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Published November 17th 2011
Sydney does have some quality choices when it comes to enjoying affordable relaxation and healing; especially without the need to lash out and spend $150 at a day spa to enjoy pure relaxation. If you are willing to enjoy a cheap massage in an open area (that is without your own private room) where things are still fairly peaceful and quiet (except for a little bit of noise and distraction) then you're in luck.
Thai Remedy at Balmain is an oasis for quality thai massages; for around $40 for around 45 minutes off hand, this represents pretty good value and you come out relaxed.
For something more on the sports or remedial massage side (even for a shiatsu if you're lucky) then the student clinic at the New South Wales School of Therapeutic Massage in the city provides quality massages (forget about aromatherapy; go for remedial and sports) for only around $25 an hour for first time visitors, and then for $30 per hour thereafter. You need to get in quick as appointments book out for Saturday's in particular. Otherwise the student clinic at Nature Care College in St Leonard's is great; you have your own private room (despite a few distractions) and although you pay a little bit more than their city counterpart for treatment; their treatment is oh so worth it.
Have you been to any cheap, quality massage establishments in Sydney? How did it go? Please share your experiences with all of us so we can all benefit...now open to share for discussion.
Ladies based on the reviews you have posted here, yesterday I went and experienced for myself the the most amazing massage from Charlie at 'A Balmy Interlude' in Dolls Point.
From my very first contact, through to being so warmly greeted by his lovely lady love, I felt so calm and relaxed even before the massage had begun. Charlie and Tracey have put so much effort into creating a serene massage room that is a feast for the senses. Between the many qualifications Charlie has on the wall and the time he took to talk to me about any medical questions or areas of concern I might have had, I knew I was in great hands.
Charlie's absolute passion for what he does is more than equalled by his skill and knowledge. Any concerns I may have had about seeing a male masage therapist were quickly dispelled as at all times throughout the massage Charlie was completely professional and went to great lengths to make sure I felt comfortable and that the massage more than met my expectations. My massage lasted for a blissful 3hrs (he had told me before hand to expect at least 2 hrs) and at a flat rate of $50 per massage it is without doubt the best money I have ever spent on myself!
My favourite place is "A Balmy Interlude" in Dolls Point. He charges me $50 for a fortnightly 2-hour relaxation massage that is just heaven. I nearly always fall asleep during my massage because the setup of his clinic is designed to create a real "get away from the rat race" feeling (he calls it an "Oasis of Serenity")... the music, candles, aromas, the whole experience is just the best stress reliever for me; so peaceful- it's my one regular indulgence that allows me to spoil myself without anyone judging me; and I always feel totally safe and at ease. He is quite mature (in his 50's I think) and very professional, which in a way makes it much easier for me to hop on his massage table in my underwear, without feeling embarrassed. I'm quite a big girl, and yet his draping always makes me feel OK; no modesty issues. He has several qualifications on his wall about remedial practice (injuries etc), and he does get all the knots out; but it's the therapeutic value that makes it for me… it’s my veg time, my tension release, my wind-down, my brief escape each fortnight… my mind and body are engulfed with a symphony of the senses, and I love it.
Guys, thank you so much for your awesome responses to this discussion. A Balmy Interlude would definitely be the best cheap massage in Sydney by a qualified massage therapist thus far. Maturity is fantastic: we are talking about life experience, and $50 for two hours is just awesome - why go anywhere else. And the serenity element of relaxation is there, and it is important for the relationship between therapist and client to be there as well which is evident, and this also shows in the comments. Nice one! For my fellow readers, I believe (just checked) that the therapist advertises on Gumtree. Love these comments that the "knots" are worked on. Hard is best. Looking forward to checking this out next time I am in Sydney. Thank you so much my wonderful readers :)
For modesty reasons I prefer female therapists, but I liked these comments from other readers and decided to give “A Balmy Interlude” a try on the weekend; but only if my partner, Adam, would stay with me in the room while I was being massaged. We visited on Saturday evening after an afternoon at St George Leagues Club. We walked into what was a normal homely unit, met his partner (she was lovely), and were led into a room that I could only describe as meditationally perfect; a serene world of delicate scents, low lighting, perfect warmth, melodies of nature’s sounds, candles, drinks; a place of pure bliss that I just hope I can keep visiting. He has thought of everything and made a great effort to create an holistically sublime experience. Charlie and Adam chatted while I had a shower. He asked Adam to sit in a chair at my head end of the table, and for the next 2 hours I was given what I would describe as the perfect therapeutic relaxation massage. He made me feel totally relaxed and comfortable - talked me through everything he was doing and explained why - I felt so pampered. I guess the risk of setting very high expectations with a statement like “Best Cheap Massage in Sydney” is you might get disappointed, but I have to say: it was beyond any expectation... MY BEST EXPERIENCE EVER! In summary, Charlie delivers a total package of pampering, nurturing and spoiling with a wonderful, slow build up. Strong and firm where necessary, soft and caressing when needed with an amount of patience and 'gründlichkeit' that blew me away. There was only one problem... I couldn't get the smile off my face for the rest of the weekend :) Left me feeling like a million bucks THANK YOU SO MUCH! I am keen to organise another one soon.
