As someone who constantly sleeps on their stomach, works hunched over at a desk all day and plays contact sport, neck pain was pretty much inevitable.
But as a 26-year-old, I’ve never done anything about it, thinking my body would just heal itself if I were to ‘rest’.
And despite knowing the benefits of massage, I still always viewed it as a ‘special treat’ and was also sh*t scared of the words ‘deep tissue’. But on a particularly pain-in-the-neck day, I read about a type of Ayurvedic massage, called Potali Deep Tissue and decided it was worth a shot…
What is a Potali Deep Tissue massage?
A deep tissue potali massage is also sometimes known as ‘potli’ massage, which comes from the small canvas-like bags that are filled with therapeutic herbs that go by the same name. The polti’s are heated and then gently pressed or pounded over the whole body, a method which is derived from Ayurveda.
What does a Potali Deep Tissue massage do?
The use of the potli’s is often combined with deep massage movements (by the masseur hands) and volcanic hot stones, and together, the aim is to reduce inflammation and joint stiffness and improve blood and lymph circulation.
Here’s what happened when I tried a cellulite-blasting jet
Potali Deep Tissue massage review:
Secluded in what feels like an underground hideaway and a world away from the busy streets of London is The Lanesborough Club and Spa.
As I took the lift down from the hotel and entered the reception, it was like walking into a silent cone of peace and tranquillity, with two members of staff there to greet me. I arrived 40 minutes before my treatment, to fill out the medical form and of course, snoop around the spa itself.
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Having recently suffered from whiplash playing sport, resulting in more neck pain than usual, I made sure to note this on the form and also explain that it was my first time experiencing ‘deep tissue’.
Soon after, I was shown into the changing rooms (immaculately clean and stocked with everything you could possibly need from makeup remover to deodorant and hair dryers) and changed into my spa robe and slippers (which I wanted to steal immediately… I didn’t).
After taking a snoop around the hydrotherapy pool, sauna and steam rooms, accessible to all spa users, I went into ‘the lounge’ where I would be collected for my treatment.
This room was richly furnished and peaceful, stocked with dried fruit, nuts and tea, but it was nothing compared to the massage room I was then taken to. It was easily the largest treatment space I’d ever been in, complete with my own private shower if desired.
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Following a quick consultation and review of my medical form with the masseur, my treatment began, starting with a soothing, medium-pressured massage from toe-to-top. As my muscles relaxed and I started slipping into a state of respite, hot volcanic stones were applied across the top half of my back.
They felt warm and comforting, and were then moved across my body to loosen my muscles and circulate my blood. The stones were followed by more free-hand massage, with slightly increased pressure and as the masseur worked the muscles of my shoulders and neck, it was that glorious feeling of released pain, but it did not hurt whatsover.
Next came the potli bags. Applied gently to my skin at first, it was the same comforting warmth of the volcanic stones and then (even though I was expecting it), a jolt of surprise as it was pounded (softly and quickly) across each part of my body. It did not hurt, but it was impact enough to make the massage bed slightly jolt at each contact. It was weirdly satisfying and stopped abruptly as it started.
After one last round of free-hand massage, I turned over onto my back and the treatment began again on my front, finishing with the ever-so-appreciated head massage.
To say I left the treatment dazed and more relaxed than I’d been in months was an understatement. I was shocked at how massage had completely relaxed my overwired mind as well as my body – no wonder people see it as a necessity.
But the real results of the massage came the following morning, after an incredibly good sleep, where I woke up with the least amount of neck pain I’d suffered in a while. Throughout the day there was less niggling at the nape of my neck and I found I was able to concentrate on my work better.
I know that it won’t last forever, so I guess the question is, when can I book in again?