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There are few things more relaxing than a massage on a yacht sailing through calm seas, so it’s no surprise that massage therapy is extremely popular amongst both guests and crew.
Whether you’re a superyacht stew looking to train in a new profession, or an experienced masseuse looking to break into the industry, Yachting Pages explores what it’s like to work in massage therapy on a superyacht with help from the experts, Blue Tree Massage and Relax Massage.
When working as a masseuse on a superyacht, “The welcoming procedure and attention to clients is the same as in a luxury spa”, according to Isabelle of Relax Massage. Whether on land or out at sea, your core role remains the same: to help guests and crew relax and forget all their aches, pains and stresses.
Space is a common issue on board superyachts, and one you may often encounter as a masseuse. While large superyachts may have entire areas dedicated to massage therapy and relaxation, others offer limited space with enough room for a table; or you may just want to go mobile, and offer treatments to guests on demand.
Another key difference between working on board a superyacht and on land at a spa is that massage therapists are often more in demand on a superyacht; for example if a masseuse has been booked on to a charter for a few days, they may find themselves busier than usual, as guests and crew may want repeat massages.
As Roel from Blue Tree Massage explains, “For the guests it is great having a professional masseur on board who is at their service. There is no waiting for bookings to be confirmed or trying to find a good therapist available at the last minute.”
Whilst the procedure for a masseuse is essentially the same wherever you are, you can make a point of adapting to your new surroundings and offer more personalised treatments.
For example as Isabelle points out, problems specifically related to being out at sea include “overexposure to the sun” and “skin dryness caused by the salt water and wind”, therefore “moisturising treatments are most suitable for long stays out at sea”.
As described above, both guests and crew will often request massages after a long day on board and for guests, a massage is part of their experience on board and helps them to unwind. Popular treatments for guests and crew include deep-tissue massages, and treatments designed to be anti-stress and anti-fatigue, with a focus on the back, neck and shoulders.
“The stress and aches from work and lifestyle are highly underestimated, and a massage does wonders for those who suffer from these symptoms”, says Roel.
The length of time a massage therapist will stay on a superyacht all depends on both the company you work for and its policy. For example, Relax Massage offers permanent stays on board superyachts, whereas Blue Tree Massage offers daily and full-week bookings.
As Roel explains, “The longer the stay on board, the more convenient it is for both the guests and the massage therapist. For the guests it is great having a professional masseur on board who is at their service the entire day; a guest can also have several treatments during their stay.”
Some superyacht crew are trained to offer massages as an additional service, but with the amount of tasks crew already undertake and the expected standards across all superyacht services, the alternative choice of a professional masseuse is really a no-brainer.
Another advantage of hiring a professional therapist on board is that it gives both crew and guests a chance to relax and rejuvenate in the hands of a specialist who can cater to every ache and pain. “A therapist has extensive, in-depth training of anatomy and physiology”, says Isabelle, “Therefore a particular ‘touch’, skill and sensitivity is required which not everyone masters.”
Roel also emphasises the importance of hiring a professional masseuse, “I believe we all have our specialities and are trained for a specific job. A successful masseur has given many massages so has lots of experience, and almost all are trained in several different techniques, which gives the guests a wider range of choices.”
In terms of what it takes to be a masseuse, punctuality, hygiene, and professionalism must all be of the highest standards. It’s also vital to be flexible, available to meet a guest’s needs at a moment’s notice, whether that’s a full-body massage in the spa, or a fantastic foot massage by the pool. As Isabelle re-iterates, “The realm of superyachts is and must remain one which is highly professional.”
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