A korean masseuse’s massage technique has been dubbed a “holy grail” by a Canadian who said it was the best he’s ever had.
Korean massage was popularized by massage therapist and masseuse Tanya Park, who says she had to teach it to her own patients after the 1970s.
Park said she found her clients at home, using an ice bucket or ice bath.
She says she’s had more than a dozen patients who use it as a “gift” and says she knows from personal experience, that the massage technique is “an incredible gift.”
“It’s very relaxing and very powerful.
It’s not a ‘do-it-yourself’ kind of massage.
It doesn’t need to be,” she said.
Korea’s massage tradition dates back to the 1950s, when people would gather around a large, circular stone with a large sponge, called a kyuk, at the base of a mountain to massage each other.
Park says kyusta (miles of ice) and tandong (towels) were also used.
“People were doing this for about six or seven years,” Park said.
Park first found her way into the kyusu (massage) world when she was teaching Korean massage at a Korean hospital.
Kyustas are made of rice or rice flour and were first created by Japanese massage therapists in the 1950, but they have been gaining popularity in recent years, thanks to a rising tide of tourists.
Park, now a professor of kyung-yul (cultural healing) at the University of Toronto, said she had more students come to her clinic for her class of eight, where she also works as a masseuse.
Park says she began using the technique as a form of spiritual self-help after finding a massage therapist who helped her get better with her husband’s back pain.
Park said her clients were usually young, single, in their 30s and 40s, with families that were working or caring for their sick or elderly relatives.
“I think it’s a combination of things that are happening, like my family is busy with other things, so I can’t be everywhere at once,” Park told CBC News.
Park’s technique has since become popular in Canada, especially among younger women.
In 2012, Park received a call from a woman who had recently returned from Korea.
She was working at a restaurant and wanted to massage her boyfriend who had returned from Vietnam.
“She said, ‘Hey, I’m here in Canada.
I have a massage, I need your help with my back.’
And I said, you can do it for free, you don’t need a massage,” Park recalled.
Park explained that she used a sponge, a water basin, and a towel.
She said she then used a hot water brush to massage his back and taught him the technique.
“It wasn’t just a lot of water, I did this whole process over a few minutes and he got so good at it, he was like, ‘Oh, wow.
It really works,'” Park said of her massage.
Park also said she’s seen a spike in her clinic’s demand of Korean masseuses and has been overwhelmed with the demand.
“There’s just so many people wanting to come and have a kymung-gyeon massage,” she told CBC Toronto.
The Toronto massage therapist said the demand has led to some serious financial problems for her clinic.
“A lot of the clients are really struggling to pay the bills,” said the therapist, who asked to remain anonymous.
She estimates that it would take about $25,000 to run a kyrung-geom massage at the clinic for three months, which would be a lot less than what it costs to perform an average massage for one person, she said, adding that it’s very expensive for her to run.
“For one person that would probably be $50,000.
That’s not going to get me through a year or two, I’d probably be broke,” Park added.
Park told CBC that her patients are often very shy about having a physical exam, especially after they’ve had a massage.
Park explained that it can be a problem when people don’t want to look at the back of their body.
She also said it’s hard to find qualified massage therapists.
“They don’t have a lot in their own practice, so they’re not going out and looking for people.
So that’s really a challenge, to get people to get into their own private practice,” Park explained.
Park believes the rise in demand for kyuggyeon is a result of the economic downturn in Korea.
“In my experience, the demand for the kyruk is actually higher now than it was a couple of years ago,” she explained.
Park believes the lack of jobs for people who are not certified massage therapists is partly to blame for the rise of kymuggyeom.