The magic “touch” of massage

At the recent CES in Las Vegas, French start-up Capsix Robotics unveiled a robotic arm capable of performing a professional massage.
70% of people suffer from back pain, 60% suffer from chronic stress, it’s a big problem – said François Eyssautier, CEO of the startup.
Capsix Robotics.iYu, as the robot is called, scans the body as soon as the client lies down on the couch to understand its shape, then studies and delivers a targeted massage“.
The masseurs who are advising the start-up insist that the robot cannot replace a masseur, but it can provide specialized assistance.

Is it possible to entrust a robot with the execution of a massage?

We asked Gabriella Francia, co-founder of bbspa_Group and training manager, who has been involved for years in innovative training programmes for SPAs, cosmetic companies and applied aesthetics.

“Massage can certainly be defined as a therapeutic activity that aims to benefit both the body and the mind.
If we look at massage only in terms of manual dexterity, technology will probably one day be able to compete with man; but if we look at the intangible, emotional sphere, I don’t think any robot will ever be able to match the magic that a professional can create with a good massage.
In a treatment consisting of touching, percussion, kneading, friction, vibration or pressure, it is clear that the masseur’s ‘touch’ makes all the difference.
Massage is not just physical contact: many emotions are held in the muscles and are released during the treatment. “Touch” is what makes the difference in a massage,’ explains Gabriella Francia, ‘and it is no coincidence that the Academy section of bbspa_group has created a course dedicated to it. Not only that, but it is an expression of the approach to the client and the relationship of empathy that is created: all this is part of a broader concept of massage.

For the time being, artificial intelligence is a complement, not a replacement,’ adds Gabriella. For example, Aquamotus is a massage shower system that can reproduce 16 types of massage in the rain.

Another example of the integration of advanced technology and spa treatments is Zerobody, a patented system with Starpool that allows you to float in weightlessness and regenerate your body and mind. This does not replace the operator, but rather complements the SPA services on offer.

Today, when we think of a massage given by a robot, we do not think of the tactile aspect, but probably of something therapeutic. I would rather say that we need to push for greater awareness of the importance of planning and training human capital, aspects that really make a difference! Unfortunately, training is still undervalued, both in terms of budget and planning”!

Is there anything new on the massage planet?

“There are no striking innovations in the sector. I would say that today, investors and operators have developed a greater sensitivity to a personalised approach: the improvement of massage technique goes through this step, i.e. understanding and adapting to the contingent needs of the client.

How to personalise a massage

“A massage does not have to be the same for everyone, using the same technique. An Ayurvedic massage, for example, needs to be tailored to the person and their psycho-physical condition at that moment. This means better results.
Adequate training, combined with experience, makes it possible to understand the importance of ‘touch’, adds Gabriella, which includes many details that are only apparently marginal: towels, temperatures, inclination of the table, and so on. Attention must be a constant when talking about massage.

The ambience and treatment room also play a key role in customising the service. As bbspa_Group, we have created protocols for SPA menus and environments that support the profitability needs of investors, while identifying and meeting the expectations of the target clientele. This means increasing the value of the investment by adding value to the location, the team, the SPA menu, the environment, etc.”

Written by Elisabetta Farneti