I had a rare chance this week to take a peek at life from the other side of the treatment couch. I acted as a model during a training session with "Queen of the Cleanse", Eve Lom, at Brighton's Treatment Rooms.
Here at the Good Spa Guide, we're huge fans of Eve. It was a privilege to see the incredible detail that goes into putting together those legendary facials. For instance, where should you lie on the couch? I'd never given it any thought before, just jumped on and settled down. Eve showed her therapists why placement is important: if your head and shoulders are near the top of the couch, your therapist will be able to lean over and use her weight - and gravity - to give good pressure. If you're too far down, she'll have to stretch; you'll end up with a fairy-fingered massage, and she'll end up tired at the end of the day.
Eve described the first touch of a client as "knocking on a door"; her theory is that as a therapist you ask to be let in, to help with what you can. As a client, it's up to us to accept that assistance. Eve's an incredibly authoritative woman; it was a pleasure to listen to her talk and the four therapists-in-training were clearly in awe, hanging on her every word and straining to watch each gesture.
Eve passed around charts of muscles, and described the anatomical details of how each muscle connects across the shoulders, down the chest and ribs. I was the guinea-pig while Eve demonstrated her famous lymphatic massage technique. This massage was unlike any I'd had before; the deft strokes of Eve's hand changed my breathing pattern, I inhaled deeply before slowly breathing out, and felt instantly calm and relaxed: no mean feat , as lying half-naked in a room with four women staring intently at you is not the most relaxing experience!
My skin glowed afterwards and I have never felt such soft skin on my chest. I left The Treatment Rooms with a new-found respect for any therapist who could remember such a complex chain of movements, whilst bearing in mind all the tiny details. It's the miniscule details, from the exact angle of the therapist's hand to the precise way that the special sheet is wrapped, all of which go towards making an Eve Lom facial such a special experience. Book yourself one as a treat - but perhaps skip the on-lookers for most benefit!