You may have noticed that we have a brilliant offer this month thanks to The Wellness Centre, tucked down Croosh Mews off Northcote Road. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I booked in for my complimentary 30 minute massage and left my husband and two boys to an intensive Lego-buliding session while I took some time for myself.
Not sure what to expect, and only ever having experienced spa-type treatments ranging from Deep Tissue to Hot Stones (possibly twice a year if the stars align) or intensive physio three years ago to correct a very wonky shoulder (not the correct medical term), I arrived with a sense of intrigue and some trepidation. My appointment was with John Brodie, owner of the practice who trained in Shiatsu, a form of Japanese pressure point massage, at The Shiatsu College in London for 5 years. He then assisted with teaching there for another 5 years, before branching out on his own. Normally I would ask for a woman to do my massage but on this occasion, I decided to ‘man-up’ and go with the flow.
My concerns on this front were immediately allayed, asked as I was to simply leave my shoes outside and to take off only my coat. No smelly lotions and potions here, nor the slight awkwardness of being handed paper knickers to put on (once, in Greece and a relative novice to the world of R&R, I panicked when left alone with these and wondered if they were for my head or my bottom – they have a certain hair-net style about them. Thankfully, I saw sense as I spotted the two leg openings and put them on the right part of me before the therapist returned).
But I digress. Back to the Northcote Road and the secret space that is the pod of The Wellness Centre. The therapy room is small, square and all white with a lovely splash of green from a bamboo plant in one corner and a glass roof so you can see out to the clouds above.
We sat on the navy futon-style mattress and John asked me about any particular areas of concern (wonky shoulder) and whether there was anything else I was especially interested in focusing on (my feet). His manner is both friendly and very calming, slowing me down instantly from my usual headless-chicken-five-things-to-do-at-once-crazy-lady demeanour. He could see help was needed.
I then lay on my front on the mattress with my head turned to the side and a bolster cushion under my ankles, and the massage began. The philosophy of The Wellness Centre is to promote wellness and balance in your lifestyle and to build this kind of massage into your fit and healthy day-to-day, rather than turning to massage simply in response to a problem. With this in mind, John worked on my back, shoulders, neck and arms to amazing effect. At times very intense and verging on the painful, he would find and hold onto knots and encouraged me to breathe deeply and relax while the feeling ebbed away. Most of the time, John used his hands, but at one point he applied considerable weight onto my entire back which left me feeling a little squashed, but in a good way. I could feel my bones relaxing and spreading so that my body just had more room, somehow.
I then turned onto my back and relaxed completely into the mat, with reminders from John about breathing. He worked on my shoulders, arms, hands and then feet. Again, some areas of focus caused quite an intense feeling which gradually ebbed and flowed away.
Over the next couple of days, I thought I might have some soreness in the areas that had been particularly worked on, but nothing. Just still this feeling of looseness and liberated joints.
The Wellness Centre sees this kind of treatment as therapeutic. By the end, I did feel calm and strangely ‘centred’, and quite inspired by the idea of building this into the rest of my typically ‘NappyValley’ busy lifestyle. By doing so, I might just create an environment for my body which prevents future aches and pains, and that can only be a good thing. And having an hour or so to myself every now and then can’t be bad either.
When I returned home to a warm sofa, Smarties, popcorn, three boys in a row (one big, two small) and Back to the Future 3, I thought I’d be asleep within five minutes. But I wasn’t. I felt revived and rejuvenated. Got to love Michael J Fox and Doc in the Wild West. However, we do now have an 8 year old vaguely obsessed and confused by the finer details of time travel. Perhaps it’s time to book in for my next Shiatsu massage….
The special offer of a free 30 minute Wellness massage for new customers is available through NappyValleyNet for the rest of February. (click here)