Self-care is at the top of my agenda this year so, when I was invited to review The Massage Company I leapt at the opportunity.
It’s no secret that I live with anxiety and living through a pandemic has only served to give me more things to worry about. Working from home sounds like a dream until you’re forced to do it while homeschooling your children while keeping the house tidy, and having an abundance of Zoom meetings.
When I took a leap of faith in June this year with my business, I didn’t prepare for the level of anxiety such responsibility would instil in me. I’ve been lucky with building a rapport with clients and securing new work, but I’ve found myself doing a lot of things at once and having very little time for myself.
The problem with my experience of anxiety is that it tends to simmer beneath the surface before I’m fully aware of it. This manifests itself through broken sleep, loss of appetite, resorting to survival mode, and just focusing on getting through each day. When I’m in that place of anxiety, it’s hard for me to think of ideas of how to take care of my needs, which is why it helps to have a self-care plan written down.
An invitation from The Massage Company came at just the right time. I’d had awful sleep for weeks and felt exhausted. A friend offered to look after my children for a few hours so I could go. I made my appointment and despite the anxiety, I was really looking forward to it.
The day of the massage
I had an appointment at the Sutton Coldfield branch of The Massage Company. They have a few centres around the UK and you can find your nearest one via their website. Their instructions were to:
- bring a mask to wear,
- a bottle of water to drink,
- and to arrive 15 minutes early
- I managed 1/3 of those. *facepalm*
I had no idea where to park, but I called the centre and the receptionist gave me directions for some free parking nearby. Anxiety was lurking because I was running late. I arrived later than I’d planned because I had to drop my children off first, and anyone will tell you how hard it is to get preteens out of the house on time!
I arrived at the centre and was asked to form to fill out. These typically ask you about any health conditions, the type of massage you want, the level of pressure you’d like, the areas you’d like the masseur to avoid, and any premium add-ons you’d like to have. I opted to have Aromatherapy and Hot Stones, which I’d had before and loved.
The masseur greeted me with an elbow handshake (which I thought was pretty cool). The Massage Company has a video on their website that shows you what to expect and the precautions they are taking around covid, so the alternative handshake didn’t come as a surprise. He offered me a bottle of water, which I declined (I’d be constantly needing the toilet otherwise), and asked that I follow him to the room.
The Massage Company in Sutton Coldfield is a lot bigger on the inside than you might expect. Like the Tardis, some might say. The masseur asked me if I’d had a massage before and about my day. We arrived in a room upstairs and he gestured for me to take a seat. He went through the form I had filled out, which was good because it gave me an opportunity to talk about massage pressure. Then he left the room and I got unchanged.
It’s important that I mention here that I’ve never had a professional massage by a man before. There was a time when I might have refused it and this would be a direct result of the trauma I’ve experienced in the past. But I felt really safe and comfortable the whole time. I was actually able to relax (as opposed to being on alert for danger all the time – thanks to anxiety).
The masseur left the room while I got changed, and ready for my massage.
About the massage
First of all, the massage bed was heated and this was absolutely DIVINE.
I had opted to have my legs, arms, shoulders, and back massaged. The masseur talked me through each step so I knew what he’d be doing next.
He was very attentive; asking me if the heat of the bed was too much, if the temperature of the rocks and oil were okay, and if the pressure of his hands was okay. I loved the feel of the hot rocks across my back, it was almost like I needed it, you know? I’m a Bravissimo Girl, so if you know what that means you’ll know how much I needed to feel the tension in my back smoothed out. I’m also an overthinker and my mind wanders, so it helped that the masseur was friendly.
I relaxed instantly and enjoyed the genuine flow of conversation. We spoke about The Massage Company, how he got into massage work, how it feels to finally go back to the cinema after lockdown, and anxiety. It felt like a good chat, not forced and or too much.
Good customer service is important, but I absolutely love genuine interaction. I spent much of 2020 feeling isolated and starved of human connection, so I cherish in-person conversations even more now.
I was late for my appointment, so I didn’t get my full time there. But I definitely had a solid 30/40 minute session that made me feel incredible.
My life feels busy and full-on at times, and I find it really difficult to wind down and relax. Having a massage kind of forced me to be still and indulge in a bit of pampering, something I’m sure we all need after the last 2 years especially.
I loved that when I came back to reception, the staff there asked me how it was. I was honest and said it was brilliant, and that I was ready for bed; for weeks I had barely slept and was exhausted. The massage made me feel like I could climb into bed and finally get the rest I needed.
What you need to know
The Massage Company runs a subscription service. You can sign up for a membership deal here and have regular massages. I did not know this was a thing but I absolutely love it. Imagine having that kind of commitment to self-care every month – it exists. I know we can find other ways of taking care of ourselves, but doesn’t it feel good to do something indulgent too?
I’m rethinking my entire self-care practice, simply because I’ve really fallen off this year and I feel the consequences of it. I love to be pampered and the massage reminded me of this. Having a little time out can make a big difference.
This absolutely gorgeous and divine massage was Gifted, but is well worth the financial investment too. What they offer is unique, my experience was great and I know I’ll be back again.
The Massage Company have centres all over the UK and you can visit their website to find out the nearest one to you.