‘The Muscle Maestro’
‘Master Masseuse; ‘she has been blessed with a true gift’
ARTICLES ON ANATRIPSIS AND THE FOUNDER
(Please note that Panayiota Lazaris use to go by the name of Penny Antoniou at the beginning of her career)
After having undergone more massages than she would care to admit, one writer finds her Holy Grail in Limassol
By Jill Campbell Mackay
Chloe has stripped off and exposed her body to more strangers than the renowned Las Vegas showgirl Dita Von Teese.
The big difference between Chloe and the daring Dita is that my friend has always had to pay cash for the pleasure of getting her kit off.
Over the years, she has disrobed countless times to be massaged, manipulated, pummeled; she has been doused in freezing cold water, then scrubbed down with a floor brush, had Japanese ladies walk on her back, an Indian gent has vigorously rubbed her head, her aura has been rejuvenated, both feet have been ‘reflexed’, once she was trussed up in towels with twigs stuck on her head so she resembled an abused Turbot balancing a laundry basket on her head, and she has had more essential oils poured over her than has been proffered to a major Indian deity: all of this in search of the absolute, perfectly sublime, total massage treatment.
Last week in Limassol, Chloe at last found her Holy Grail, or, as she described it, ‘’the most marvellous experience I have ever had from any therapist. She is the maestro of muscles.’’
‘She’ is Penny Antoniou, the creator of the newly established trilogy of Greek massages, and master of ancient spa and other holistic treatments for men and women.
Penny may display a deceptively vulnerable exterior: she looks as fragile as a flamingo, but don’t be fooled by this Titian-haired beauty, for her inner and outer strengths are formidable. Her commitment to these new and highly effective treatments is such that it has taken a great deal of research, experimentation and many hours of practice to develop, and, according to Chloe, our more than willing guinea pig, she has a winner both in and on her hands.
Here is Chloe’s glowing report on her Greek Trilogy experience:
First massage: Anatripsis
‘’Taken over a six-day period, the three massages start with a very relaxing one hour massage, which took place in a candle-lit room in a very peaceful atmosphere. The back ground music used is carefully chosen, not intrusive, but blending perfectly.
‘’Starting from the front of the body, Penny works her magic, massaging in turn the feet, legs then works up to the arms.
‘’Fluffy warm towels are placed on the massaged areas as she works and moves on. Essential oils are used; in my case she used an almond base with a very subtle hint of flowers. The best is left for last, the neck and shoulders are expertly massaged in such a way that you discover muscles that you did not know existed.
‘’I particularly loved the stretching and pulling of the arms and legs, which she does injust the right way.
‘’It is as if she has built-in radar. After one hour of bliss, I am left to lie for a while before I get up and get dressed.’’
Second massage: Taxidi
‘’Driving all the way to Limassol from Paphos, I wondered if it was worth the trip for a 15-minute massage. But, when I left I knew I would definitely go back again.
Taxidi means trip and where you go is determined by Penny.
‘’From the first massage she knows exactly what you need, and in my case she could see that I suffer from a stiff shoulder and neck due to office work.
‘’This is a massage with attitude, Penny’s attitude, she chooses where and how the massage will take place.
‘’I was made to straddle a chair near the bed; a warm towel wrapped over a cushion was placed in front of me to rest my chin on.
‘’Straddling a chair is not really my style, but I felt as if I had developed attitude just by sitting like that. The music was interesting, from African rhythms, to Arabic music, which she kept on changing according to her mood. The stronger the beat, the deeper the massage. She concentrated on my shoulders and neck with such intensity that when it was over I was begging for more.’’
Note: For anyone having these massages- do not make plans for afterwards. Penny insists that in order to gain maximum benefits she has to be able to massage the face and head with the essential oils. This feels great, but you need to shower and wash your hair afterwards. You are also so relaxed that all you want to do is vegetate or go to sleep.
Third massage: Antiquity
‘’After the first two sessions I was looking forward to this one. Two whole hours of bliss ahead of me: I arrived at 5pm and was ushered into the white room. The décor is completely white, with light airy curtains and dangling crystals which framed beautiful arched windows. The whole atmosphere is very peaceful and calming.
‘’I waited in anticipation, wondering what was so special and inherently different about this massage. The first two were so far removed from the hundreds of other massages I have had over the years that I believed this would be the ultimate, and I was not disappointed.
‘’Lying on my stomach, Penny massages my whole body with essential oils.
‘’The principle of this massage is that the whole body gets worked on continuously, in contrast to the others where sections are done at a time. It feels like a constant ripple going up and down from head to toes.
‘’This is a very deep and intense massage, which leaves you weak at the knees when it’s over. It’s the ultimate, because every single muscle and joint is expertly kneaded and pulled in such a way that you feel like you are floating. The two hours flew by and at the end I was so relaxed that I had trouble getting up. I could have gone on for another hour easily. I floated out to the car, pulled the passenger chair back and ‘purred’ all the way back home.’’
