I Got a Synchronized 4-Hand Massage, and I’ve Never Felt More Relaxed
Despite writing about beauty for a living, I’ve always been a bit of a wellness enthusiast in my personal life. I make it a point to have a consistent self-care routine, penciling in a facial here or a massage there to ensure I always have my “me” time to look forward to. The problem is, it’s rare that I’m able to entirely just chill during a treatment – even when it comes to something that should be as relaxing as a massage. Instead, I’m always anticipating the therapist’s next move and wondering which limb will be massaged next rather than enjoying the present moment. That is, until I caught wind of the Synchronized Massage at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills.
Sprinkled in between the classics (like the Swedish, deep tissue, and stone therapy massages) lived the words “Synchronized Massage” on the hotel’s spa menu. Immediately, I was intrigued, and upon further reading, I discovered the treatment involved two therapists instead of one, four hands instead of two.
“The two therapists remain in constant contact with each part of the body throughout the massage, allowing the guest to melt into full-body relaxation,” says Vivian Henein, the spa director at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. “The therapists are trained to synchronize their movements and pressure to allow the guest to feel as though they are being worked on by the same person without disturbing their sense of relaxation.”
Could this be the solution to my inability to ease up? I booked a treatment to find out.
After changing into the plush Four Seasons robe, I waited in the spa’s “relaxation area” with a somewhat anxious feeling about the whole experience – for me, massages performed by one therapist tend to be awkward in and of itself, let alone a massage involving two. My thoughts were quickly interrupted as I was greeted by two lovely massage therapists who escorted me down the hall and into an inviting massage room, which was dimly lit and had gentle music playing. I was told that the heated bed and the room itself could be adjusted to whatever temperature I’d like. Already, I began to feel at ease. I was asked if I preferred oil or lotion (I went with the latter), and with that, we got started.
The treatment began with me facing down on the massage table. With the sheet still on top of my body, both therapists pressed down on various parts of my body like my back, shoulders, arms, and backs of my legs. I appreciated that the massage started with the sheet on, as it was an introduction to the sensation of four hands versus the traditional two. The sheet was then adjusted, and the therapists divided and conquered, each of them massaging one leg at the same time. Almost instantly, I could feel myself tense up, trying to follow along with who was doing what and which part of my leg was being worked on when. My sense of sight was also eliminated due to being face down in the face cushion, which made for a confusing, unique feeling that I wasn’t sure about. It wasn’t until the therapists began working on opposite limbs that things took a turn for the better.
They started with the left side: While one worked on my back and left arm, the other worked on the back of my left leg – and vice versa for my right side. Using various strokes, the therapists moved rhythmically and with intention as they worked on their respective areas. For instance, when one was working on my fingers, the other was working on my toes; when one was working on my palms, the other was working on my heels. Slowly but surely, I found my brain starting to let go and fully immerse in the experience rather than trying to keep track of things. By far, this was my favorite part of the entire treatment, and the therapists did an excellent job of synchronizing their movements, strokes, and pressure with each other. (Not to mention, to do so without being able to speak to each other was quite impressive.)
After the back of my body was worked on, I flipped over so I was facing up. A heated towel was placed underneath my neck, and the therapists each began massaging the fronts of my legs. They then moved up my body, and each of them massaged an arm, targeting the lower and upper arm at the same time. Then came a neck and shoulder massage. One of the therapists worked on both the right and left sides of my neck and shoulders while the other massaged my feet.
My massage ended with warm towels being placed on my feet. One therapist grabbed hold of my ankles and gave a gentle pull, while the other therapist simultaneously grabbed hold of my wrists and gave a gentle pull. This may sound painful, but it was actually my second favorite part of the massage. I felt my limbs lengthening to their maximum potential, similar to how you’d try to lengthen your arms and legs during yoga. Throughout the entirety of the treatment, I never felt like one area was being worked on too hard while the other too soft, and I attribute my being able to relax to this consistent flow of pressure.
I couldn’t tell you what techniques were used on which part of my body, but I’m assuming that’s the point of such a treatment. You’re not supposed to really recall which part of the body there was kneading, deep strokes, and effleurage – you’re just supposed to put your physical and emotional well-being first and enjoy the four hands working in unison. Overall, this massage was unlike any other treatment I had ever experienced, and I would certainly recommend it to someone who, like me, has trouble letting go and relinquishing control.