Why you should have a massage in your lunchbreak

What are you doing at lunchtime? Sandwich at your desk while reading some idiot's ramblings? Microwaved soup in the "breakout area"? Heading down the pub? Or maybe something a bit more active such as a brisk walk around the block, a swim or a quick trip to the gym?

Or, you could go to a day spa and get a massage. I did recently, and it changed my day.

The bods in HR try their hardest to encourage good workplace posture but I'm sure most of us desk jockey-types spend half our lives hunched over a keyboard, and the other half uncurling. So anything that can help loosen up backs or shoulders has got to be good.  As does anything that causes you to step out of the work environment for an hour (or slightly longer, if you can get away with it).

A quick tram ride from my Melbourne-based office down to St Kilda and I was there - the Aurora Spa above the Prince of Wales.

First, slip out of clothes and into my bathers (fortunately I'd been forewarned about the paper undies they provide).

Robe and slightly undersized slippers duly donned, I was ready for a spot of massage. Or, more accurately, Aurora's signature Kitya Karnu "deeply relaxing, total body experience in your own private steam room".

 Aurora recently took over the running of the spas in the Qantas Lounge at Melbourne and Sydney airports, and has come up with some short treatments aimed at travellers. It also offers them at its St Kilda spa.

A week into an hour

Shorter massages could be the go if you can't be as flexible with the length of your lunch break as I was able. I opted for the fancy, slightly longer treatment, which I can highly recommend.

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"We try to condense a week away into an hour," says Aurora founder Lyndall Mitchell. 

It began with me face down, in the steam, inhaling aromatic oils. "It helps you switch off," Mitchell tells me later. And then salt rub, steam, massage and – happily – not a whole lot of chat.

"I try to get my therapists to keep interaction to a minimum," Mitchell says. "It helps you get taken away." At the end there's an "awakening" and you're "back in the room". And then a nice cup of tea to finish with. 

Spring in my step

I tripped out of there with an actual spring in my step. Even back at the office I felt untouched by the cares of work.

The lunchtime massage gets the thumbs-up from me. Whatever game you're in, you need time out to relax, and your body needs to have the kinks ironed out now and again. If you can swing it timewise, it's well worth it.

And it's part of a trend, Mitchell says, with more men "aware of what they're putting in to their bodies and of how they treat them". Good news all round.

Anecdotal evidence says more men are using spas to relax both after work and in their lunchtimes. There's not much hard data, but one bit of firm research does point to men becoming more willing to visit spas.  

According to a study earlier this year for the International Spa Association, men represent almost half (47 per cent) of the spa-going population in the US, up from 22 per cent in 2002.

So more men are using spas, and lots of places are offering it. A quick search (best not to Google-search "massage" in the office, I'd try "day spa" instead) should come up with somewhere close by that'll loosen you up and leave you with a smile on your face.

What do you do for yourself with your lunch hour? Would you consider a lunchtime visit to a day spa?

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