub for all things fashion, food and fitness. If anything is trending, it’s likely you’ll find it there first. So when I heard that South Africa’s first Tickle Spa had opened – it came as no surprise that you could find that in Sandton too.
Yes, you heard me, a tickle spa. The Tickle Spot is somewhere you can go and pay to be tickled. When I discovered this, I just couldn’t resist trying it out. The idea that there’s a professional place where you can go for tickle therapy intrigued me far too much to pass down the offer. As you can see, I’d written about how tickle therapy was becoming hot internationally, and now, here it is in Sandton.
Initially, I presumed that this would be a sort of fusion, light massage. So that morning, I decided not to wash my hair – as I just knew I would have to do it all again afterwards to get the massage oils out (the things girls have to think about). And, on arrival it really just looked like a standard, well-kept massage studio.
“What we do is very different to a massage,” said owner Elaine Ollewagen as I got into the dark, warm room and put my robe on.
Okay, so not quite what I was expecting. But to be fair, at this stage I had no idea what to expect.
“I believe that the most important aspect of what we are trying to achieve here is basic human connection. In this day and age, we are so much more isolated by our technology that we have become accustomed to not being touched,” she added.
So definitely not a fusion massage then. Right, let’s see what this actually entails…
As I lay on the bed, I felt my ‘tickler’ Megan approach me and greet me softly. To start off, she used an old school scalp massager on the back of my head to begin the tickling session. This device gives off an incredibly gentle, methodical stroking sensation that’ll always make the hairs on your back stand up.
So in all honesty, if you don’t like that feeling… you probably wouldn’t like tickle therapy much either. I however absolutely love that feeling.
Then slowly, I felt her hands touch my neck gently. They were firm, warm, soft and moved with purpose from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet. That light tickle/ light scratch/stroking sensation didn’t leave my body for the next 30 minutes. And I slowly began to smile as became more physically and emotionally relaxed.
The entire experience brought me straight back to when I was young, and my sister and I used to stroke/scratch/tickle each others back’s before bed to help each other fall asleep. Of course at that time there was a lot of bartering involved and each minute was accounted for. Then it finally dawned on me what Elaine meant by re-introducing human connection.
That half an hour went by much faster than I would have liked. And in actual fact, much better than I thought it would have as well.
Not only did I have the opportunity to try a very unique form of touch therapy that left me feeling invigorated, happy and centred. It was actually the perfect work-day treatment as well. Because there was no oil massaging involved, I didn’t have to shower afterwards or redo my hair and makeup (whew). I simply jumped right back into my clothes and got on with the rest of my day. And hoped no one would notice that I hadn’t washed my hair yet.
Now the question is, would I go back? Well, unless I can still barter with my sister to scratch my back for me… I definitely think so. Although this is one of the quirkiest idea’s I have heard of recently, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
This review was independent and not paid for or endorsed by The Tickle Spot – meaning I really liked it and no one paid me to.