Australia kneads you - pub massages in Germany
15 May 2006, STUTTGART - The teams tour the bars and massage customers between beer glasses and stools. The trend comes from Australia and looks like catching on in Germany.
15 May 2006
STUTTGART - The teams tour the bars and massage customers between beer glasses and stools. The trend comes from Australia and looks like catching on in Germany.
Take Frankfurt, for example - "What? Here?" The reaction is usually the same. Bemused customers find it hard to believe what is on offer. "Yes, a massage here, right now and in the bar," says student Alex Huelsberg every time. Brave customers take up the offer.
Once they give the go-ahead, Alex starts to carefully carry out the acupressure movements he has learned. First the shoulder blades are relaxed with the thumbs, later the whole back is massaged. It takes about ten minutes, does not use any oil and patients can keep their clothes on.
There is no fixed price for the service. Most people voluntarily pay between five and ten Euros for the pleasure. Alex is actually studying to be a sports and special education teacher, but at the weekend he becomes a kneader in Frankfurt pubs. A couple of months ago he started working for Neck Attack, a mobile massage service based in Stuttgart.
On Friday and Saturday evening, between 9 pm and one o'clock in the morning, Alex tours the local bars with his colleague Jette and offers Frankfurt punters an extra bit of spontaneous relaxation.
"We were in the Gingko bar in Berger Strasse for three hours at a stretch because suddenly everyone wanted a massage," he says. "We tend to approach people aged between 25 or 50." Young people, especially teenagers, but older people too, are often anxious about being touched.
The idea for Neck Attack was imported from Australia by the founder of the company Chris Walther (born 16 April 1973). Massage fun has been popular in Sydney for the last three years. The idea came to the keen Australia fan when he was studying Down Under.
"Germany has a lot to learn about service culture and this kind of service was unknown," says Walther. There are already massage services for tired office workers and recently state-run German Railway has begun offering such instant relaxation in trains. Chris Walther believes there is room for more expansion. People should make more of the demand for wellness in Germany, he maintains.
Walther set up the Neck Attack company in Stuttgart in autumn 2004, and since then then massage teams have swarmed out to cities such as Berlin, Cologne, Leipzig and Frankfurt. Further forays are planned into Munich, Hamburg and Duesseldorf.
To start with, the firm only had two employees, but now more than 60 freelance physiotherapists and masseurs work at trade fairs, conferences, offices or in people's homes. Some, like Alex from Frankfurt, move from bar to bar. After all, going out for the night is meant to be relaxing.
Subject: German news