I can wholeheartedly say that my first massage experience was definitely memorable.
A petite Filipino lady led me into a compact treatment room for a reflexology massage. I had pounded the streets for days so was in desperate need of respite.
Trousers, shoes, and socks off, I hopped onto the table where I could sense she clocked my tense body. Not knowing what to expect made me on edge. By way of an ice breaker, she tried some chit chat, and began "you have beautiful feet".
I'm not sure what the acceptable response for that is. Is it "why thank you?" or is it "ewww, gross!"? My brain couldn't process this very weird compliment quick enough so I coyly smiled instead. That probably just made things worse.
I mean, can feet even be beautiful? What is the benchmark for beauty? I'm not sure I really want to think about it too much.
The experience thereafter was sublime. An hour of expert manipulation ensued. I expected it might tickle, or hurt, or both, but in fact it was very relaxing and very enjoyable. She combined various intensities of pressure with careful strokes. Reflexology is a complementary health therapy that follows the theory that various parts of the body correspond to areas predominantly on the hands, feet, and legs. While some explanation from my masseuse might have been beneficial, it certainly would have been distracting. Googling my pain points afterwards, it seems my lungs, diaphragm, liver, and pancreas are suffering. Time for another massage then, I reckon!
Types of Mini Spa Treatment
A reflexology massage is just one pampering treat available in a short space of time. Other popular treatments include:
- Massages including foot reflexology, Indian head massages, foot and ankle massages, back massages, neck and shoulder massages, full-body massages, and hot stone massages. Exfoliation treatments help to encourage cell renewal.
- Facials are often paired with scalp, hand, and arm massages.
- Manicures and pedicures are popular either separately or together as a mani-pedi combo.
- Rasul is a sensationally pampering mud cleansing treatment.
I'm proof that there's spa treatments for men as well as women. While it's certainly daunting on your first spa experience, everyone deserves some tender loving care, even the most manly of men.
Why mini spa treatments rock
The great thing about my massage was it took an hour out of my day, so I could fit it in and around other activities. While a day relaxing in the child-free environment of a swish day spa sounds dreamy and an overnight escape to a spa resort sounds sublime, I don't have a great deal of spare time to fit this in between school runs, child care, and work. I doubt I'm alone in this.
Mini massage experiences are ideal for busy people with very little time to spare. An hour during lunch, or before or after work might be the only free time available. These stressed-out people need a bit of TLC now and again. A full blown spa day might pile on the stress, especially if they would struggle to get the time away from family life or off work.
A top notch spa treatment would offer some much-needed respite with the flexibility of fitting in and around daily life.
And if they're not happy with their feet being pummelled, other treatments are available. Some people find a facial relaxing, for others only a full body massage will suffice.
Top tips for an enjoyable massage
- Allow time to get to the venue. Making a mad last minute dash for the spa won't set you in the right frame of mind.
- Relax. It sounds obvious but it is surprisingly difficult to do when a stranger tries to work out your aches and pains. Four-hand massages are ideal for a second or third visit to the spa, especially if you struggle to relax. Two masseurs or masseuses work together so that your brain struggles to follow each hand's movement. It costs a little more (as it requires two staff) but is a better option for people who may have had cringe-worthy first experiences.
- Do a little research beforehand so you know what to expect. Do you just need to take your shirt off, or are you expected to go the full monty? A little prep can ease the mind.
- Choose a reputable spa. A run-down back street office might offer the best rate but do you trust the look of it? The adage "don't judge a book by its cover" may well have merit here, but if would you feel comfortable stripping off in a dingy space?
- Pick a treatment you're comfortable with. Don't like people touching your feet? Avoid reflexology. Hate the thought of stripping off? A full body massage isn't the best choice then. Start with something you're comfortable with. As you try more treatments, you will likely become more comfortable. Enjoy the journey and try a variety of spa treatments to discover what does and does not work for you personally.
Time to Unwind - What You Need To Know
- WHEN: Treatments are available year-round. They are generally short sessions under and hour in length so are ideal for cramming in before or after work, or during your lunch break.
- WHERE: Spa treatments are available at spa resorts, spas, and beauty salons across the land.
- WHO: Mini spa treatments are short sessions designed to pamper you in a short space of time. Relax and unwind over a short space of time while an expert massages the stresses and strains out of your body.
- OCCASIONS: Everyone deserves to feel a million dollars. Modern life easily takes its toll and every now and then it's nice to press pause and enjoy some 'me' time. Mini spa treatments are the ideal gift for Christmas, birthdays, or Mother's Day. They also make wonderful spur-of-the-moment gifts for anyone enduring a lot of stress at work.
- PRICES: Treats generally start from around £15. Longer and more specialised experiences tend to cost more. Some spa treatments also come with other experiences combined, such as a meal or afternoon tea. (correct at the time of writing)
- QUESTIONS: Need help? Ask questions here and I'll try to help as best I can
- TRIED THIS?: Would you recommend it? Share your thoughts here
Top Spa Treatment Choices
I've waded through hundreds of spa treatments to find my favourites.
Pamper Treat Smartbox
This one-size-fits-all experience crams in an unbelievable 1,230 possibilities at locations right across the country. The recipient can choose from a range of treats including a manicure, pedicure, facial, mud scrub, or massage. For maximum choice on a budget, this is a great option.
Full Body Massage
Choose from a dozen locations and enjoy a 50-minute full body massage tailored to your body's specific needs.
Spa Retreat with Afternoon Tea at The Royal Crescent Hotel and Spa, Bath
Enjoy a spot of pampering with a traditional afternoon tea experience. The experience takes place at the Grade I listed Royal Crescent Hotel in Bath. Choose a 60-minute treatment from a variety of facials, whole-body massages, and reflexology. Then, enjoy afternoon tea at the on-site Dower House restaurant.
Shakti Veda Ayurvedic Relax Ritual and Spice Spa for One
Head to St John’s Wood, London, for this indulgent spa treatment. Enjoy a 75-minute warm oil full body massage. Next follows a 15 minute breath-work exercise, before a 15-minute custom made Ayurvedic Spice Spa treatment to help revive your body.
Reflexology massage review
- Fun factor
- Value for money
I really enjoyed my reflexology massage and would happily go back again, especially now I know I have “beautiful feet”! Next time I would relax more and while I would have liked to learn more about what my masseuse was doing and why, that was what Google was invented for.
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