What Exactly Does A 'Touchless' Sleep Massage Involve?
I'll be honest, I had no idea what a 'touchless' sleep massage involved before I went in for my treatment, which was called 'Spa Wave-Touchless Therapy' and took place at the Crown Spa Sydney, the only spa in the city offering this particularly unique massage.
Once I arrived, a lovely spa therapist filled me in on what to expect. Far from a traditional massage, I was told it was an oil-free, therapist-free treatment that fused the power of a state-of-the-art massage bed that produced high frequency vibrations matched to the body's chakra energy alongside binaural sound therapy. The combination of the two is said to reduce stress, improve concentration, balance mood and encourage sweet, sweet slumber.
Before The Spa Wave Sleep Support Massage
After I was briefed on what to expect from the massage, I was given the option of enjoying the spa's Aqua Retreat, which is complimentary for guests booked in for treatments of one hour or longer, or can be accessed by purchasing a pass. A serene space offering views of the Harbour as you relax and indulge, the Aqua Retreat boasts a spa, steam room, sauna and Swiss shower. While I didn't partake that day (unfortunately, I forgot my swimwear), it's definitely worth unwinding there if you have the time pre- or post-treatment.
That said, I did still have some time to kill before my massage, so the same spa therapist led me to the lounge, also located within the Aqua Retreat area. Although I was slightly miffed at myself for forgetting my swimmers and being unable to enjoy the Vitality Spa, the feeling quickly dissipated once I reclined on one of lounge's plush chaises, all of which are curtained off for privacy. The lighting was soft and dim, providing relief for my tired, computer-strained eyes, and one of the attendants brought me a cup of herbal tea while I rested. Heaven.
During The Spa Wave Sleep Support Massage
One cup of tea later, I was led into my treatment room to have my Spa Wave Touchless Therapy massage. The room, like the Aqua Retreat and lounge, was very relaxing and quiet, and in the centre, featured a contoured bed with what looked like light sensors, like in the picture below (note: this photo is not of the treatment room at the Crown Spa Sydney, just of the type of bed technology used in my treatment).
After I lay down, the lovely therapist helped ensure I was comfortable by adjusting the position of the bed, offering me an eye mask and setting me up with a pair of top notch headphones before leaving the room. Before starting the treatment, I removed my glasses and watch, to feel more unencumbered. The bed itself created the vibrations—which, without getting too 'lab coat', are set at a frequency that's been shown to alter your brainwaves to induce a state of relaxation—while the headphones delivered binaural sounds.
For the uninitiated, binaural sounds are a psychoacoustic phenomena that is perceived when two sounds with slightly different frequencies are applied separately via the left and right ear. This causes the brain to automatically generate a third frequency, resulting from the difference between the original two, which influences different frequency ranges in the brain to slow down mental activity and create a sense of calm (more on the science behind it, here).
Once I lay down and the vibrations and soothing music and nature sounds started their magic, I very quickly felt transported from all the realities of my daily life. I also noticed that the pulsations changed over the course of my thirty minute treatment, but throughout it, I felt my usually racing mind slow down—no small feat considering the stress I'd been feeling at the time and right up until the massage.
When the time was up, the attendant returned and gently let me know the treatment was over, and said I could take as much time as I needed to get up.
After The Massage
I wasn't sure if I was meant to fall asleep during the process (I did not), but I definitely felt calmer after I got up from the bed, and as though I was physically 'lighter', somehow. The feeling continued through to bedtime, and incidentally, I finally managed to get a restful night after days of tossing and turning.
My Final Verdict
While I can't be certain that the massage alone induced my night of rest (there are far too many variables to consider!), I'd absolutely have to give it credit for calming my mind during what was a very stressful period for me, which I believe played a significant role in helping me unwind and actually sleep that night. I'd even go so far as to say that relaxing in the dimmed lounge area with a tea, and the entire environment of the spa from the moment I walked in, also had a part in bringing me into a less anxious, more blissful head space.
My takeaway? The massage is absolutely worth a shot. While I didn't, I suspect many would fall asleep during the treatment itself, and even if your sleep doesn't change (or you don't even suffer from bad sleep), it's a very unique, soothing experience that's sure to inject some much-needed calm into your very busy day.
This writer was a guest of the Crown Spa Sydney, however the views and opinions presented are entirely her own.