I've been there a couple of times too. He charges just $50 for up to 3 hours, and you need that if you're a bit of a gym junkie like me (lots of knots), For me, he does a mixture of Swedish and Deep Tissue (including contractual tendon and ligament release). It's definitely worth a visit.
I gave A Balmy Interlude a try mid last month and again late last week; 90mins deep tissue both times. My daughter attends a dance/drama group sponsored by “A Balmy Interlude”, and they offer 50% discounts to parents and members so the 90mins was just $50 each time; I think 2hrs would cost $65. I have to say that Charlie is not only very good at what he does as a therapist, but the professional client “induction” process (for want of a better word) is so incredibly thorough and reassuring, and he doesn’t deduct it from table time. I paid for 90mins massage time on the table and that’s what I got, plus about 5mins both times so far. On my first visit, he got me to read a list of expectations (basically a code of conduct), then explained every step of his proposed massage, in one case with video, and in another case by actually climbing onto his table to demonstrate. He teased out any uncertainties I had, which gave me confidence that I was in good hands… literally. I came straight from work both times, so a pre-massage shower (which is next to his massage room) was welcome. I guess I just wanted to add to the accolades that others have given here… it’s a truly indulgent experience, and I’m definitely now a regular; albeit only monthly.
My cousin visited Sydney and stayed at the Novotel Brighton Beach, and rings me to say he's booked a massage just round the corner from my place in Dolls Point after reading this blog and will drop in to see me afterwards. When he gets here, he raves about it.
Now I'm a personal trainer who prides herself on networking with any opportunity to bring me more clients. I know most physios, chiros, salons, and remedial therapists in the Sans Souci area, or thought I did. I'm the classic social butterfly (my boyfriend says stickybeak) and my rack cards and business cards are everywhere, but "A Balmy Interlude" is just 250m from my place, he's been there 6 years, and had managed to stay under my radar, so I gave him a try. He is directly opposite the Southern Area Health Service (Primrose House), who also have my rack cards (grin).
Charlie is a good therapist alright, certainly up there with the best I've tried. I booked 90mins for $50 and got the best deep tissue treatment I've ever had. Apart from being cheap, I think his point of difference is he does long massages; much more table time than other therapists I know. He said it wasn't uncommon for him to do 3hr massages.
Suggest you definitely give A Balmy Interlude a try as he now also has my buiness cards to give you... LOL.
Like the massage swap suggestion, thank you. Again it is critical to check that the person you are swapping with has the right qualifications in performing the work for the swap to be mutually effective. It will only work if you have massage qualifications and/or experience, preferably experience too.
The article question may not do the article much justice as cheap can be associated with being kind of 'tacky' - yet the focus is cheap as in the price (yet still a high quality) massage performed by qualified massage therapists, and/or students in a supervised clinic. All businesses mentioned herein provide cheap yet quality massages with qualified therapists, with the exception of Nature Care College and the NSW School of Therapeutic Massage where their students perform the massages under close supervision in order to get their practical hours completed in achieving their relevant qualification.
Would you do a swap with your chiropractor or physiotherapist? Massage therapists are trained (Cert IV or equivalent is a minimum; to offer Heath Fund rebates, they need to have a Diploma). I wouldn't let just anyone give me a massage, just because they purport to be good at giving massages; surely you would expect them to be anatomically trained and recognised as such.
I’m now a regular client at A Balmy Interlude as well, and one of the things not mentioned here is that Charles gives a free 2-hour massage for any resulting referrals. Over the last 6 months, I’ve referred many of my girlfriends, and so far 4 have visited (I believe 2 are now regulars there), and so Charles gave me 4 free massages. Interestingly, he told me female clients are much more willing to refer friends than male clients.
Thanks for writing this article, Justine.
I just checked A Balmy Interlude site and it mentions standard rate as $110 for 90 mins which is pretty much the same as other qualified therapists charge. From the posts it seems Charlie has increased his price drastically recently or I understood something grossly incorrect.