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I went to get a facial and came out with...

...the best massage I’ve ever had - and I’ve had plenty.

A while ago a group of my friends bought me a gift certificate for a local Spa. Wanting to make the most of it for me and for them I pored over the brochure a few times, then phoned reception twice for confirmation of the services. (Yeah I know, a bit anal, what can I say). I kept waffling back and forth between face treatment and a good massage and still wasn’t really sure what each service offered so I called to ask about a certain facial treatment. I was told I must have a consultation before getting that service so I booked one for the following week.

When I arrived at the Spa I was given a tour. Very sumptuous and chi chi, rather mod loungy and Grecian bathy with its contemporary furniture and carved pillars framing tiled pathways leading off in all directions to a mysterious warren of underground doorways and dens.  

After the better part of an hour the consultant concluded I was not a good candidate and we began reviewing several other treatment options. I told her right off I was a low-maintenance kind of person and I knew myself well enough to know I was not going to do the cleanser/toner/exfoliating routine. She looked at me and then proceeded to go into this long dissertation about how I must do this or that for my skin and spent some time trying to sell me on Spa products. I reiterated my position on the matter and finally the therapist recognized she had better listen to me. I had had skin treatments before and told her I did not want a gentle butterfly wing facial. Those don’t make me feel coddled, I’m just not that kind of delicate flower; they make me feel as if I am cheated. By now of course we were eyeing each other warily.

Then something changed. We were both uncomfortable and it was as if at the same moment each realized we had to give way a little. The therapist pointed out a couple of options and began to explain them to me. Suddenly her eyes fell on one called ‘Designed for U – Anti-Aging Facial Therapy’. She suggested this might be the best course for me and explained what she would do for my skin. Then came the clincher – she told me as part of the service she gives a neck massage. Ahh, now she had me!

We booked a time for a week later. I got home and realized I had a conflicting event that week and we pushed it back to the following week. The day before that date I got a call that there was an opening for a medical test I had been awaiting. We pushed it back another two weeks. By this time our group was having a girl’s weekend, our very own women’s wellness weekend (written about here). I had been hoping to have the treatment before then, but it was not to be. That week I got a call saying the therapist was not feeling well and the next available time that suited us both was a few weeks later.

The appointed time fell yesterday at 3 pm. It was a beautiful day and I was looking forward to the walk along Coal Harbour and back as well as to the treatment, certain we had landed on just the right plan. Now I felt coddled. The therapist had found a way to give me both of my wishes and I had come to both like and trust her.

Indeed the facial treatment was wonderful. The therapist had firm and confident hands and it really felt as if the treatment was making a difference. Then she executed the most wonderful neck massage. I was in heaven. After the next phase of treatment she began massaging my neck again. She paused and said I had a lot of knots, did I want her to work them out? Did I? I grinned my assent. Now she went deep, moving from knot to knot, and there were a ton of them. Some hurt unbelievably when she first began them but I trusted her and after a few seconds each disappeared. It was magical. Not sure if this was acupressure, she didn’t name it, but if it was I want more of it! At the end I felt positively limp – the tightness of my neck and shoulders had disappeared and I felt at peace and just went ahhh....

In the next phase or perhaps the one after that she was massaging a product into my face and neck and her hands got hot. Not warm but hot. They had not done so for other facets of the treatment. I asked her after she was finished if she had done something to make her hands warm. She said no, that was just natural with her. I know a little about energy healing and am aware that often the practitioner’s hands can become either very cold or very hot. I told her I thought she had healing hands and she broke into a wide smile and said that was what she wanted.

Afterward the therapist served me red wine in the lounge, pulled out a pad and ticked off items from a list of the product she felt I needed. She called this a prescription. I smiled secretly and told her I would decide later. It was her job to try to sell me something even if we had become fast friends and she knew it was unlikely I would be interested. I hugged her tightly as she rushed off discreetly to her next appointment, and found I did not want to leave the place. I lingered in the lounge, enjoyed grapes and other offerings, people-watched, and simply luxuriated in the afterglow of the treatment, as was the intent. When I left, I had not bought any product but I knew I would be back. I will probably even buy some of their wares, as the therapist had shrewdly ‘prescribed’ a 5-in-one product.

There is still enough left on the gift certificate for another treatment and it’s a good thing. I think I am now addicted!

Sharon Tillotson, author of:
The Storyteller
Now Available on Kindle
The Storyteller   Website