I was pre-warned that it wouldn’t be wise to plan an eventful evening or even drive home straight after my pampering session at the Sanctuary Spa in London’s Covent Garden, but I didn’t imagine I’d be so blissfully zoned out afterwards that the two-minute walk to the tube station, or indeed, remembering to get off at my home stop, would prove as much of a challenge.
Sanctuary’s new Spa Therapies treatment trio, and complementing product range, are designed to either Relax, Revive or send you to Sleep; each 55-minute session is tailored specifically to individual needs and carried out in one of the spa’s cosy, low lit rooms. In this instance, after a consultation with my therapist Theresa, I chose Relax. The thought of a ‘calmer body and mind’ and shiatsu-inspired massage won over the promise of being sent into a deep state of ‘physical dreaming’ using Ylang Ylang, Patchouli and Frankincense, and slumber-inducing rocking motions in the Sleep option. Equally, at 6.30pm on a Wednesday evening, the idea of being revived and revitalised by grapefruit, lemongrass and orange essential oils sounded a bit too rock and roll – rather one for the day when there’s shopping to be done, or before a night out.
The combination of a giant hot water bottle (or to refer to it by its official name, hydrotherm mattress), essential oils of Cedarwood, Vetivert and Labdanum (the latter a woody scented resin used in ancient medicine for pain relief), the right pressure points being pushed and long, sweeping, uninterrupted strokes, left me in that aforementioned zombie state. The hydrotherm mattress was key to the treatment’s success. I silently scoffed at the ridiculousness of it when Theresa first peeled back the towels and advised me that that was what I would be lying back on for the session. Trying to get myself up on to it was an amusing episode in itself; thankfully I was left alone for that bit. But, as soon as the first dose of warmed Melting Body Fondant was applied and Theresa was able to massage my back without me having to turn around midway through the treatment I wondered why no one had thought to invent this before. I’ve always hated that point in a massage when you have to wake yourself up enough to turn around.
I lay there floating effortlessly as pressure points were pushed along both sides of my spine, down my calves and ending at my feet, inhaling and exhaling deeply with each one as I was instructed, to help ease tension and encourage circulation-boosting lymphatic drainage. The added movement from the water-filled cushioning creating a sensation of being massaged my more than one pairs of hands at once; a rather surreal, but wonderfully indulgent feeling. My neck and shoulder, something I noted as a concern on the pre-treatment questionnaire, were given special attention with extra pummelling. A glow-giving facial using the spa’s Polishing Hot Cloth Cleanser, Pore Refining Toner and Therapist’s Secret Facial Oil, and Indian head massage were other highlights of the treatment.
My Relax session culminated in Theresa talking me through the homecare advice she’d drawn up as an on-going solution to ease reoccurring muscle tension and help rid my mind of the daily worries that can sometimes keep me awake at night. A recipe for a homemade detox drink first thing to cleanse the liver; a trio of yoga postures to align my spine, stretch my shoulders and back, and unwind muscles – which she demonstrated – and motherly advice such as wearing a scarf on chillier evenings to stop the cold getting into my neck, were all part of the tips I was given before being sent on my dozy way. All in all a fantastic treatment, which actually feels like you’re getting your money’s worth. Just make sure you have a chauffeur waiting to take you home at the end.
The Sanctuary Spa Therapies treatments are available at the Covent Garden Day Spa or at the Sanctuary Boutique Spas in Bristol, Richmond and Cambridge. For more information visit The Sanctuary Spa website.