SINGAPORE - She has had a client perform a seductive striptease, complete with coquettish eyes and sultry looks, in front of her.
It came as a shock to Madam Marsita Mohamed Yunos, who is a post-natal massage therapist.
"All I did was ask her to take her clothes off and get on the bed for the therapy," says Madam Marsita, who is better known as Marz to her clients.
She ignored her but made sure she did not touch the client in intimate places, just in case.
The awkward session was also performed in complete silence, says the mother of three.
It happened a few years ago and she quickly clarifies that most of her clients are not that shocking.
Madam Marsita is the listening ear to new mothers who pour out their worries, as she massages their bodies to help them regain their pre-pregnancy shape, reduce water retention and expel "wind".
She is even a lactation consultant, often having to advise mothers about breast engorgement and massaging the pain away.
She recalls a case where a client, who had breast implants, had extremely swollen breasts after giving birth. She told her to seek advice from a doctor because of the implants.
As for other mothers with normal breast engorgement issues, the therapist's deft hands help to alleviate the condition.
Her career began more than 13 years ago. She took up a course in massage because she wanted to soothe the pain her father was going through because of kidney failure.
She would massage him for almost six hours a night, until he could fall asleep.
After his death, she translated those skills to helping others.
Her specialisation in post-natal massages came about after she took another course to cater to the high demand from new mothers.
She says: "I feel happy when I can make people feel better, healthier, and heal them with my touch."
Among the perks of the job is that she gets to cuddle newborns.
"I love kids, especially babies. But don't ask me to get pregnant again, I can't do it any more."
At times, she ends up being a babysitter when the client has no confinement nanny to look after the baby.
She says: "Sometimes, halfway through the massage, the baby cries, so I help to feed the baby."
Or when a newborn has colic, she massages the baby.
"I don't take care of only the mother, I also care for the baby," says Madam Marsita.
Demand is so high, she takes on six clients a day, back-to-back with a lunch break. She charges $950 for 10 post-natal massage sessions of 70 to 80 minutes each.
"I used to take up night massage jobs as well but not any more as I want to focus more on my family."
These days, she is trying to give back to the community by training single mothers in the art of massage.
"I can't contribute money to them but I can contribute my skills and knowledge, which can help them earn money for survival."
Most Saturdays see her spending hours conducting massage classes.
Madam Marsita feels that it is important to have a positive mind and intention as a masseuse.
"Massaging is taking the negative energy and transforming it into positive energy."
Secrets of the trade
1 Do not eat spicy food as it can cause stomach discomfort, which can affect the internal energy needed for the massage.
2 Exercise three times a week. While you may think that massaging others is enough physical activity, you need to build up your stamina so that you have the strength to massage.
3 Wash your hands after a massage session, in case you rub your eyes. You will not want to get oil meant to burn fat or expel wind in your eyes.
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