Health and beauty: Acupressure at The Spa, Gleneagles
Thumbs of steel and a porcelain spoon mark out this treatment.
While I lie on my front, my back is being repeatedly scraped by the end of a porcelain spoon. My spine is getting hotter and hotter. It’s not an unpleasant sensation, just rather odd.
I’m at the The Spa at Gleneagles by ESPA. This luxury venue offers plenty of sybaritic beauty primping but there’s also an array of complementary therapies as part of their ESPA Life facility, which allows you to try holistic treatments individually or create a tailored programme designed to address any health concerns.
I’m having an acupressure session with therapist Ailsa.
The treatment had started with a consultation, before I slid underneath the white towels on the treatment bed. Then Ailsa rubbed the front of my right leg, just beside the shin bone, on points that correspond to the spleen.
I was quite glad that she chatted to me throughout this element of the therapy as it distracted me from any minor discomfort (though, honestly, it didn’t hurt, I’m just a sap).
Whenever Ailsa found a point that felt “congested”, she would smooth it away with her thumbs of steel, to, as she explains “even out the energy channels”.
Then, onto my front, for a firm rub along the side of my spine. According to the principles of the ancient Chinese medicines that are acupuncture and acupressure, there are points here which correspond to all the organs of the body.
Again, it’s about promoting the flow of chi, aka life force.
So, any blockages that Ailsa sensed were ironed out.
And, as she’s also trained as a massage therapist and knows how much people love a back, neck and shoulder massage (and, oh, I do), she throws in a bit of this.
The hour-long experience is rounded off with either some cupping, which involves cups being suctioned onto acupressure points in order to increase blood flow, or, depending on what Ailsa decides is best suited to her client, gua sha (which translates as “scraping away fever”).
The latter involves the unleashing of that spoon, the edge of which was gently stroked along my back until the skin was red and glowing.
Either of the latter two treatments can leave one with a little bruising, as they’re designed to draw blood to the surface of your skin, so they’re not recommended just before you slip into a backless gown and head out for dinner at Restaurant Andrew Fairlie or somewhere similarly plush.
Afterwards, I left spaced-out and relaxed, as you do when you’ve had a good long sleep.
I enjoyed this treatment purely as a pep-me-up, but it’s also recommended for those with specific concerns, like fertility problems or IBS.
ESPA Life at The Spa at Gleneagles by ESPA (Auchterarder, Perthshire, 0800 7319215, www.gleneagles.com)
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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