IT is very different from other Khmer massage or the saunas or steam in the elegant decorated salons or clubs, and is mostly aimed at being therapeutic and reducing pain and stress. It is blind massage.
And while it may not attract the young urban people who are looking for a soft massage from glamorous women, Sin Muny Sokha, the founder of Seeing Hands Massage, says that their massage covers as many styles as other places in Phnom Penh from Japanese-style (Anma and Shiatsu), relaxation massage, and others such as foot, body and European massage.
Sokha, 48, was one of the first five Cambodian blind people who was sponsored by a French organisation in 1995 to learn massage directly from a skillful Cambodian blind massage teacher who lives in Japan.
Sokha said at the start it was difficult because he was blind in his right eye. However he was lucky to have the chance to learn and support his family and as the founder of Seeing Hands Massage by Blind People and said the idea of his establishment was to help other blind people to have the chance he did.
“The establishment of this place is to create more jobs for blind people to support their livelihoods,” Sokha said.
He spent about a year learning massage, anatomy, and English and said that before this learning he didn’t think massage was so important for people’s bodies.
“But after learning about it, I could understand the necessity of massage which can provide therapy for all the muscles, joints, blood vessels, and so on while other normal exercises cannot work in all parts of our bodies like massage,” he said.
Sokha has taught almost 20 blind students since he opened his shop but there are now only five working there.
Blind 20- year-old Long Srey Poeurk, for example, became a masseur several years ago at Seeing Hands Massage after she learnt free for several months with Sokha.