AFTER a long week in the office, made worse by having to battle the elements every day – digging out the car and the tension from driving in the snow – I arrived at Yani Rathie’s treatment room, more than ready for my Indonesian back and shoulder massage.
Based at Heriot-Watt University’s campus at Netherdale, Galashiels, since 2007, Yani moved her business to Ladhope Vale in the town in October this year after the university closed its sports and exercise facility, where she was based.
Yani moved to the Borders from Indonesia in March 2000. She had met her husband Bill Rathie in Indonesia in 1995 and the couple married in 1997. They remained in the country until 2000, but came to live in Bill’s home town, Selkirk, after he was diagnosed with leukaemia. After he died, in 2001, Yani decided to set up her own business.
She said: “I was a trained beauty therapist but had no Scottish qualifications and so could not work when I first moved over here. After Bill died, I was devastated and wondered what I should do as I had myself and my son to support – should I go home or stay in the Borders.
“But I felt so at home here that I decided to stay, and enrolled at Borders College to gain the qualifications that would allow me to start up my own business.”
Graduating from the college in 2006, where she not only gained her SVQ Level 3 in Beauty Therapy, but was named best further education student, Yani initially set up her business in her home, before moving to Heriot-Watt, then relocating to the business unit at Ladhope Vale a couple of months ago.
Having trudged through the freezing snow to my appointment, I felt my tension start to melt away on my arrival, as the salon’s warm ambiance – created by the low lighting, scented candles, and the subtle Indonesian decor – instantly started to work their magic.
Yani said: “Massage therapy is no longer seen as a luxury by many people. I have many clients who return to me on a regular basis, treating a massage as they would a haircut, making it part of their normal routine. It is their time to relax and unwind from the stresses of the week.”
And I can certainly vouch for that.
While Yani offers a number of therapies for both men and women, including facials, manicure, pedicure and waxing, it is her Indonesian body and beauty therapies that make her business that little bit different.
Indonesian massage is an oil-based massage that works deeply to ease muscle and joint pain. It relies on deep pressure to break down tensely knotted tissue.
To help the relaxation process, Yani began by placing hot towels on my back before brushing the area all over with a body brush to help the warm oil be absorbed into my skin – excellent in winter when the skin has a tendency to dry out because of the harsh conditions and central heating.
A towel was then laid on my back with more warm bean-bags placed on top, which continued the heat therapy. As the warmth seeped into my body I could feel myself start to unwind. For the next 45 minutes or so, Yani worked on my back and shoulders, using her thumbs to push down on individual muscles, thoroughly stimulating the soft tissue, and working on the knots at my neck and around my shoulder blades.
Yani said: “All soft tissue work intuitively follows the course of the Chinese energy meridians. A one-hour session of this kind of massage is enough to leave you feeling relaxed, refreshed, rejuvenated and re-energised.”
I certainly felt the benefit of the massage, although I admit there were moments when it was rather uncomfortable, Yani working hard to release the more stubborn knots. To ease my muscles after the massage, hot towels were again placed on my back, and once dressed I was offered a small cup of spiced ginger tea, sweet and delicious, which rounded off my session.
It is clear that Yani loves her work and works hard to provide a relaxing, theraputic environment to benefit her male and female clients. As I was leaving, I noticed that she offers gift vouchers – so if any of my family asks me what I want for Christmas, I have an answer ready.
To make an appointment with Yani, call 01896 754274 or text her on 07795 398943.
Yani Indonesian Body and Beauty Therapy is based at 54 Ladhope Vale, Galashiels, TD1 1BT.