Interview with Elisabeth, founder of Masajes Hamsa
It's a warm Monday morning when I set out for my very first interview with a special expat. Over the phone I received instructions on how to drive to the massage center 'Masajes Hamsa', located on the edge of the surfers village of El Médano.
I can choose, because the center can be reached both from the TF-1 motorway (coming from the direction of Los Cristianos) and from El Médano. Although it may be a bit shorter via the highway, I decide to take the scenic route via the back roads of the village. After all, I'm in no rush.
At the last part to Masajes Hamsa I literally and figuratively have to slow down, as the asphalt changes to a sandy country road.
Although the trail is fairly passable, I have to drive at a slow pace. Strangely enough, that calms me down enormously, as does the landscape around me. It would fit right into a movie set. A western, or perhaps a scene from an exciting sci-fi series. Maybe it's because of the huge, somewhat surrealistic looking, satellite dish that lies along the side of the road (later it turns out to be a rusted sun reflector).
After about 10 minutes of dirt road I'm at my destination. Tucked away between local vegetation and a banana plantation is the massage center's serene white painted cabaña .
Lady-of-the-house Elisabeth is waiting for me and gives a short tour. She explains that she recently moved and had to find a new setting for her massage center. To separate private life and work, the idea arose to build a wooden cabaña next to her new home. The result is amazing. If you like peace and quiet, you've come to the right place.
The massage area
The cabaña is minimalist, but tastefully decorated. What immediately stands out is how neat and hygienic the space is. Everything also aptly according to the guidelines of the Corona measures. It seems as if I am already completely relaxed just by entering the room.
What Elisabeth offers fits in well with the structure of my website. Namely a real Insider Tip.
Many people see their well-deserved vacation as the perfect time for a relaxing massage. And that is, of course, an excellent idea. Unfortunately, especially in the tourist zones, you often end up at impersonal pop-up salons, usually sandwiched between chip shop and souvenir shop. There is usually no real relaxation, and whether the masseurs have any knowledge of massaging at all is open to question. Not to mention the hygiene.
With Elisabeth it is a completely different story. This enterprising lady knows what she is doing, and the combination of her skills together with the unique place she has created ensure an unforgettable (holiday) experience. In short: if you want to pamper yourself, this is the place!
Interview sounds very official. It's more of a relaxed conversation in which I get to hear a lot of fun facts about Elisabeth, including why someone should definitely try a California massage .
Would you like to introduce yourself to the readers?
I am Elisabeth from Belgium. I have lived in beautiful Tenerife since 1996. At the time I came to the island with an open ticket, with the intention of looking for a summer job. As if it was meant to be, the hotel where I was staying offered me a job as an animator.
I didn't speak a word of Spanish then, but I didn't need it either, as most of the hotel guests came from Northern Europe. I have learned the language myself over the years, by reading a lot and listening to Spanish-language music (and then translating the songs with a dictionary). And further through the fantastic Spanish friends I have made along the way ..
From animator to masseuse… how did that happen?
(laughs) Well, that wasn't a direct jump of course. Animatrice was more of a summer job, after that I had several other jobs, including as a receptionist and administrative assistant.
Meanwhile, in my spare time, I followed courses, workshops and training on massage techniques. These include relaxation massage, sports massage, foot reflexology, shiatsu and lymphatic drainage. But I didn't really do much with it at the time. Or at least not on a level that I wanted to make it my profession.
Until, one day, I saw a program about California Massage . I immediately had the feeling: that's what I want to do!
A month later I learned the basics on an initiation course in Lanzarote and immediately decided to do the full training in Barcelona.
And immediately made it your profession?
At that time, a good friend decided to set up a massage center. He offered to share the space. It really felt like a calling, and I registered as an autónoma (self-employed person) so that I could get started as an autonomous masseuse. Since 4 years now.
Recently I went my own way and founded my own center: Masajes Hamsa.
What does Californian Massage mean to you as a professional, for example what is the difference with a more traditional massage?
With the other massages that I offer – such as foot reflexology – the treatment mainly consists of pure professional knowledge. It is a fixed technique, with little room for creativity.
Californian Massage is more about relaxing the body and mind. This gives you the feeling of floating away and making contact with your inner self. The person on the massage table receives a loving massage, in which my attention is in the here and now. In the first place I have to feel good myself to pass on that energy.
Now that I'm in control of my own time and space, I feel I am there where I belong. And I pass that energy on to the person who receives the massage.
That sounds exciting, but what exactly does the massage entail?
“California massage, also known as Esalen massage, has been referred to as the 'Art of Conscious Touch'.
Characteristic are the long, slow and flowing movements. These are mainly performed with the hands and forearms using a natural oil. The pressure intensifies as the session progresses, going a little deeper in the most tense areas, but it isn't a hard massage.
This massage technique originated somewhere in the 60s in California but somehow never really became known in Tenerife. I can proudly say that I am, at the moment, the only person on the island who offers this massage.
The session lasts 75 minutes, but I set aside enough time for the clients so that we can talk for a while before the session and they can calmly come out of their cocoon afterwards. The point is that people perceive this experience as a moment of total relaxation.
Masajes Hamsa is easily accessible by car. But suppose I don't have a car. Will you also come to my holiday home or hotel room?
I no longer do massages in hotels and the reason is obvious. The center is located in a unique rural location. There is no distraction from traffic here, no noise, no one else is there. The tranquility and serene atmosphere of the center are part of the customer experience.
I will pick up people who are staying in El Médano and do not have a car, or who come to El Médano by bus. But most people still come by car. When booking, I send them the exact location via whatsapp and that works fine.
Where can people go to book a massage with you?
All information can be found on my Facebook site (click here for the direct link), ), but to make an appointment please call or Whatsapp via telephone number (0034) 626 186 345.
I also regularly run special promotions, so be sure to check out the Facebook site for more info!
Thank you very much for the nice conversation. Finally, do you have any tips for people who also want to settle in Tenerife?
Try to be as prepared as possible if you plan to settle here. Times have changed, I believe it used to be a bit easier to get a job here. Offering a fun or unique concept is an option. And learning a few words of Spanish is also a must.