When I mentioned I had booked a hot stone therapy massage on Twitter recently, a number of people asked me about it so I thought I’d write about my experience.
I bought a voucher from Wahanda through one of its infamous Mobdeals, which allowed me one treatment of my choice from the selection provided. Instantly I wanted to try the hot stone therapy massage, which I’d never had done before so I went for a 75 minute full body treatment at Heavenly Spa in London.
Located in a quiet mews, and a stone’s throw-away from Paddington station, you can be guaranteed utter tranquillity from the moment you arrive on the doorstep. The spa has an excellent website where you can book your treatment online, or if you prefer, to telephone directly.
To my satisfaction, the appointment was quickly confirmed by email and a follow-up telephone call was made two days before. It’s wonderfully convenient more salons are using emails and text messaging to confirm bookings. I tend to worry about verbally finalising plans on the telephone and fearing my appointment will be forgotten about.
I was informed I had free use of the spa’s facilities of a swimming pool, gym and sauna either before or after my treatment but I had to notify the spa in advance over this because it is a small place. I wasn’t particularly bothered so I told them I’d only arrive in time for my massage.
I chose a Sunday afternoon for my treatment so I could drive and park in the area easily. Trekking from North West London to West London where Paddington is on public transport is not particularly straight-forward and at weekends, it’s problematic as there are always engineering works and limited services so the fact I could take my car and leave it parked in a safe spot worked out very well.
Arriving at the spa about 15 minutes before my appointment, there was some confusion over timings and I was told I could use the facilities until my appointment half an hour later than usual. I thought that was a little odd after specifying I was happy to skip the facilities and go straight for my treatment (I hadn’t brought any swimwear) but with half an hour to kill, I decided to take advantage of their sauna.
After I waited in a relaxation room until I was called for my treatment. A member of staff arrived to inform me my therapist was a man, and that he was the only one present so I had little choice in the matter. It was slightly alarming at first but fortunately I was fine about it. I’ve scanned the website to see if the spa mentions anything about male and female therapists but I couldn’t find anything so beware, if you are sensitive about such things, you might want to mention your preference to the spa in advance.
My therapist introduced himself and led me to the treatment room. He thought I had booked a lymphatic massage (a treatment designed to encourage the flow of lymph fluids, which removes toxins and excess water from the body’s tissue). I had booked online and had the treatment confirmed by email and on the phone so I don’t know the wrong treatment had been registered on their system. Luckily he returned to tell me it was fine and from this point, the service didn’t falter.
So what is a hot stone massage? It uses warm, black volcanic stones with essential oils to help muscles loosen and relax more quickly, and is ideal for improving circulation, releasing tension in a gentle, non-invasive way. The stones also have the effect of re-mineralising and exfoliating the body, providing a calm, soothing sensation.
My treatment began with a few hot stones being placed strategically along my spine over a towel. The warmth of the stones immediately calmed and relaxed my state of mind. When placed correctly, the stones directly target the trouble spots with their hot temperatures.
As the stones soothed me, the therapist began to massage essential oils, beginning with the legs and feet and then the back, shoulders and arms. Then smaller hot stones were rolled along my legs, back and shoulders.
The toughest part of the treatment were when my shoulders were massaged. My arms were folded behind my back (one side at a time) and it was somewhat difficult for me to unwind. My initial reaction was for my muscles to tense up the moment I felt sharp pains, and this led my therapist to repeatedly tell me to relax. He asked me it was too painful but I didn’t want him to go easy as it wouldn’t feel like the treatment was working so I gritted my teeth as he untied all the knots in my shoulders.
After 75 minutes, my treatment had come to an end and the outcome was sheer bliss. It was like all my aches and pains had been ironed out. The tension in my back and shoulders had dispersed, leaving me feeling light and re-energised. Quite how long that will last is another matter altogether but as far as massages go, Heavenly Spa left me content.
A hot stone therapy massage at Heavenly Spa costs £90 for 75 minutes. For more information on this treatment and others, visit www.heavenlyspa.co.uk.