Experiencing a massage with Penny Antoniou, 36-year-old Master Masseuse and owner of Ancient Wisdom in Limassol, is breath taking to say the least. Astounded I literally had no words. So here I am, about to let you in on something so special while I try to find words apt enough to describe how deeply impressed (excuse the pun) I was by the way she uses her gift.
This is no ordinary massage as I imagine them to be. This was my first: (‘’a virgin’’, Penny smiled). Even so, I believe there is none other in comparison. LORA JANSEN offers her view. .. derived from being one of Penny’s test subjects thrice over.
In order for me to present this review to you objectively I did some research. Also to help me try to describe what I experienced. So I wrote down a list of massages and described them for your interest as well. What I found in my research was amazing. Penny has managed to capture within three massages so many of the different components and essential elements for good health and longevity from most of the massages available.
In the types of massage described below, Penny’s techniques make use and combine many of these methods:
Shiatsu – Japanese for ‘finger pressure’, is used when the body becomes out of balance due to blocked energy along special points called ‘meridians’, which are located along invisible channels of energy flow throughout the body. This blocked energy can cause discomfort or disease in the body and can be released with the help of a therapist.
Thai – an ancient style of therapy 2,500 years old. It is a combination of full body stretching (a form of yoga), working meridian lines and shiatsu points. Acupressure – is a form of bodywork based in traditional Chinese meridian theory in which acupuncture points are pressed to stimulate the flow of energy or chi.
Deep tissue – movement and pressure are used to reshape and realign the muscles and connective tissue, breaking old, habitual holding patterns.
Craniosacral – a light touch manipulation of the head and bottom of the spine to restore optimal cerebrospinal fluid movement. It can be especially useful in treating headaches, eye and ear problems, jaw problems, whiplash, and back pain.
Reflexology – a form of bodywork based on the theory of zone therapy, in which specific spots of the body are pressed to stimulate corresponding areas in other parts of the body. Foot reflexology is the most common form of reflexology.
Lymphatic Drainage – gentle rhythmic, pumping movements following the direction of lymph flow in the skin that produces rapid results in reducing swelling and removing wastes from the connective tissue back to the blood stream. Other benefits include reduction of pain, a relaxation response and an apparent enhancement of immune function.
Swedish – a scientific system of manipulations on the muscles and connective tissues of the body for the purpose of relaxation, rehabilitation or health maintenance.
Aromatherapy – combines the therapeutic properties of essential oils with specific massage techniques to promote health and wellbeing.
Trager – operates on the principle that one learns to be lighter, easier, and freer by experiencing light, easy, and free sensations in the body. Practitioners introduce pleasurable sensory information of the soft tissues by steadily, gently, and rhythmically rocking and stretching the body.
Raindrop therapy – a unique massage technique used by the Lakotas Indians. During a session essential oils are dropped along the spine and lightly massaged into the skin where the oils nourish all of the organs, this influencing each major system of the body. Raindrop therapy brings the body into balance, help align the energy centers of the body and releases blockages.
Petrissage – movements which involve various ways of kneading, rolling and picking up the skin and muscles. These movements help in strengthening the structures by stimulating the deep layers of tissue, and also help in increasing the supply of blood to the area. Petrissage techniques also make muscles more pliable, and are used to relieve soreness and hypertonicity (cramping). Light kneading eases the top muscle layers, while firmer kneading works on the deeper muscles.
Myofascial – Myo means muscle and fascia is the elastic connective tissue wrapped around muscles and other parts of the body. During myofascial release, restrictions (stuck areas) are located and gentle sliding pressure is applied in the direction of the restriction to stretch the tissues. The stretching of tissues and the heat imparted by the practitioner’s hands are thought to help produce a softer consistency of fascial tissues.
Lomi Lomi – is a gentle soothing, stretching type of massage claimed to be one of the most relaxing of body work styles, using the long continuous, flowing strokes, combined with the very loving touch, relaxes the entire being, assisting in a letting go of old beliefs, patterns and behaviours that cause limitations and which are stored in the cells of our body. Healing, stress reducing, rejuvenating, Lomi Lomi massage therapy has been practiced throughout Pacific for thousands of years. Polole Lomi, ‘the gentle hand of the mother,’ Oluea Lomi, ‘to harmonize body, mind and spirit,’ and Oluli Lomi, ‘to ignite the life-force’.
So there you have it… no more running around to this one or that one, or remaining confused as to which kind of masseuse you need. Penny does it all, gracefully wrapped up in three of her very own revelations.
