Egyptian masseur plays with fire to ease muscle pain

Abdel Rehim Saeid applies ancient Pharaonic technique known as 'fiery towel'

Reuters September 12, 2019
Massage therapist Abdel Rehim Saeid performs the "fiery towel" method to ease a patient's muscle pain in Gharbia, Egypt. PHOTO: REUTERS

GHARBEYA, EGYPT: An Egyptian masseur plays with fire to relieve his clients' muscle pain at his spa in the Nile Delta governorate of Gharbeya.

Abdel Rehim Saeid, 35, applies the ancient Pharaonic technique, known as the "fiery towel" by starting with a standard massage, using oil and camomile, to stimulate blood circulation and alleviate some of the pain in affected areas.

Then comes the heat.

Saeid places several layers of towels and other isolating materials on the client's back. Then a towel soaked in alcohol is placed on top and set on fire. It burns for roughly a minute before the flames are put out with a wet towel.

"It is ...called a fiery massage," Saeid said, that works by sucking moisture out of the body.


"I communicate with the human body, coming into close contact with the body of the human in front of me," he said.

Saeid said he cannot use the technique with people suffering from high blood pressure, kidney failure or haemophilia.

He said he trained under an expert in the fiery towel technique in Morocco, and had earned several massage certifications from institutions in Egypt.

Mohammed al-Shaer, a client in his 30s, said his pain had improved "100%" after the fiery treatment.

"Before, I could not stand to pray. I couldn't stretch my back when I got out of a car," he said. "Now, after the second session, my body is getting better and my movement is better. I used to be very lazy but this is no longer the case."


Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