Elemental Nature Full Body Massage at Gary Ingham, London

When lightweight treatments fail to loosen up aching muscles, an intense, invigorating massage is just the ticket. Friday, 5 July 2013

By Pat Riddell

When lightweight treatments fail to loosen up aching muscles, an intense, invigorating massage is just the ticket.

Leafy Hampstead village isn't short of a spa or two; its salubrious location and wealthy residents mean there are ample opportunities for Londoners to indulge in a wide range of hair, beauty and body treatments.

Hairdresser Gary Ingham's salon has been a favourite of North London's celebrities, fashionistas and style-conscious locals for several years now, and the launch of its Aveda spa last year added to its popularity.

The first floor spa an oasis of calm – a stark contrast to the busy hair and beauty salon downstairs. A brief consultation with the therapist to establish what I was after, and ensure the right kind of treatment, was followed by a gentle foot wash – surprisingly soothing, particularly after a rather unrelaxing Tube journey.

I opted for a firm body massage with a particular focus on the problem areas of neck and shoulders, hoping to avoid the pretty lightweight, ineffective treatment I often end up with. Thankfully the deep-tissue massage, applied with a rejuvenating tangerine essential oil, was just the right antidote to stiff muscles and stress of an exhausting few months

Relaxing but too firm to really switch off I thought… Until I found myself drifting in and out of consciousness, the massage addressing tension and providing a certain level of tranquility at the same time.

And after an hour or so — and a cup of herbal tea — I drifted down Hampstead High Street, completely spaced out, wondering how long the effects of this ethereal experience would last.

Elemental Nature Full Body Massage from £72 for 60 mins. Gary Ingham Lifestyle Salon & Spa, 63-67 Heath St, London NW3 6UG. T: 020 7431 0777. www.garyingham.com

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