However, this is still not all. Penny has also added her very own personal signature to each massage in her trilogy. Each is entirely different from the other. Not to give all her secrets away I have left some mystery behind in my brief explanations of each so that you can go sense them for yourself.
ANATRIPSIS A massage in Honour of Hippocrates. The duration of this massage is approximately 1 hour. Here you will enjoy full body attention. This is usually the first of the trilogy and allows you and your body to become accustomed to Penny and her ways. During this period she will assess what it is that your body is lacking and work accordingly while you are simply swept away by a thoroughly beautiful entrée”
TAXIDI A journey of Expression. This is an extraordinary space to occupy! This massage can take anywhere between 5 minutes to an hour depending on Penny’s mood and what becomes drawn to her. She could take you to another universe or simply to a playground. Her energy will mirror your true nature. Surprise, surprise.
ANTIQUITY An Ancient Greek Thesis. This is where Penny does most of her healing work. This massage takes a minimum of two hours. If you do the previous two massages in sequence prior to this one then you get all the benefits. By this time you and Penny have become soulfully in tune; you have become one. Here is where you completely let go and let Penny! She takes care of you in the safest way and by this time you really don’t care what she does to you. You are in heaven.
During many years of experience Penny has refined her massage to become an artful process of releasing and healing. She uses her hands to mould your body into whatever mode it chooses. She transforms you with gentleness and beauty and takes you into worlds unknown. She creates around you a space so sacred and honourable that you feel free enough to allow yourself to let go. To let go of all your yesterdays and all your tomorrows. Penny moves with you, through you and senses what you need. She connects very deeply with your beingness and has an innate connectivity to the sensitivities of women and understanding the uniqueness of the individual.
Penny has been blessed with a true gift and I say this while also honouring her for all her hard work and dedication to finding these tools so that she can heal others. Penny works with her soul.
By Penny Antoniou
Relaxation, tranquillity, and calmness are words that pour out of my mind when I think of how people lived in ancient Greece.
Pre-Raphaelite artists have captured the simplicity and beauty of those times. Their leisure time was filled with music, sports and indulging in spa treatments.
Regular bathing and massage was a part of their everyday life. They understood and knew the therapeutic benefits one receives from regular massage.
Even Hippocrates mentions it in many of his books and writings: ‘’The natural healing force within us, is the greatest force in getting well’’
Alternative treatments such as massage, helps to bring the body back into balance therefore enabling individual to find ‘’the healing force within us’’. Our ancestors were aware of this and practised natural methods to heal the body and enhance their beauty.
The idea of the trilogy came last summer, after I had made many changes in my life. I leaped forward and began to lead the life that I truly wanted and through stepping outside my comfort zone came an abundance of inspiration.
I was flooded with ideas of techniques, bringing back old folk remedies and ancient spa treatments. It felt at times that my mind was being taken over by some unknown internal force. I have been massaging for 12 years now, and I knew that it was time for me to take my massage even further. During the development of the new techniques, which took around eight months, I feel that I have gained an even more understanding of this work of art and is enabling me to take my clients into deeper states of healing and relaxation.
Anatripsis was the first original massage method I created, after completing my first massage courses. Realising that if a therapist is open within her work and focused she will be able to read the language of the body. For me it’s a feeling that I sense, almost as though the body tells me where there is pain and what points need to be pressed. After starting to professionally massage, I began to form and develop my own methods.
Anatripsis is a one hour massage that includes different types of massage combined with special techniques created by myself, which brings together a very deep and healing experience.
‘Ana’ means uplift and ‘tripsis’ means massage. It is the original Greek name for massage that was given by the father of medicine… Hippocrates. There is an extension version of the Anatripsis method, which is Anatripsis II, this is a luxury massage performed by two therapists.
Taxidi is the Greek word for ‘’journey’’. It was formed while I was going through some issues and I thought I wanted to give up massaging! I worked through this period and realised that I just needed a change of routine within my work. So as music inspires me and sets me off into a creative mood, I combined together different types of music for it and the massage is created then and there on the client. Taxidi has a kind of attitude… the therapist not only chooses the music but also the dration and whereabouts of the massage.
It is a great journey to experience that releases a lot of tension and emotions, and is truly a breath taking massage… for both the therapist and the client.
Antiquity is my master piece. It is a two hour massage, which gives me enough time to really work, even more intensively on the body. It is advisable to do a couple of Anatripsis first which will then prepare your body for an even deeper massage.
The feeling you get is extremely liberating and nurturing to the soul. The best way to describe what you gain from antiquity is better commented by someone who has experience it…
The trilogy of Greek Massages is dedicated to our Greek ancestors, who brought us so much knowledge on natural healing methods. It is my wish to reinforce that again into our lives. I would like to end, by saying that massage should not be taken or seen as just a form of luxury, but as a tool that has been naturally provided to us as a therapeutic healing treatment.