IF GIVEN my choice of treatments from a spa menu, massage is never a top choice. Massages get a bum wrap in my book because although I can feel the good they do, I can't see it (illogical I know, but true).
But running around central London the other day, a massage sounded like an amazing idea thanks to miles walked in heels and a few long-haul flights.
Blink Brow Bar Fenwick's New Bond Street location is one of the newer outposts offering full-on body treatments. Blink (mwhahaha) and you might miss the new treatment room, tucked just behind the women braving the threading chair on their lunch breaks. Because of the room's proximity to the beauty hall, no conversation goes unheard and you'll be in the beauty hall's line of sight when that door swings open so be forewarned if you're a slow dresser.
That said, once you're under the hands of the capable Blink therapists, it's surprisingly easy to tune out the noise.
Ancient Ayurvedic principles are used to tailor your massage, making it as bespoke a treatment as you'll find in a department store beauty hall. The products and technique used are specified for your dosha type. How do they know your dosha type? From the extensive questionnaire you complete before submitting to the surprisingly strong hands of your diminutive therapist. From diet to stress levels, personality traits and sleep patterns, all is noted to decode your dosha type - vata (space and air), pitta (fire and water) or kapha (water and earth).
What are doshas? The three metabolic types/humours/physiological principles of the human constitution. Each of us has a bit of all three but we're all predominantly one type. The aim is to keep them balanced. Most of us are out of balance, thanks to a pretty stressful modern lifestyle.
I'm Vata-Pitta according to my Blink questionnaire. (Take this dosha quiz and figure out which ones you are right now.)
During the treatment, the therapist spends at least 45 of the 60 minutes on my back, neck and legs with a lightly spicy rose-scented oil. It's so relaxing -- even with the pressure (which was perfect) she uses -- that I doze off for a minute. She works in a way that feels more organic than many massages but no less effective. In fact, I would argue the opposite.
Does tailoring the treatment to your dosha type really make a difference? It's hard to tell. But my relaxed, knot-free back is a telling sign that, Ayurvedic or not, the massage is a thoroughly good one.