Insider's Guide to Spas
Lake Austin Spa Resort


Manaka Tapping

Rima Suqi

The Treatment:

Manaka Tapping

Time & Cost of Treatment:

50 minutes, $165

Manaka tapping is a tough treatment to properly describe, so I’ll start by quoting from the spa’s brochure: “your body’s acupoints are softly tapped with a wooden hammer and peg in percussive stimulation technique.” Which is true, but my practitioner did much more than that during our treatment, which I found both interesting and very effective.

That practitioner was Aaron Rubinstein, an acupuncturist with a practice in Austin. I have acupuncture monthly, so we began by having a conversation about what sorts of treatment I’d been having and why, while he also checked my body for trigger points.

He started the treatment with some Japanese acupuncture, using a gold-plated blunt needle. It felt like someone was writing on my back using a ballpoint pen – not at all painful, but interesting. Later, in an email, Aaron explained that this was done to “adjust the overall balance of the nervous system, to move it into a more recuperative mode of function.”

This was followed by the actual Manaka tapping, which was done using a wooden peg and a small mallet. Aaron used these to tap along my meridians, to a specific beat/time set by a metronome. Aaron explained that the “thinking is that by striking the peg, a piezoelectric effect is produced that then stimulates blood flow and produces a relaxation of the muscle.”

Aaron asked if I’d be open to cupping to help release some of the (probably massive) tension in my shoulders.  At first he left the cups on various spots across my shoulders – then he started sliding them around. I’d never had that before – it was intense, but fantastic. Very deep kind of a la shiatsu, but not painful, and I felt it really worked.

Best For:

I feel everybody could benefit from this treatment – especially those into trying something new. Manaka tapping is not something you’ll find offered in many (if any) spas in the United States.


If you want to lie down on a table and totally space out, maybe fall asleep, then this is not for you.



Rima Suqi

Rima Suqi

An avid world traveler raised in an international home, Rima has explored and covered emerging destinations in the Middle East and Africa, far-flung luxury resorts in French Polynesia, as well as those closer to home, and the burgeoning arts scene in Marfa, Texas. Rima has traveled to over 30 countries, writing about the trends and tastemakers for leading travel and lifestyle publications, and subjected herself to innumerable spa treatments — sometimes under very odd circumstances — all in the name of journalism. A weekly contributor to The New York Times Home section, Rima held the envious position of Best Bets Editor at New York Magazine for six years, and is regularly published in national magazines including T Magazine/The New York Times, Departures, Architectural Digest, Elle Décor and American Way. Her last book American Fashion: Designers at Home (Assouline) in partnership with CFDA, sold out three printings.