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Achilles Massage Therapy

I was lucky enough to be given a massage for Christmas from a friend of Jerry’s.  (Jerry is the massage therapist at Achilles Massage Therapy.)

Despite being in desperate need and the fact I had the free voucher (actually a Post-it) it still took me a good six weeks to give Jerry a call.  Part of the reason being that I like to be able to chill out properly after a massage and there was always something more important to get done (sound familiar?)

So I finally got a free day and decided to see if Jerry could squeeze me in before I jumped on the train down to see my mum.  “No problem” was his reply – it was all relaxed, even when I texted to say I was running a few minutes late.  His reply was “Don’t stress yourself.”

Of course I was a tiny bit stressed and a little bit unnerved by the strong smell from the cafe on the first floor of the office building where he practises.  Then I walked into Room 101.  It’s a tiny room, suffused with an incredible smell of essential oils, blissful music on the CD player, a couple of chairs which act as the consulting room, a room wide curtain and just enough room for the massage table, a cupboard for your belongings and the hot stones.  Small, but perfectly formed.  Although it’s in an office building with busy roads around I couldn’t help but compare it with my experience at the Salon Sensoriale – throughout the time I was here I hardly heard anything beyond the relaxing music and it’s a testament to how great treatment facilities can be with just a little bit of thought and effort.

Anyway, one of the things that Jerry doesn’t advertise is that although he charges for the hour or however long, he will usually do a bit more, as warranted by the person he’s treating.  He had his work cut out with me – in fairness the usual reaction I get whenever a massage therapist touches me is “you really need some massage” but they’re usually pleasantly surprised to find that I can and do relax with a bit of treatment.  Areas of tension included from my toes to knees, head, neck, shoulders plus the lower back (this was just the bits I was really aware of).  As Jerry worked I think we both realised it was a lot worse than that, one of the last spots he worked on was my right shoulder which I hadn’t thought to mention as it’s pretty much always tight.

This was my first traditional Hot Stone Massage so it was all new to me.  Jerry actually placed several stones for me to lie on, then left me to get changed.  As soon as my back touched the heat I was half asleep.  We talked a lot through the whole massage as he needed to check that the heat and pressure were right for me, plus we talked through a lot of the areas of tension, but I think he probably found it quite challenging as I was mumbling, slurring and barely comatose for much of it.  I think the eye mask, which I decided to give a go, also helped to let me unwind.

Normally he does a relaxation and places a few more stones under your back but said I was so relaxed already there wasn’t much point!  He did place a hot stone under the arch of my neck.  The first one wasn’t very comfortable so he swapped it.  I wasn’t convinced until the next one slid under and my whole head felt the heat soaking up into it and zoning out.

My feet loved it.  They especially loved the hot stones positioned around my ankles, between my toes and, at one point, even loosely tied to a very aggravated spot on my heel.  They loved that one foot was taken care of by placing the hot stones whilst the other was getting a good strong massage sometimes with, sometimes without hot stones.  My legs were also in seventh heaven, especially when he went to work on my calf where I tore a muscle last year.  It was only as he finished that I realised it was the calf that I’d injured as it felt so perfectly good while he worked on it (take that sports massage therapists who say it has to hurt!)

I could go on in detail, but I think you get the picture, so let me point out some of the highlights.  I love the fact that he uses a mixture of different techniques; patting, kneading, slapping but always gently.  To be honest I had no idea how much tension there was in my thighs until he started working on them, it was like bruising being released; working its way out until it was gone.

By the time he reached my back I was feeling a lot of tension in the lower part of it.  I thought it might have been because I’d been on my front for so long, so he said I could turn on my side.  This is the first time I’ve had a massage lying on my side and I highly recommend it.  Jerry worked one side then I turned so he could work on my stomach and then it was over to the other side to finish off.

Although I’d felt very sleepy and spaced out during most of the massage by this point I’d woken up and felt refreshed and ready to chat – and you can’t beat Jerry in this area!

After a relaxing facial massage it was finally time to go, saying a big thank you to Jerry for a body that felt pretty much like new again.  Then I looked at the clock, okay I am not going to embarrass Jerry or give you too high expectations by telling you exactly how long my massage was, but… I will tell you this, I was surprised and really appreciative – then I saw the clock on the church as I came out, and I’d read my watch wrong – it was actually an hour later than even we had thought it was – then I was even more surprised and appreciative.  Just be sure that when you tell Jerry that you’re not in a rush that you really, really mean it!

As you know I love spas and all the water treatments, but… you pay for these even if you are just paying for a massage, and there are also times when you may not want the whole palaver.  So if you’re looking for some great value time out and a really top notch personalised massage – Jerry’s your man!

- Pearl
www.pearlescapes.co.uk