I’m guessing that a great deal of you will think I’m totally bonkers when I tell you that I have never truly had any great interest in going to a spa to have a lovely relaxing massage. You see, the problem is that I’m not really a very touchy feely person, and the thought of a stranger rubbing me into a state of complete relaxation actually put the fear of God in to me for a while there! I am also very body conscious, which doesn’t exactly help matters. Over the past few years as my poor, poor body has aged and ached, I’ve actually been tempted to go for a massage on the odd occasion, but have never seen it through. Yes, I am totally mad.
Recently, I have been having quite a bit of trouble getting to sleep at night and often wake up more than three or four times. I have also been suffering quite a bit with neck and back pain due to the exceptionally poor posture that I opt to use when I sit at my desk during the day. It’s not entirely my fault – Fat Cat and Betsy do not help matters by fighting to sit on my lap all of the time!
Anyway, the other week, when Spa & Massage asked me if I’d like to come along to try out their newly launched, ‘Dream On’ Massage to help alleviate my sleep deprivation problems, I ummed and ahhed about it for a while and then decided to take the plunge and booked an appointment for Monday afternoon. Spa & Massage are open 7 days a week from 10am-11pm and have a no-appointment-necessary policy. That’s some pretty long opening hours for those of us with aches and pains, and extremely convenient indeed for busy Londoners who need to unwind at any time of the day.
My appointment was at 4pm in Belsize Park, one of Spa & Massage’s five venues in London. The spa itself is on the high street, but once you step through the doors you instantly leave the hustle and bustle behind and find yourself in an extremely relaxing and calming environment. Alex came along with me and was hoping to book in for a taster massage, but alas it turned out that we had arrived on a particularly busy day and there was nothing available for him during the time I was there. He could have waited until after my appointment, but opted to relax in one of their massage chairs and have a lovely, refreshing and complimentary detox tea instead.
The ‘Dream On’ massage integrates reflexology, Swedish and head massage over one hour and was designed to help achieve a deeper, more restful quality of sleep whilst restoring a sense of well-being and balance. I have to admit it took me some time to relax and get used to the whole situation that I had put myself in, but after about 20 minutes I finally managed to loosen up and take in the warmth of the massage table and fall into a state of complete relaxation. Vera, my masseuse, quietly commented that posture is particularly important and that mine was not great… See what you have done Fat Cat and Betsy?! She spent time adding light pressure to the back of my body and then quite some time on the upper half of my body. I then turned over, for a small amount of massage time on my neck. I’m not quite sure what happened to the head massage part, but she obviously knew what she was doing because I was felling pretty chilled out. Finally, Vera headed downwards towards my feet… Now this slightly worried me as I’m known to be extremely ticklish, but I battled on through and practically fell asleep on the table!
When I left the Spa, I felt utterly relaxed and came away wondering why I had never gone for a massage before… I also smelled of lovely lavender oil and had wonderfully soft skin! When I went to bed, I had a fantastic night’s sleep and over the past few nights have only woken once.
All in all, I had a pleasant experience at Spa & Massage. I’ll certainly go again, to try out one of their spas closer to home. I think I should probably opt for a 90 minute massage, just until I really get used to the whole concept of relaxing a bit quicker. I love the fact that they are open until 11pm as it would be ideal to pop in last thing at night and totally wind down with a ‘Dream On’ massage just before heading to bed. I’m also very tempted to try out one of their deep-tissue massages.
I’d recommend booking a slot in if you are desperate to go at a certain time of day, but have been assured that there are usually enough staff to cover all walk-ins. Alex was just extremely unlucky on this occasion and missed out. London is a highly populated city, full of people wanting massages to help them unwind and Spa & Massage seems to be a pretty popular place to do this. Why I waited so long, is beyond me!
Do you often go for massages and if so how often?
The ‘Dream On’ massage lasts for 60 minutes and costs £60
It is available at all five of Spa & Massage’s clinics which are located in Earls Court, Bayswater, Fitzrovia, Camden and Belsize Park
More details can be found here: www.spaandmassage.co.uk