Ohashiatsu therapy at The Residence in Zanzibar, Tanzania

The Residence at Zanzibar

One weekend in October, in Tanzania, living a Travelife, I booked a special kind of shiatsu massage just before leaving the lovely island of Zanzibar.

We were staying at The Residence, a beautiful and sprawling resort that is probably the best place to stay in Zanzibar, especially if you are looking for somewhere outside of Stone Town.

Sunset from The Residence at Zanzibar

All accommodations are villas with private pools, and many face the sea.

Zanzibar has a most beautiful sunset, by the way.

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January 17 – 19, 2014
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Stone Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site and it’s Zanzibar’s major attraction.

It’s obviously seen better days, and it could sure use more extensive repairs and renovations.

But if you look at Stone Town, with its lovely old shophouses and Islamic influence, through rose-colored glasses, you will certainly be enchanted.


However, we just went to Stone Town just for the day, and for a nice lobster lunch right by the sea at the Serena Inn.

The Serena Inn is probably the best place to stay in Stone Town proper right now.

It’s quaint and nicely done, but it doesn’t have a feeling of space or luxury compared to the beach resorts.

We ordered the lobster and a tandoori chicken, plus a fish carpaccio to start and their special banana dessert to end, and we shared everything.

I really enjoyed this lunch.


Then we headed back to The Residence just to chill and enjoy a relaxing dinner.

When booking our hotels in Tanzania, which the Travel Companion left entirely to me, I chose to stay on the beach and then just head into Stone Town for the day.

This way, we could have a relaxing holiday by the beach and yet also experience the cultural aspect of Stone Town at the same time.

It was a very good idea, and we certainly enjoyed the best of both at The Residence

On Saturday, just before checking out of The Residence to catch a flight to Dar es Salaam, I booked a session of ohashiatsu at the hotel’s Carita Spa, just because the name intrigued me.

The Residence Zanzibar is the first hotel spa in the world to provide Ohashiatsu treatment to its guests.

They’ve even built a pavilion entirely dedicated to Ohashiatsu.

It was perfect timing for a session anyway, as the Travel Companion was pretty content to just fiddle with his iPad for an hour or two, while I was at the spa.


Ohashiatsu is an energy-based therapy treatment that is molded on Japanese shiatsu, with Thai stretching and Indian yoga thrown in.

In Japanese, “Ohashi” means “big bridge,” the perfect symbol for a treatment that brings the Eastern approaches of healing to the West.

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It was developed over 35 years by Wataru Ohashi, a Japanese shiatsu master based in New York, who apparently has a loyal roster of famous clients. 

His roster of clients for ohashiatsu include Liza Minnelli, George Balanchine, Stan Getz, Ralph Lauren, Muhammad Ali and Henry Kissenger.

Well, I have to say that it was unlike any other massage I had ever had before.

It’s bodywork taken to the next level, with the following additional benefits:

– Increased endurance and flexibility
– Strength-building and posture-building, similar to Pilates
– Revitalization
– Release of stress

Ohashiatsu involves a lot of stretching and rotation of limbs to activate energy points and loosen up joints.

“The key to happiness is to know your weaknesses, know your strengths, and live accordingly. Through self knowledge, you discover where your talents lie and those things that do not support your life. Once you make those discoveries, you are enlightened. All there is left to do is to live a happy life.”

– Wataru Ohashi 

My session was done by Fahdel, the spa master, and he was excellent.

He was highly recommended by the hotel management.

I ended my session completely relaxed and rejuvenated, and ready to begin my next adventure in my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.