If it takes me three weeks to write and upload this post, just know this: I may today have had the best massage of my Whole Entire Life.
Because, oh wise ones, I know exactly what you’re thinking. And please believe me – ordinarily, I too would shy away from such an outrageously bold claim.
But in this instance, I think it is truly warranted.
I visited The Massage Company in Putney for what I thought would be a fairly run-of-the-mill treatment. Because, let’s be honest: a massage is just a massage, right? Wrong. Oh, so very, very wrong. Turns out, the categories on the massage menu really do mean something different when the therapist knows their stuff. Happily, there is an elite level of excellence sourced by TMC when selecvting their therapists. And it has 100% paid off.
If you’re not familiar, The Massage Company was founded with the intention to normalise regular massage as a tool for maintaining good health. Armed with the fact that massage can benefit a host of health issues from poor sleep and stress to injury recovery and pain relief, TMC aims to bring reasonably priced massage to the masses.
Chanel (my therapist) began each section of the treatment by mapping out my muscles with impressively firm strokes, identifying problem areas and tension spots to work on. If I’d been handed a pencil during the treatment (practical implications of lying starfish on a bed aside), I think I could have drawn a fairly accurate impression of my body. Not a single muscle was glossed over, and her precision was like an art form.
As the time passed and we moved from legs to back, I could feel my muscles loosening in a way I’d not experienced before. Each strand seemed to be lengthened and softened, lying less rigidly on the bed as she worked.
On which point, the bed. It might seem a small point at first, but think about it: how often do you spend an hour completely stationary, mindfully connected to the sensation of touch? Suddenly, details like the size of the bed, softness of the sheets, and warmth of the neck pillow take on a whole new meaning. And my bed ticked all the boxes. I even had a knee bolster niftily placed to take any weight away from me as I lay.
Deep tissue massage sits in a delicate niche somewhere between Sweedish and sports. It has all the relaxation elements of the former (sports massage can be quite torturous, particularly if you’re visiting for a specific niggle), but with actual, quantifiable results. Yes, you walk away relaxed and floating on air. But more importantly, your muscles have experienced the sort of MOT you just can’t achieve on your own. By stimulating the release of toxins from muscles and encouraging blood flow, a deep tissue massage is like a green light for the release of toxins. And if you’re familiar with any sort of workout, you’ll know exactly how much you want rid of lactic acid et al. (Note: if you’re not familiar with lactic acid, it’s a toxic bi-product of energy use that the body produces and is responsible for that build up of pain you get in your muscles as you train).