Spoiler alert: there are really not very many “cons” to be had when it comes to the concept of a home massage. Especially a home massage done as proficiently and effectively as the one I had from Jo at Home Spa London: she arrived at my house at ten to twelve, I was on the treatment table by noon and my pregnancy massage, (finished at one o’ clock on the dot) left me so floaty that I had to have a two hour nap!
And the nap thing brings me to the most important “pro”: the fact that, after a home massage, you can just relax and not think about anything at all. Take a bath, take a nap, curl up on the sofa with a book – anything that’s quiet and serene and that continues the whole zen-like vibe that a good massage gives you. Because there’s nothing worse than having an hour of blissful, head-in-the-clouds “me time” and then coming crashing back down to earth when you realise that you need to be at a meeting at half-past three and you’re running late and you’ll have to catch the tube and change four times to get there in time. The back-to-reality stink of the city and hot crush of public transport almost entirely negates the good that the treatment does in the first place!
If I’m even remotely normal (Im probably not, but let’s quickly move on) then there will be quite a few people for whom the very last part of a massage is the best; the bit when you’re just drifting off to sleep and you’ve become entirely unaware of your surroundings. If your brain is doing anything at all then it’s saying please, PLEASE tell me there’s another half an hour to go! All I want to do is sleep! How nice would it be if – after you’d been gently summoned back to semi-consciousness- you could just roll onto a waiting day-bed, nice and warm, cover yourself with a little quilt and get some quality sleep? I know that most good spas do have the bits and pieces to facilitate this – a quiet room with day beds or what have you – but quite often there are people chatting or there’s annoying music playing or therapists come and whisper at you to ask you if you’d like some water or herbal tea or whether you’d like a magazine to read, or to remind you that there’s a jacuzzi at your disposal or to ask you whether or not you enjoyed your treatment…
No, there is nothing like a home nap. So it follows, I suppose, that there’s nothing like a home massage. Unless your house is particularly noisy or filled with children and animals or you get about twelve thousand delivery men ringing your doorbell every day. (Me.) That is the only “con”, really: you need to take measures to ensure that your home is as peaceful as possible, at least for an hour or two. I made Mr AMR take the dog for a very long walk and I put a massive notice on my front door forbidding any delivery drivers from ringing the bell; I made sure that there were at least two shut doors between me and the cat (he would most definitely have jumped on me) and I turned my mobile phone off and unplugged the house phone. God, it was bliss!
Jo from Home Spa London arrived with everything needed to recreate the spa experience; comfy massage table, floaty music, lovely soft towels. All I needed to provide was a suitable room – family AMR were mid-move at this point, so Jo and I set up in the spare room next to a propped up mattress and with Mr AMR’s power drill set in the corner! It was strange, though, how after about three minutes of blissful massage I completely forgot where I was. I hadn’t had any kind of massage or body treatment since becoming pregnant*, so at first it felt a bit strange to be touched, but Jo is a really experienced pregnancy masseur and I felt very safe and comfortable. (The bump and surrounding tissues were completely avoided; it was all about the back and shoulders and legs and hips!) I definitely want to do this again before the baby arrives – such a treat to be able to simply flop onto the couch afterwards. I thought that I would feel shortchanged, not being in a swishy spa environment, but the fact that I didn’t have to haul myself up and travel back home was just the best spa “perk” ever!
So, pros and cons of a home massage? Pros: you don’t have to travel to a spa, you can properly rest and relax afterwards and the time that you would have spent travelling back and forth can be spent (without any sense of guilt!) dozing and languishing in the lovely post-massage brain-fug. There’s also no changing room/locker allocation/talking to receptionist/being-shown-about-the-spa kind of faff; all of that stuff that can totally kill your relaxed mood. Cons: it’s often quite nice to go to a spa, for a change of scenery! And they are – usually – lovely and quiet, free from barking dogs and postmen and neighbours chatting about moles over the garden fence. But – as detailed above – it’s really quite simple to kill the noise in your home, if you give it a little thought and preparation. Overall, the pros most definitely outweigh the cons!
You can find out more about Home Spa London here – the pregnancy massage costs £60 for 60 minutes, incredibly reasonable.
*If you’d like to keep up with my pregnancy week-by-week diary, you can find it over on The Uphill. The eye mask shown in the photograph is by Wildfox.