Spring has definitely sprung down here in Brighton. I had that long-forgotten feeling of the sun warming my back, as I sat enjoying a spot of Easter Bank Holiday laziness in a cafe overlooking the sea. It's similar to that sense of of happiness and well-being that I always get after a good spa session. A spring in my step, a smile on my face and, for an all-too-brief time, a sense that all is right with the world.
So how to keep that feeling going for longer? Well, one popular option is to spa at home. I know that when we wrote about home-spa-ing for a recent newsletter, it was a really popular feature. With that in mind, we've been checking out a few spa-related gadgets and gizmos to see if you can keep that good spa feeling going at home.
First up from Scholl, a Rolling Shiatsu Massager. It's a rather unpromising-looking plug-in device, around the size of a hand-held liquidiser. You click the base around and the massager varies speed, from a gentle pummelling to a full-tilt thrashing which managed to send the dog fleeing from the room.
But what's the Scholl Rolling Shiatsu Massager like? Well, surprisingly nice, actually, and a great idea for anyone who lives alone or has a partner who either won’t give them a massage or worse: gives bad massages! But is it a shiatsu massage? Hmm, well, no, I don't think so. Shiatsu is a whole-body, holistic treatment that combines massage, acupressure and stretching. The word shiatsu means "finger pressure", and sometimes shiatsu is described as "acupuncture without needles".
The Scholl hand-held massager has four nodules which spin in a circle under a soft cloth covering to create an enjoyable pitter-patter of pressure. Because you operate it yourself, unless you're a qualified shiatsu therapist, it's unlikely that you'll be working on the right pressure points. All I did was trace it along my body or let it rest wherever I felt stiff or achey, but "shiatsu" aside, I enjoyed the sensation. Once you block out the annoying sound, the effect feels quite therapeutic. I found an ideal solution by popping my earphones in, and turned on my iPod to some Now That's What I Call Chill-Out music to block out the racket!
I began with the most gentle speed and gave myself a thoroughly enjoyable five-minute head massage. My neck definitely felt a little less creaky afterwards and my scalp felt pleasingly tingly. I tried the massager on my shoulders -- slightly tricky to get the right angle there -- and down my back. I think it felt best on my stiff sciatic nerve, running down from my hip, past my buttocks all the way to my ankle. For less than the price of a good spa massage, it's certainly a good value quick-fix gizmo that could make for a fun de-stresser. Recommended!