Pleasure or pain?
In an attempt to alleviate the January blues, and to take my mind off my return to work after a lovely long festive break, I decided it was time to redeem the Spa Gift Voucher given to me by some very generous friends way back in September.
I guess I’m what you could call a bit of a ‘Spa Virgin’, having only ever been once or twice in my entire life. Some of you regular pamper loving ladies may be horrified to learn that, at forty something, I’ve only ever had one massage, one facial and one full Spa Day experience... ever!
I guess it’s just never been a priority of mine (always something more pressing or practical to spend my money on), not to mention the fact that I find it extremely difficult to part with that much cash on something that feels so self-indulgent – a mind-set I am trying desperately to change (there’s nothing wrong with self-indulgence every now and then... I know).
Anyway, cost is something I did not need to worry about this time, this was a gift and I was going to enjoy it... guilt free, self indulgent pamper time at the Thorpe Park Hotel & Spa in Leeds.
So, what treatment to choose? Facial, massage, manicure, pedicure, make-up lesson... chin wax?! After much deliberation, I decided to go for the ‘YTSARA Na Plai Recovery Head Massage’ (lasts for 40 mins and costs £45) and so, I got myself booked in.
Expecting to be sitting in a chair, having my head massaged with a few aromatherapy oils, I was a little surprised to be asked to take off my boots and socks. I was a tad horrified too if I’m honest (had I known, I’d have paid a little more attention to the condition of my ‘winter’ feet before I went!) The lovely therapist, Laura, explained that as this was a Thai treatment, they like to do things in the traditional Thai way, which is apparently to cleanse and massage the feet to relax you before your treatment. Laura must have seen the horror on my face at the thought of getting my feet out, and told me we could skip this part if I wanted, but I decided to go with the flow... what the hell (and actually it was very nice).
Then... further horror, Laura said she was going to leave the room whilst I got undressed! Undressed? I thought I’d booked a head massage! She advised I take everything off except my knickers (again, had I known, I’d have worn nicer knickers), get comfy on the massage table (face down) and cover myself with the towel. I did what was asked of me, and Laura came back into the room (which, by the way, had a beautifully relaxing ambience – you know, dimmed lights, sweet smelling oils burning, hundreds of tea-lights, whale music, etc!)
Laura then proceeded with the ritual that is ‘Na Plai Recovery Head Massage’. Using the most gorgeous smelling oils she kneaded my aching muscles to the point that it was almost painful, applied heat and pressure using what looked like a large muslin cloth tied in a very tight knot (these things probably have a name but, like I said, I'm a Spa Virgin so I don't know) and heated - I don’t know how she heated it, I couldn’t see, it was too dark. I was then asked to turn over and the same ‘ritual’ was carried out on my décolletage (down to the top of my boobs), and down the length of my arms, right to my fingertips. Laura gave me the muslin ‘knot’ to bring home and suggested I pop it on the radiator and use it, after a nice long relaxing bath, to help loosen my shoulder muscles (apparently they’re very ‘knotty’).
I actually found the back massage part a little uncomfortable (perhaps because I’m so ‘knotty’) but the head massage that followed (which is what I actually went for) was amazing. Again wonderful aromatherapy oils were massaged into my scalp and run through to the ends of my hair (this left me looking like I hadn’t washed my hair for six months, but had a fantastic conditioning effect).
All in all, a very pleasant and beneficial experience, but I think I might go for a simple (pain free) facial next time (I’m such a wimp!)
PS: Sadly, Thorpe Park have not paid me to write this post, but why not check out what else they have to offer at http://spa-and-fitness.co.uk/locations/thorpe-park-spa/