I used to think that going for a massage was a luxury, a special treat for the mind and body. I've changed my mind since living and working in London though. Spending the best part of the day at a desk makes my body crave the relaxation and treatment you get from a proper massage.
Last week I headed over to the Gina Conway Aveda Salon & Spa on Westbourne Grove to try out their Fusion Massage. It's actually a really handy location for me working in Paddington, just a short walk away, and they are open until 9pm most weekdays. So carrying the stresses of my day I arrived at the salon which is a really stunning space - spacious and decorated with a mixture of modern and traditional. The hairdressing space is huge too, there are two more rooms than you can see when you walk in.
My therapist showed me to the spa space and treatment room which was cosy, dark and roomy. She started by asking me to get into a towel and pop my feet into the foot bath that was ready and waiting. As the hot water soaked away my troubles, I filled out a short questionnaire to determine my mood and skin type, specifically for that day - the idea being that the oils used during the massage are selected to suit me perfectly. From a shortlist of three scents I chose the citrus one with zingy orange. Of the other two one was quite traditionally floral and the other was quite medicinal.
With the scent chosen I got my feet out of their soak and my therapist used a scrub on them (much needed in my case I might add). I then got comfortable lying face down on the massage table. The massage started after 3 deep inhalations, whereby the scent was put close to my face so I could breathe it in. The masseuse spoke to me to check that her pressure suited me. Personally I like a fairly firm massage so I feel like my muscles have been properly loosened up. There's nothing worse than coming out of a treatment having not felt like you've had anything done at all.
My back and neck were where most of the massage was focused - that's where I need it because of too many hours in an office. I also thought the massage around my ankles and hands was good too. I think they can often be neglected but often benefit from some expert attention. She didn't use too much oil either which is good, so I didn't leave feeling all greasy.
Having, only a couple of weeks earlier, torn a big chunk of calf muscle I was sure to alert the masseuse and as I am still having physio I thought it best for her not to massage this area. She was very sensitive and careful with my injury and I felt completely at ease the whole time and not worried that she might accidentally knock it or forget about it.
The price of the massage I had is at least £75 so it's fairly indulgent, but I am definitely coming round to the idea that paying more does pay off. You could also try a 1/2 hour massage which starts at £48, drop some hints to a loved one! Whether you opt for this spa or another, I definitely think a regular massage should be on every office-worker's agenda. My last massages were when I was on holiday in Egypt in December. Both were good, but I'd left it far too long between sessions.
Next on my list to try is the Medi-Pedi, which is available at the Wimbledon branch of the spa. At 3/4 of an hour or an hour, this is an intensive treatment and I've discovered it just in time for summer. I bet most of us aren't too pleased with our feet at the moment, mine could do with lots of TLC.