I was led downstairs by my therapist Vellichka, to the warm and cosy candlelit treatment room. Scented with divine sandalwood and soundtracked with calming oriental music, the space was mercifully far removed from the noisy City roads above. (But if you did want to make a day of it, the salon is on hipster-y Whitecross road, lined with trendy coffee shops and restaurants.)
Vellichka told me to put my clothes and belongings into a box that she stored under the table, then left the room while I got undressed (completely – if you’re self-conscious about you’re body, massage probably isn’t going to be a relaxing experience) and lay face down under a towel.
Then Vellichka spent an hour going to work on every inch of me that was uncovered, using wonderfully scented oil. And I mean every inch. I didn’t even know that you could massage someone’s eyebrows. Or between their toes. She mostly concentrated on my back, neck and shoulders, but flipped me over towards the end to give my arms and legs another once over, and also massaged my head. It was all, quite frankly, glorious. The overall sensation was an excellent combination of de-stressing (thanks to the long, soothing strokes across my limbs and back) and the feeling of being slightly pummelled (in a good way) when Vellichka manipulated my muscles with her fingers. I was worried I might fall asleep, but the constantly changing pressure kept me wide awake.
There was only one bit that hurt. I’ve been told before that I carry tension in my shoulders, so Vellichka said if she found any knots she would try to ‘break them,’ but if it was too painful I should tell her. She found two massive knots near my shoulder blades (I’m not kidding, they feel like lumps of bone where there shouldn’t be any) that despite rigorous and repeated attention wouldn’t break. That hurt a bit, but I preferred to endure it to see if those suckers would disappear. I guess this is why they recommend regular massages to work on problem areas.
I think a monthly massage would get rid of those nasty knots and leave me with zen-like levels of chill, but sadly my budget won’t allow for that. At £49 for an hour, this was one of the most affordable hour-long massage treatments on Wahanda, so if it’s within your means I would highly recommend it. If not, why not put a Wahanda voucher on your Christmas wish list and see if Santa can sort you out?
A 1 hour deep tissue massage at Beauty at Barbican Eleven is £49, and at the time of writing is on offer for £29. To book, visit Wahanda.