SHAKING off the unwanted stereotypes, a centuries-old treatment is proving a unique hit at the hands of one of Cheshire’s most experienced masseuses.

Gary Lucas’ Nuad Thai Massage is one of a number of treatments offered at Sanctuary@21 on Manchester Road in Northwich, where he opened for business last year.

However, the Nuad method is the Pickmere resident’s pride and joy, having lived, trained and worked in Thailand for six months at Wat Po Temple, the repository for all medical knowledge in the country.

“It’s been around for thousands of years as a method,” says Gary. “In Thailand they use this massage alongside their health system.

“I went to Thailand specifically to train in Thai massage – it was a very intense training process, but a great experience.

“One of the worst problems is the connotations, it’s similar to Amsterdam. It’s a beautiful city and Thailand is one of the most beautiful places in the world, but people assume certain things about them.

“But 95 per cent of the massages are about health. I do some workplace massage with Hewlett Packard and I treat a number of sports people, but a vast majority for stress relief.

“You can alter the massage to meet the individual’s need. I have some big guys coming in and if I wanted to I could have them wailing! It’s all about the technique.”

The massage is performed on mat on the floor, fully clothed, and can last up to two hours using an acupressure method that relieves tension and tightness, which Gary jokes is ‘good pain’.

“Acupressure follows the same lines as acupuncture,” he adds. “Instead of needles we generally use pressure from the thumbs, forearms and elbows.

“Knees are sometimes used to extend the back, there’s also stretching and use of yoga as it’s all about rebalancing the body – my Thai tutor would say ‘no pain, no gain’!”

Gary’s clientele ranges from office workers to semi professional sportsmen and the avid Manchester City fan believes prevention is undoubtedly the best cure.

“We’re always so busy and rushed,” he says. “I give clients exercises to do at home as well, but the massage helps to combat injury and means less chance of injury occurring.

“People wouldn’t miss a service for their car, but for some reason they won’t service or fix their body until it’s broken.

“But because you’re helping people to relieve injuries it’s one of the few businesses where the better you get, the less your clients come back!”

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