an unusually elegant experience


i'm not usually one for elegance, me; i'm a simple girl with simple needs, with an anything-but luxurious life. but, when elegant resorts offered me the chance to indulge in the spoils of an indian ocean resort without leaving the country (although...i would just as easily have taken a trip to the maldives, so we're clear), well... i was hardly going to let that opportunity pass by me now, was i? i may be simple, but i'm not stupid. and, if there's one thing i know i'd be spending all my time doing, should i ever be lucky enough to find myself bored on a tropical island, it's relax with a good massage.

i've had a few lately, some good, some bad. some really, really bad, which is pretty sucky considering all the neck and shoulder problems i've had this year because of a trapped nerve; i end up going to have these treatments to relieve the stress in my shoulders, and end up with more stress from a bad massage. vicious cycle, innit.

so this time, i went off brief, and booked something totally different, just to see if that would make a difference. i looked on wahanda for something close to home, and settled on one that sounded vaguely tropical - it's important to get the whole experience right, isn't it? i chose a treatment from dr alexander at the healing sparsh ayurveda and holistic health centre, right by my house, on stansted road. booked nice and early for saturday morning, so i could start my day right. fingers crossed.

i arrived with a few minutes to spare to the address in the confirmation email. except... the address i had in my confirmation email, and the address i was stood out the front of, were attached to just another house on the road. the only indication it was the right place was a brochure in the window with the name of the treatment i was expecting on it. so far, so different. i rang the bell, and was greeted by dr. alex, dressed in white, who led me through the front door, and into... his front/treatment room, complete with indian relaxation music playing from a laptop on the sofa, and the gas fire burning in the corner. in the middle of the room was the only indication this was the right place; a larger-than-normal massage table, complete with fluffy towels and paper table mat - hole ripped out, ready for my face to make it's mark.

we had a brief chat about my needs, where the pain was, and dr. alex asked me if i knew anything about the treatment i'd be given; as a qualified ayurvedic physician, it was important for him to explain what to expect. let me tell you this: no amount of explanation was going to prepare me for that treatment, but  i was committed to the cause. i stripped down to my underwear and climbed on the bed with nothing but fluffy towels to keep me modest. dr. alex was very friendly and professional, and i felt completely looked after and at ease in his care.

as soon as the treatment began, i was in heaven. whether it was because of the blend of traditional oils he used on my limbs, or the long, fast and firm strokes he used on my tired body, or the pindasweda treatment of small muslin bags full of a herbal mixture - that were heated to the point of scalding, and then pummelled against my stiff and pained muscles - whatever it was, it had me so totally relaxed, comfortable, and at ease, and all despite the fact i was indeed indulging in a deep tissue massage.

the hour drew out, when usually they rush by. he carefully assessed and treated the different sections of my body, ensuring each muscle was tended to. as soon as he was done with one section and moved on to the next, it was like an instant feeling of relief washed over me. i sound like i'm gushing, and rightly so. i have never experienced anything quite like it. we spoke briefly about the other treatments he offers, as well as a whole life consultation - diet, lifestyle, exercise - everything. he offers one on one yoga sessions, to really blend the ayurveda techniques with a healthy mind, and i am truly considering taking up that option up next.

there will definitely be a next, that is for sure. once the whole experience was done, and i was dressed and preparing to leave, dr. alex came to check on how i was feeling. i'm sure the smile on my face was answer enough; i floated out the door and all the way home, already plotting my next treatment.

i can't recommend this unusual treatment option enough. please, have a look and see if there's something similar in your area, right now. because, if we can't make it to a tropical island to relax, you still sure as hell deserve a luxury escape - if only for an hour.



*with thanks to elegant resorts for making my luxury massage dreams come true*

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