By Emily Stifler Explorebigsky.com Managing Editor
Jacquie Rager rubs a mixture of papaya fruit extracts, lavender and honey powder into my hands, scrubs them with pumas, then wraps them in a warm towel.
“This is hydrating and relaxing,” she says.
My feet are soaking in a warm bath of rosemary, eucalyptus, ginger, and Epsom and Dead Sea salts, which Rager says will help my sore muscles.
I sit back in the massage chair and look out the window. Afternoon sun shines on the South Face of Lone Mountain and filters in through the glass.
In another chair next to me, my friend Kacey is getting a similar treatment, only hers is meant as a detox. Rager pours the blended salts and milk powder into the warm water, plus bicarbonate of soda, which she explains is good for making the body more alkaline. Then she mixes in mustard powder and seaweed powder.
We’re in OZssage’s new Serenity and Barefoot Suite, in the Big Sky Meadow Village. The space, which has a casual feel, is meant for folks who want to get away from everything, Rager says.
The first booking, Rager says, is a couple that plans to bring champagne with them, and spend the evening starting with the Barefoot Spa for two followed by 60 minute massages.
OZssage has been around for a decade, and Rager, the owner, has the hands of a healer. Through a combination of training, experience and intuition, she knows where you need help—and sometimes why—and she can’t help herself but help you.
“The foot soaks are traditionally Asian based,” she says, comparing it to a tea ceremony. Her salts and herbs are all in separate glass jars, and she mixes them in ceramic bowls, presenting them on a beautiful tray covered in black cloth.
The room around us is private feeling, but open and airy. The decorations are simple. The suite, which just opened in December, also has two massage tables, and space for facials, wraps and yoga. It’s meant for groups of 2-6 to spend time relaxing and moving between different treatments.
The different treatment options are on OZssage’s website, and clients can pick from that menu, then tailor it to what they want when they’re in the suite.
Because the feet have the biggest pores in the body, the soaks can really make people feel better, Rager says.
She works on my feet, using acupressure points. She knows by looking that my feet are muscle tired—as opposed to Kacey’s, which show tiredness.
“The Asian foot and Thai massage is meant to move and open the meridians,” Rager says, holding my one foot at a time and working with a gentle, firm touch.
“The feet tell a lot. According to Chinese medicine, the sensory nerves of the internal organs are mainly gathered around the soles of the feet. You can pick up on general energy level, tightness or fatigue.”
While Asian points help massage therapists access and tailor the foot massage to a clients’ needs, but they don’t diagnose, Rager says. “That’s a clear boundary.”
She breaks up “crystal buildup” in my feet, and says she can hear the crunching. “Your feet could use some work.”
Kacey, Rager points out, doesn’t have anything like this—instead, she has a puffy spot behind her toes that signifies a lack of day-to-day energy and general fatigue.
Rager massages Kacey’s feet more gently, in an effort to get more flow, and then rubs hot rocks on her shins and calves. This, Rager says, is more supportive work.
These type of treatments help people be more relaxed, and even sleep better, she explains, suggesting them as a way to unwind wind after travel and to start a vacation off right.
“OZssage is about educating people about massage and its benefits,” she says, then shows us spots on our own feet we can massage at home to help us feel better.
Next we move to the massage tables, where Rager sets us up individually with a self-heating seaweed mud made by Phytomer, designed to help relax and detoxify the spine.
My back hurts, and I go into it thinking it’ll be nice to lie down, but wondering how the mud could actually help me feel better.
I lay down on the cool mud, and it started bubbling as it warmed, like champagne on my back. Rager massaged our shoulders and feet, and my back began relaxing. We stayed there for five, 10 or 15 minutes—I’m not sure.
The suite’s treatments have extra time built in, so there’s time for transition and lounging—time meant to let people feel at home.
“It doesn’t seem like a lot happened, but you’ll feel a lot better,” Rager said as we left.
Driving home from work that night, my back, which had previously felt tight and stiff from a weekend of ice climbing and eight hours at my desk, now was relaxed and no longer sore. My feet felt light and comfortable, something I never even knew I needed because I’d never felt it before. ozssage.com