A Good Hour for parents
Asking a pair of time-stretched and sleep-deprived new parents to come in for a massage is one way to give a spa treatment the ultimate test drive in time for Father’s Day...
We invited digital developer and father of two Tim, and his wife Julia, who recently welcomed a baby daughter together, to take some time out and visit Lush Spa Poole for a tension-alleviating Good Hour double treatment. Tim reveals whether they managed to leave nappy changes and toddler tantrums at the door...
The day started more or less like most others: wrestling with our toddler, Alex, to get him downstairs, fed, and dressed, arguing about whether he should be wearing a long sleeve top or t-shirt and jumper, and trying to feed nine-week-old Emily at the same time. Cortisol levels raised and no sign of a cup of tea yet.
But there was something different about today. Today, my wife and I were going to receive The Good Hour: a 70-minute spa treatment that would relieve us from having to make micro-decisions every minute. As a dad and an introvert, I had some apprehensions. How can we possibly relax after the chaos of the morning? Why did I eat half a tub of ice cream last night, knowing I’d have to get my top off in front of a stranger the next day? My wife, Julia, wondered what would happen if her boobs started to leak mid-massage. As it turns out, all of these fears were unfounded.
We arrived promptly and were greeted with a smile and two cups of water. Our therapists introduced themselves as Emma and Marta, and we sat down to do some paperwork. Everyone likes a bit of paperwork, it normalises the situation. After some routine questions on allergies and medical history, Emma presented us with four divine smelling massage bars, an exotic looking jelly, and a bath bomb called Big Blue. After she explained the ingredients and benefits of each, we chose our own massage bar (hers Therapy¿, mine Hottie). Then we were guided through to the main event.
The treatment room was filled with the sounds of a dark, creaking ship’s cabin, and the salty sea air of Big Blue. The dark wood panelling, paintings, and decor added to the atmosphere yet felt comfortingly familiar. We were asked to strip down to our underwear while Emma and Marta left the room, clamber onto the warm, comforting beds, hunker down, and ring a bell to alert our therapists when we were ready.
Marta started gently on my shoulders, an area we had spoken about beforehand as in need of extra attention (hunching over laptops and crawling around after a toddler will do that). She lifted my head left, then centre, then right, ensuring that no muscle was left untouched. In no time at all, we were transported from Poole Quay to the English Channel, from this warm, safe space to a place of raucous men chanting at work. The music was unashamedly English folk, but all the best parts of it. Sea shanties and snippets of dialogue created an aural collage helping your imagination to run away. The music reflected the tempo and passion of the therapist and sounds of seabirds filled the quieter moments. I felt utterly transported and often forgot that my wife was lying a few feet away having the same treatment.
Bon voyage tension!
The deep tissue aspect of the massage was the most beneficial for me. Marta found many knots in my back and shoulders and I could feel the tension dissipate as she released each one using a technique called ‘trigger pointing’. This involves pressing down firmly on the knot to starve it of oxygen. On release, the build up of lactic acid and toxins is flushed away by fresh blood. Each knot treated was a great relief; I had a feeling there would be a few but I had no idea just how many! Immediately afterwards my shoulders felt free and flexible, and my mind happy and a little dazed.
As the treatment ended, Marta whispered to get up in my own time, get dressed, and to enjoy the tea awaiting us outside. Julia and I slowly pulled ourselves up, looking at each other and laughing as happiness flooded us. As we blinked and stumbled into the light outside the treatment room we were greeted with not only tea but rum; dark, delicious rum in a black tea. There’s nothing quite like it after the workout our muscles received. We came out feeling revitalised and creative, ready to take on anything; even a toddler.