A massage with Beata Aleksandrowicz is always a special experience. The creator of Pure Massage has trained therapists in Dormy House, Amilla Fushi in the Maldives and most recently The Lanesborough in London. But you can’t beat Beata herself.
Today, I head to her Fulham studio to try her Body Movement Pure Massage.
The treatment is performed through clothes, and as I am wearing inappropriate skinny jeans and a silk top, Beata lends me a clean pair of leggings and T-shirt.
She gets me stand facing her and breathe in and out through my mouth, which is a little disconcerting. There’s also a lot of eye-to-eye contact, which I’m a little uncomfortable with – there’s a reason I’m a writer and a spy, people – but she has smiling eyes which makes me smile too.
We then stretch up and side to side, very slowly. “No rush,” Beata says in her soft, deep Polish accent. “You have time.” I bend forward “vertebrae by vertebrae,” while her finger tips trace each bump in my spine as it folds. Then slowly up again. I feel myself decelerate and ease into a lower gear.
I lie on the massage table face up. Beata cleans wraps my feet in warm towels. She then pulls my legs to stretch my spine. The massage begins with her rhythmically rocking me from bottom to top, beginning with my feet and up my legs, torso, shoulders, then each of my arms. How she is doing this, I have no idea as my eyes are closed, but it’s like being rocked in a baby bouncer. Eventually, my muscles loosen and I feel quite sleepy. Beata says it also realigns my ligaments and restores balance.
Thus loosened, my muscles are subjected to some energetic kneading – quite painful at first – followed by some intense stretching. Sometimes she lifts my limbs and circles them in their sockets. Other times she leans on me for a deeper stretch. I am fairly sure that, at certain points, she is up on the table and climbing along my body. All through this, Beata encourages me to breathe into the stretch, so after a while, I become more flexible. It does feel strangely relaxing even though my body is doing its own yoga class.
When I lie on my front, the lovely rocking begins again, followed by the kneading and stretching, using her forearms on my glutes and backs of my thighs.
I enjoy it so much, I don’t want it to end. My favourite part is when she puts me in child’s pose on the bed and presses along my back and vertebrae. To finish, I sit on the end of the bed, and Beata presses down on my shoulders, getting me to breathe out and release all the tension there. She massages my neck, stretching it from side to side and does chopping motions on the shoulders. My head gets a thorough massage too, followed by knocking all over my scalp.
At the end
Beata gives me a couple of stretching exercises to ease the tension I’ve been holding in my lower back of late. She tells me this massage is very popular with athletes, but she really wants people who are not confident about their bodies to try it. The aim, she says, is to connect with our bodies, to be aware of what they need, but also what they are capable of, to realise they are stronger and more flexible than they think.
This treatment reminds me of a proper Thai massage (the best one I've had, on a yoga retreat in Thailand, sweetie), but far more enjoyable. Beata’s version made me feel very connected to so many areas of my body I hadn’t been aware existed. I felt happily relaxed while it was happening and increasingly energised towards the end. All that deep breathing and stretching was blissfully heady, like a seasoned yoga bunny doing my asanas in my sleep.
Halfway through, I was already thinking about booking my next session it felt so good. I felt really energised, balanced and in a happy, positive mood. There were no aches and pains the next day either. I’m addicted.