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Japanese massage is the message for relaxation and spiritual alignment.
Japanese massage is the message for relaxation and spiritual alignment. Miranda Glasser

Japanese massage is the message for relaxation and spiritual alignment

Reapers with aches and pains have been flocking to Shiatsu Dyagaimo to see Masahiro Hara, Temple Town’s resident shiatsu therapist. The enterprise is run out of Hara’s apartment in Taphul Village behind Angkor Market, where he offers hour to two-hour long massages.

Hara set up his massage place last year, after having visited a friend in Siem Reap and noticing that shiatsu wasn’t available. With three other massage shops under his belt in his native Tokyo, he thought Siem Reap might benefit from something similar.

“I saw there were so many massage shops but no Japanese ones, and I thought I would like to introduce Japanese massage therapy to people,” Hara says. “This year, I want to teach other people how to massage. If many people can do the same as me, massage quality will go up and many customers will be happy.”

Shiatsu, meaning “finger pressure” in Kanji, involves massage using mainly the fingers to put pressure on certain points in the neck, back and shoulders.

Rather than explain what shiatsu is, Hara offers to show me, but given that I am not a fan of massages – a bad back coupled with over-zealous and under-trained masseuses has led to too many painful experiences – I am somewhat tentative at first, but I soon relax as Hara prods gently around my back.

Even the firmer pressure around my stiff shoulder blades is bearable, and he is very sensitive to my reactions. All in all it is pleasantly relaxing.

Hara says he has a steady group of regular customers, around ten people a week, who come to see him for neck or shoulder pain. Massages cost $25 an hour, with an extra $5 added for an oil massage. He says most of his custom is word of mouth.

“Almost all my customers live in Siem Reap – I don’t tend to get tourists because they can’t find my shop,” he says. “Many jobs these days involve the use of computers or iPads so many people have neck problems or headaches.”

Hara, who trained for four years in Tokyo, has had glowing reviews on Tripadvisor, and praised for his ability to “search and find your areas of need, and progressively address them.”

Shiatsu Dyagaimo’s is open from 10am-8pm, but Hara is happy to work around these hours and can come to customer’s home or hotel. For bookings, phone 013 960 636.

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