Bryony Giles offers professional massage in Peisey-Vallandry accommodation to make your ski, snowboard, biking or hiking holiday in the Alps even better. The massage can take place in the comfort of your own chalet.
An interview with Bryony from Alpine Hands.
What is your background story, how did you arrive in the French Alps?
I came out to Vallandry in Les Arcs 13 years ago to be a chalet girl and met such a lovely group of people and experienced such a hard-working, fun and immediate way of life that I came back again…and again.
After 3 winters doing chalet and bar work, I knew I wanted to continue coming here but I also wanted to pursue a career. So I retrained at college in Brighton to be a massage therapist.
How long have you been doing massage in the Peisey-Vallandry area?
I have been working as a massage therapist here for 9 years, initially just in the winters but now year round.
What types of massage are you trained in? Can you explain the advantages of each please.
I am trained in Swedish massage, this is good for relaxation at the time of the massage, and for covering the whole body in a 60 minute treatment so you really feel a holistic benefit. It can help you switch off from potentially stressful thoughts and aid sleep.
Also in Deep Tissue Massage, which is more focused. I usually do a quick consultation at the beginning of each treatment so the client can tell me where they feel tightness, aches, fatigue and then the massage is tailored to what they tell me. I work up to use deeper pressures to encourage the recuperation of the muscles and to try and break down adhesion’s or ‘knots’ and release areas of tightness.
I trained in Thai Massage in Chiang Mai, Thailand. This is a great massage for encouraging the realignment and suppleness of the body. It is very applicable to sports as it incorporates a lot of passive stretching for the legs and hips. The client is clothed, on a futon mat on the floor, and I push and pull them into yoga-like positions. Everybody should try it!
My original course included Reflexology of the feet, briefly: a focused pressure pointing massage of the feet, based on the idea that all the organs, glands, and skeletal parts of the body are mirrored on the feet and that you can have an effect on them just by ‘reflexing’ or massaging the feet. It can be used diagnostically, as sometimes you can feel blockages in the reflex areas of the feet, that might signify an issue in the corresponding part of the body. But ultimately it should feel deeply relaxing and that helps the body heal itself, rebalance and detoxify.
The latest professional development I undertook was a course in Kinesiology Taping. This is the brightly coloured fabric flexible tape you see on a lot of athletes nowadays. My interest was piqued whilst watching the 2012 London Olympics. It is for immediate relief of pain, tightness and weakness. On the course the instructor was quite open in saying research is still not sure how or why this tape works; one theory is that the feeling of the tape on the skin disrupts the way pain and discomfort messages are sent to the brain. I’ve had some great results though!
Can you share with us the benefits of having a massage after skiing or snowboarding?
Muscle ache after a lot of exercise is due to Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. This can be encouraged to heal with massage and your muscles will be rejunevated for the next day. Massage helps the circulation and lymphatic systems, this means it encourages lovely oxygenating fresh blood into your tired and achy muscles, and helps to take away any toxins still hanging around.
The skiing or snowboarding position is hard on the quads, glutes and hip flexors. A good sports massage will work towards release them.
Can you share with us the benefits of having a massage after nordic skiing?
Nordic skiing is A LOT more physical. There could be more of an issue presented by DOMS, particularly if you’ve never done it before. It’s a killer until you’re used to doing it regularly. Get a massage so you can move again!
Do you also offer massage in the summer months for road cyclists, mountain bikers and hikers?
I certainly do! It’s a great complement to that sort of holiday as well as for skiers and snowboarders in the winter.
Can you share with us the benefits of having a massage after road cycling or mountain biking?
Well for the same reasons as above really: the glutes work really hard in both road cycling and mountain biking, and again, the riders are holding themselves in a fixed flexed torso position in mountain biking, and the hip flexors play a big part in that.
Can you share with us the benefits of having a massage after hiking?
To relieve and release tightness in the legs, and if you’re using poles and carrying a pack, you’ll probably add to the knots in your shoulders!
As a mobile massage therapist, where do you your massages take place? If you are based in Peisey can I get a massage in Les Arcs?
I bring everything I need to do the massages in chalet guest bedrooms or any other suitable space in the chalets. Once I did a massage in a living room with a request for power ballads instead of my normal massage music!
In the summer it’s an easy drive from Peisey to 1800 along what is a piste (La Foret) in the winter, so there’s no problem with getting to Les Arcs bookings.
In the winter, I have to drive down to Bourg Saint Maurice and then back up the main 1800 road so I generally say that I’ll do that for a minimum booking of 3 hours, but you can call me on +33 6 76 79 87 66 in case I’m having a quiet week and I’ll come on over.
As well as Peisey-Vallandry and Landry I also cover Montchavin Les Coches with no minimum booking duration.
When is the best time to have a massage, before or after exercise?
Well, there are some who say that to have a pre-exercise massage is great for warming up the muscles ready for movement, and certainly if the therapist is vigilant about using rapid techniques and doesn’t work very deeply, and the massage doesn’t go on too long, this can work.
Generally though, I would recommend a massage after exercise, because then you can work deeply, in a focused way on problem areas, or to encourage lymphatic drainage and a release of toxins, and the client can hopefully chill out and drink plenty of water afterwards to encourage healing and rejuvenation.
Are there any other advantages to having regular massages in the Alps?
There are a myriad of advantages to having regular massages anywhere! But maybe the altitude is disrupting your sleep (which it can do), a relaxing massage can encourage sleep, I’ve had good feedback from that.
Regular massages are the key to addressing chronic issues. Knots/adhesions that have been building up in the shoulders for years need repeated treatments to break them down.
Regular massage for sports means that the repeated actions you are making your muscles power won’t result in problem areas.
Thanks so much Bryony, from all at Whitebeam Chalets.
Take a look at Bryony’s website: massage in Peisey-Vallandry.