For Coast massage therapist Shirley Bu, her work is more than just a job. It’s a way she can give service to everyone in the town centre community.

“I feel a real responsibility to make everyone who comes to me healthier and happier. If they are happier, then their families will be happier.

That’s my biggest motivation for continuing to work in this industry.”

Shirley will be a familiar face to many Coasties – she worked in the town centre for two years, operating Magic Massage.

But now she is back in the newly renovated centre, with a new store and a new brand – Lan Massage is open on Level 3, next to the Majestic Tea.

The store’s name was inspired by Shirley’s nickname – Lan means orchid flower and represents elegance, serenity, nobility and longevity.

She has been a massage therapist for 17 years, beginning in her homeland of Taiwan, and is a firm believer in the healing powers of massage.

People’s work and home lives are stressful, particularly in 2020, and if the tension they carry in their bodies is not released, over time it can result in injury or long-term health problems, Shirley says.

We all use different muscles in our everyday lives and allowing those muscles to relax improves our blood circulation.

Applying pressure to acupuncture points releases muscle and emotional tension, helping relieve anxiety and stress, she says.

Shirley, who came to New Zealand three years ago, specialises in deep tissue massage but varies her technique to suit the client. “Every customer has a different body and different areas of tightness – people who are big gym goers have different needs from mothers who carry kids all day.”

She also uses different oil blends for different clients.

People can book a full range of massage services at Lan Massage, starting from a five-minute neck massage right through to a three-hour luxurious whole-body massage. Shirley can work with or without oil, depending on the client’s preference. She also offers cupping and reflexology.

When Shirley, who lives in Stanmore Bay, goes to the supermarket or the park, she frequently runs into customers who tell her how much they love what she has done for their health.

One loyal client was a woman who had suffered headaches every day for 10 years, disturbing her sleep. She usually wake up few times in the evening because of painful headache. And leaving her unable to work or help her husband in their business. But after having weekly massages, the headaches reduced and her health improved significantly.

Shirley treats both men and women and her clients cover a wide age range – her youngest is 15 and her oldest is 96. She has several customers in their 80s and 90s and is amazed at their strength and vitality.

“In Taiwan, my oldest customers were in their 70s and I had to be very careful when I massaged them,” she says.

She is looking forward to opening the new shop and getting back to work on her regular clients.

“I’m so grateful to my customers for supporting me since I started working on the Coast.”

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