For the past year I have been suffering with chronic back pain that stems from genetics, bad posture and illness that worsened after I became seriously ill last year. The best way to describe it is thinking of a moth caught in a class jar, the pain is so intense that nothing seems to be able to alleviate it and I know that this is an illness that cannot be cured but temporary relief can be found. So when Spa London contacted me to offer me a treatment of my choice and three hours in the thermal spa I accepted without hesitation. Those who know me describe me as having an ‘intense, almost obsessive’ work aesthetic and an overarching need to help others rather than look after myself- which is part of the problem- and I knew it was finally time to put the work aside and concentrate on building on self-love and care. Given the choice between Spa Wimbledon and Spa Kensignton I chose the latter as its located between Holland Park and Latimer Road both areas I had never been to before and I always like exploring new locations.
After an initial mishap which involved me travelling all the way to the spa with my photographer to shoot inside the spa and being turned away despite being told it was ok to take photos in various email exchanges I was not expecting much but I was pleasantly surprised. After checking into the spa reception, I was handed spa robes, flip flops, a towel, a wristband with a code and a duplicate coin to open and lock the changing room lockers. I was also handed a small form that asked me a few simple questions requesting medical information, address and contact details which once handed into reception I was able to get changed into my bikini and head over to the treatment room where I was greeted by my masseuse Navisheen.
Having trained 10 years ago I felt secure in the knowledge that Navi would address my problem areas with ease and talk me through the treatment process. I was ordered to leave on my robe and take off my shoes allowing her to soak my feet in warm scented water. Beginning step one of the Gold Midas treatment, the 90 minute treatment began with a gentle foot rub, permeated with the sweet scent of citrus wafting from underneath the chair. Each toe was given special attention and the massage was light and cleansing as I felt the small knots in my feet dissipate. Navi then left the room and told me to put on disposable pants which I was very confused by at first as I kid you not it reminded me of a mankini as modeled by comedy legend Sacha Bohen Cohen aka Bruno. I felt slightly uncomfortable as my bottom was on show and lets be honest when your chest is as flat as mine people are going to notice when you have a peachy rump so that was out of my comfort zone. I attempted to ensure that my front parts were all tucked in the ridiculously small pants and lay face down with my head in the hole and hands to the side. All modesty aside there is nothing else that I can fault, I was treated like a princess and each enriching ritual was explained to me with clarity, integrity and a surprising sense of familiarity.
The second ritual was the ‘gold scrub’ which was enriched with gold dust and exfoliated my entire body starting from the toes upwards and felt a bit painful at first as my skin is so sensitive but the results of soft, cleansed and glittering skin was worth the tomato red look. Being naturally chatty and inquisitive I was curious to know a little about Navi and she was happy to talk to me explaining how she has worked at previous beauty firms and enjoys treating people like me to well deserved relaxation and advising them on the best treatments to have. In fact Navi was honest and told me I should have chosen a different treatment to treat my chronic back issues as the ‘gold’ treatment was more about relaxation than addressing any long term muscular or skeletal issues. I appreciated that Navi was honest and did not shy away from addressing any concerns I had about my chronic pain and was warm and kind hearted too. I was then ushered into the shower and as Navi left the room I had a brief wash cleansing the gold dust which pooled like creamy milk at the bottom of the shower.
After I had been scrubbed in gold dust several times (pre-shower) Navi began rolling compresses across my pressure points which was a method to alleviate and de-stress the atrocious knots in my back, shoulders, neck, calves and arms. As she rolled over particular points of pain I asked her how bad the knots were and Navi said ‘let’s put it this way, you are 22 but you have the back of a 50 year’ old and I was shocked. I knew my joints and muscles were bad but I did not realize how serious it actually was and she told me that it is so severe that I could lose feeling in my right side if it is not sorted out immediately. Navi adviced me to get a 25 minute deep tissue treatment every week to sort out the ‘deep’ knots and if not every week she said I need it once a month at least. At £37 for a 25 minute treatment I was a little dubious but she assured me that Elemis deep soak could work as a temporary filler and at £30 it works out to be more cost effective.
The massage that I was having as part of the Gold Midas Touch treatment was a mixture of Thai, Swedish and Deep Tissue which correlate with each other to relax, de-stress and alleviate pain temporarily. As the pumice was rolled over the knots in my deltoids I winced at the pain and Navi told me how a lot of the pain stemmed from manual labor, poor bone mass-there is not enough layer between bone and skin- and writing or carrying bags which had caused a lot of tension in my arms, deltoids, neck and wrists. In fact Navi’s next words surprised me as she asked me whether I suffered with sickness, dizziness and general brain fog and when I answered ‘yes’ she had the answers prepared. Because of my chronic pain it affects the circulation of blood around my body which means that the oxygen signals that are meant to be sent to my brain are cut off causing disorientation, nausea, sickness and general brain fog as it is all largely controlled by the central nervous system.
It all made complete sense and I was touched that she was completely unbiased and had honest informative opinions. In the past my last two spa experiences were not what I had expected and I was pleased that Spa London had exceeded all my expectations. To finish the Gold Midas Touch treatment I was massaged in hot oil which was complete and utter bliss, unlike many people I know I can withstand hot temperatures and this was just the right temperature. It soothed my knots and melted all my worries away. I felt like I had a slice of paradise and it was wonderful to know that I had a few hours away from work, my blog and a general digital detox. Until I had my spa experience I never truly knew how much I needed a break and although I was still in a lot of pain I could visibly see a big difference and being swathed in gold dust doesn’t hurt.
Would I recommend it?100% yes, your experience will be unique to you and tailored to your needs and if you have Navi I guarantee that you will have the best spa treatment you could possibly have. I felt rejuvenated-if temporarily- and was given advice that even my Physio, Doctor and GP had not told me. For 90 minutes you have a relaxing all body massage, scrub, body polish, advice and compress all for 75 pounds and considering the level of expertise I was pleasantly surprised at the price. Lets put it this way the last spa experience I had was 90 pounds for a half back massage and use of the thermal spa so Kensignton is significantly cheaper.
Read Part II: The Thermal Spa Review next week
Do you suffer with any joint issues and would you consider booking a spa treatment with Kensignton Day Spa?
Please note I was given a free treatment and use of the thermal spa but all opinions are my own.
Sunglasses- Quay Australia / Kimono- Warehouse / Bikini- Triangl / Boots- Public Desire / Belt & Hat- Primark