I believe in pausing for sunsets, preferably on the sandy beaches of Polihale or Hanalei on Kauai. I believe in pinot noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon, preferably Lange Estate Winery & Vineyards. And I believe in massage--any kind. Deep-tissue. Lomilomi. Hot stone. And, now, shiatsu.
Travelers all know the age-old maxim: Never pass up a rest room. I tend to follow the same advice when it comes to massages. That's basically how I found myself at the new Shiatsu & Massage Center at Waikiki Beach Walk a couple weeks back.
Minutes earlier, I’d been sitting in a board room at Outrigger corporate offices in Waikiki watching a Powerpoint presentation on the latest trends in social media. A couple experts explained how social media is changing marketing. Instead of broadcasting information, businesses are now participating in the conversation. Instead of controlling the message, marketers have to give up control. They have to surrender to this thing called social media and become a participant.
A walk down Kalakaua Avenue, a left on Lewers Street, a quick ride up the escalator at the area’s newest retail center—Waikiki Beach Walk, also home to Roy’s Waikiki, Yard House and Hard Rock Cafe restaurants—and I found myself at Shiatsu & Massage Center right next door to, appropriately, Kaiwa Waikiki, a Japanese restaurant known for its fusion flavors of tradition and contemporary taste.
Shiatsu itself comes from Japan, and the word translates to English as shi, meaning finger, and atsu, meaning pressure. Shiatsu is known as a form of massage that works the pressure points in the body.
Shiatsu & Massage Center is a little different. It’s not a spa. It’s not about the private treatment rooms, the herbal steam, the sauna, the soaking tubs or facials, scrubs and wraps. For that, there’s owner Dennis Miller’s Spa Pure, a few blocks away at Courtyard by Marriott Waikiki Beach. Here, at Shiatsu & Massage Center, it’s all about massage.
The one-time retail store is partitioned into treatment rooms with silk drapery. An aerial view of the place would reveal something like a maze. This simple approach to massage means treatments are affordable here--$80 for one hour. In the heart of Waikiki, that’s what is called a bargain.
As soon as I slipped between the sheets on the massage table, I knew I would be happy. The table wasn’t just a foam-and-vinyl number covered with a sheet. It was more like a memory foam topper. I was snug as a bug in a bed.
I’ve always figured massage therapists can read my body like Braille. That’s why it’s so easy for them to find my knots and kinks, and Heather was no different. She discovered the shoulder thing I have going on. And the hip thing. The thigh thing. And the foot. As Heather worked on my body--I think she was pressing on the pressure points around my upper hamstring--I realized that massage is just like social media. For the best results, you must surrender control.
Owner Dennis Miller--not the comedian but a character just the same--opened Shiatsu & Massage Center and like the chef in the restaurant next door, his approach to massage could be called fusion, as well. For that matter, his entire life could be labeled fusion. He is a “master mixer” of his best gifts—a massage therapist, a yoga instructor and an entrepreneur. Whoever said massage therapy and entrepreneurship didn’t go hand in hand? Wait. Did anyone ever say that? I think what I mean is that Dennis doesn’t fit the profile. He is a go-getter. A businessman. And a calm, cool cucumber. He teaches yoga twice a day. In addition to Spa Pure and Shiatsu & Massage Center, Dennis owns Chocolate-Pineapple Sports-Yoga. (See what I mean about the fusion thing?)
Instead of feeling beat up when Heather finished with me—like I have with some other deep-tissue and sports-oriented massages—I left Shiatsu & Massage Center feeling like some of my muscles hand let go their white-knuckle grip and lengthened. Joints felt loosened. I wasn’t wiped out. I was just the right amount relaxed and re-energized. Just energized enough to walk across the street to The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and enjoy a relaxing cup of jasmine tea.