A swift straw poll amongst my girlfriends suggested that the most popular reason for having a massage was an attempt to sort out stiff, aching shoulders -- the curse of the laptop user! When I interviewed Tania Mattock, from Savana Urban Spa, about spa treatments which help lower back pain, she suggested that I try a pregnancy cushion massage. As throbbing shoulders and twinges in my lower back are part of my everyday life, I jumped (well, winced) at the chance!
First things first. I have no happy announcements to make, so, no, I'm not pregnant. But that's no problem at all if you want to try a "pregnancy cushion massage". The cushions just allow you to lie painlessly on your tummy; perfect if you are pregnant but also great if you have bigger boobs, a big tummy, or just need some extra attention on your back.
The treatment couch looked no different to usual. I was expecting a pile of cushions on the floor! But no. However, once I was on the couch, the difference was clear. Thanks to the design of the "cushions" (actually cleverly constructed foam pads) you're much more comfortable. I felt supported, almost weightless; the cushions really made a huge and surprising difference.
The cushions work with your anatomy, and encourage you to lie in the most comfortable way possible. They feel softer than lying on a couch and, because they echo the curves and contours of your body, the cushions reduce muscle stress and tension. All of which combine to give you a great massage experience.
As for the massage, well, if Savana Spa were only runners-up in the Good Spa Awards Most Marvellous Massage category this year, then I can't imagine how spectacular the massages are at SenSpa at Careys Manor! Suffice to say, after all the expert advice she gave on back issues, Tania delivered probably the most thorough and therapeutic massage I've ever had. Relaxing? Um, no, this was all about results. But could I move my neck and shoulders in a way I've only dreamt of afterwards? Oh, yes!
Afterwards, Tania showed me the difference between lying on the couch with and without the cushions. I have to say, if you've ever felt uncomfortable lying face down on a massage couch, a pregnancy cushion massage will be a dream come true. I'm waiting for word from the American company who make them, so I can track down other spas around the UK which use them. As soon as I have news, I'll update this entry. In the meantime, go to London, see Tania -- it's worth it!