On the Masseuse’s Couch…
Blissful relaxation delivered to your own door
Review by Tori Snowball
“Fast beauty” and “beauty on demand” are hot buzz words at the moment; in our fast paced and digitalised lifestyle where we can order almost anything to our door, whenever we want so why not our beauty treatments? And whilst I am perfectly comfortable ordering my hair and nails “to go” I was curious to try ordering-in from the traditional spa realm of massage.
First of all, the Urban Massage website makes this super easy, put in your postcode, select from a wide variety of treatments (including thai and sports massages) and choose any slot from the timetable, available by the half hour. I was on the go and booked via my phone browser, very handy. When it comes to selecting your therapist it pulls up a list of available practitioners and you can select from their profiles which includes a star rating and a brief biography. My only downside was I couldn’t see their experience when booking from my phone so had to swap between tabs to check; but when using a desktop it’s all on the one page for you. Although opting for their Urban Classic (sometimes you just want a good all over massage) I wanted to find someone who either had solid spa experience or could perform sports massage, I’m the sort of person who likes to basically be pummelled in a massage. I eventually settled on Penny who had worked in 5 star UK spas and the British Airways lounges, an impressive history, I couldn’t wait to quiz her on her move to mobile therapy.
I made the booking to counter balance the effects of a four hour flight, giving myself plenty of time to get back. No such luck due to flight delays and some drunken Englishmen in the customs queues; I screeched back home running late, feeling frazzled and certainly needing some form of therapy and attention to my puffy post flight limbs (never underestimate the power of an ankle massage). Penny was already there and the support team were really efficient on the communications as I garbled my apologies down the phone. I fully expected to lose some of my allotted time but Penny assured me we would still have the full hour.
With impressive strength she carried her portable treatment bed up the narrow stairs and through my awkward angled flat to the living room which we would convert into a den of peace (that is if my boyfriend hadn’t hurled a bunch of shirts down on the sofa about 5 minutes before starting- distinctly non zen). I was a bit worried about space but with a bit of furniture rearranging it was fine and surprisingly easy to find the room. Penny carefully took me through the relevant questions, asking me what I was after and how I wanted to feel as she switched on some music, a nice addition to bring the spa experience into the home. Even better she mixes her own oil using a base and then allowed me to choose from two scents based on what appealed to me- customising my treatment in a fantastically intuitive way it really brings you into the massage in a multi-sensory way.
Normally I’m not much of a talker during a treatment, I do like to pay attention to what’s happening as it’s difficult for me to separate it from my day job or in cases of extreme tiredness I do fall asleep. However this time I chatted the whole way through, I’m no prude but it could have the potential to feel a bit strange having this sort of treatment at home instead of in a Spa, you are after all pretty naked. Penny made me feel completely at ease, checking the pressure, advising on what muscles actually needed attention compared to what I thought needed attention and just general shop talk. I asked Penny what she liked about working for Urban Massage, probing and with genuine wonder that it must be hard lugging a bed all over south west London but no, she genuinely loved giving treatments and the people she met through the service. An hour of perfect pressured pummelling later plus the healing powers of conversation and I felt thoroughly relaxed but also energised. I’d been advised that my back was terrible, something I can readily believe as I seem to carry around the entire contents of my wardrobe plus a candle or two in my bag at any one time (I of course lied trough my teeth when asked if I carried heavy loads). I felt freer and lighter, balanced and clear ready for the week ahead. As far as I am concerned every Sunday night should be massage night.
Afterwards Penny gave me some considered aftercare advice both long term and short term to enhance the benefits of the treatment, it’s a good touch and not something you always get with a standard high street “in-and-out” door. As well as regular course of treatments to keep nasty knots at bay she also recommended asking my other half to rub my shoulders once a week, which he met with a nervous “never going to happen” laugh when I told him.
Urban Massage is a great idea for an emergency quick fix, a treat for the busy city professional or to fix that stubborn knot that we all sometimes get. I would also recommend it for anyone looking for a course of regular treatments at a time that suits them, especially if recovering from an injury or illness allowing you a healing and beneficial massage in your own home. It would also be great for friends or couples giving you a great treatment without the spa day price tag. Prices start from £65 for an hour, comparable with what you would pay in any day spa with the convenience of not having to leave your own front door and choosing your own therapist.
Technology is allowing us to make more time for these treatments, bringing the spa to us and making massage more accessible. And after all with a really good massage just a few clicks away it’s incredibly easy to buy into this, especially given the lack enthusiasm from my potential aftercare supplier…