I tried it: Hot bamboo massage

Jackie Mantey, Columbus Alive

The best part about taking a bath is that initial emergence into the tub of water. I love that strange sensation of dipping slowly into the hotness as the skin prickles with goose bumps to adjust to the heat. The shock of crossing such a temperature divide kind of stings, but it hurts so good. A hot bamboo massage is just like stepping into a bath over and over again, but with a massage thrown in.

Licensed massage therapist Anne Daly recently started offering the service, making her the first, she said, to offer hot bamboo massages in the Central Ohio area.

"It's fantastic," she said. "It gets results. The heat helps people to relax and everything else works better."

During the massage, Daly uses seven different sticks made of bamboo. They look like rounded chunks of bamboo flooring. She employs the sticks in various ways, like rubbing them along the muscles in the back or tapping them on the soles of the feet, to work out clients' body kinks.

When they're not being used in the massage, the sticks rest inside a heating pad. Daly said she prefers doing hot bamboo massages over hot stone massages for a couple of reasons. The bamboo does not get cold if it sits outside the heating pad too long, like the stones tend to do, and the bamboo's density makes it easier for Daly to feel where problem areas are in each client.

Daly does her work in an office building across from Smith's Deli in Clintonville. Her one-room studio is painted a sea-breezy blue, and white-noise machines outside the building's other offices keep the place quiet and add to the privacy. She offers massages in 30-, 60- and 90-minute sessions at $60 per hour.

I'd especially recommend the hot bamboo massage for anyone who is insecure about being touched during massages. The most touching I could feel was when Daly applied oil. The majority of the rest of the work was done with a stick.

Because Daly's business is new (she opened her own practice last fall), she can often get clients in on the day they call. As for me, I booked a second session for my birthday present to myself as soon as the massage was over.

Anne Daly Massage

3736 N. High St., Clintonville