I’m getting quite into my alternative therapies and natural remedies. I find it utterly fascinating that in 2013, with all our technology and advances in science, that we’re increasingly turning to remedies and therapies that have been around for hundreds (if not thousands) of years. Neal’s Yard has recently launched their own treatment rooms in their Camden branch, which offer everything from aromatherapy and massage, to facials and acupuncture. I went along to have my first experience of reflexology and to find out more about the brand’s foundations, which started way back in 1981 in Covent Garden. Neal’s Yard is actually the address of the founding store, which initially specialised in herbs and spices which can still be found in every single shop; the creams and potions only came after, when the founding therapists used their apothecary skills to create helpful concoctions for regular customers. There’s no surprise then, that the brand are almost going back to basics by introducing natural therapies to their spectrum of product offerings, helping to take care of their customers bodies and minds in every way they can. If you’re not familiar with refexology, it’s based on a system of zones and reflex areas that reflect an image of the body on the feet and hands. Manipulating these areas apparently enables a positive reaction in the corresponding body area that can help eliviate pains and problems. The experience takes place with you laying down on a bed, covered in a cosy blanket, with your feet popping out of the end ready to be massaged.
Over 40 minutes your feet are massaged, manipulated and pressure applied
to key areas to leave you feeling incredibly relaxed. It’s quite an
obscure and unusual experience to have a complete stranger effectively
play with your feet; for some reason I felt this more of an invasion of
my personal space than a full body massage! As my therapist went about
doing her thing, breathing deeply and getting more in the zone than me,
she occasionally asked a question about a particularly sensitive area
and hit the nail on the head with every diagnosis. When my big toe was
being massaged she asked if I suffered from headaches and stress around
the upper head; when she got to my middle foot there were questions
about my posture and lower back area; while prodding my ankles she
questioned my stomach health. I’m not entirely convinced that this would
help with tension in the shoulders or problems in the kidneys, but it
did leave me feeling incredibly relaxed and my otherwise stressed feet
feeling soothed. I do a lot of walking and have frequently fallen down
the stairs, leaving my feet and ankles pretty ropey and in need of a lot
of pampering – this did the trick at making me feel like I was walking
on air back to the tube station. It was thoroughly enjoyable and I felt completely in safe hands, but I can’t say I’ve noticed any huge difference to my overall well-being; my shoulders do feel more relaxed and my back slightly less painful, but who knows if this is all in my mind! There are certainly less interesting ways to spend an afternoon, but whether or not this will provide long-term effects is yet to be decided. Have you ever had reflexology?
The treatment is available in all Neal’s Yard treatment rooms and costs £60 for an hour treatment (which also includes a mini hand and neck massage free of charge.) Find out more here.