Ayurvedic and Deep Tissue Holistic Massage with Loretta Heywood at Anamaya, W11
I love the whole philosophy behind Ayurveda. One of my favourite spas is Ayurveda Pura, and I was lucky enough recently to interview Dr Deepa Apte. I love Pukka Ayurvedic teas and their book, A Pukka Life, is a wonderfully simple introduction to Ayurvedic life. I am fascinated by the manner in which our imbalances are addressed in Ayurveda, our doshas of vata, pitta, kapfa – loosely translated as air, fire, earth – trying to live in unity within.
I’d had an Ayurvedic consultation with Dr Deepa Apte at Ayurveda Pura Spa followed by an Ayurvedic massage and the euphoria post-treatment was incredible. I felt as though I were floating as I made my way back to the station. So I was very keen to experience an Ayurvedic massage with Loretta Heywood at Anamaya recently. After I’d completed my consultation form post a bus journey that took an obscene amount of time considering the distance, I had my consultation with Loretta. She checked my pulse, which was high due to the stress of my journey and the closeness in the air, and my tongue, which indicated that my digestive system was healthy. Loretta is a very calm and calming character. I instantly felt at ease with her and I am sure she has many a wise tale of life from personal experience to tell. I was hopeful that some of her calmness would be instilled in me through the massage. I explained to Loretta how I had a lot on and was very stressed but how slowly I was working to make this right. At the end of the treatment, Loretta advised me that I needed to find the logic in what I was doing, or rather a logical way to do things as at the moment there was too much vata inside my head as thoughts that needs to be released.
The treatment room, in fact the whole building, has an incredible ambience. It’s a terraced house in Adam and Eve Mews, just a few minutes walk away from Barker’s Building on High Street Ken which houses Whole Foods. We made our way right to the top of the building and as we enter Loretta advises me that it does get quite cold in the room. I’m often hot so this sounds appealing to me anyhow but as an Ayurvedic massage is very open/exposed Loretta felt it best to check.
I advise Loretta of my shoulder issues and she examines this area – both my shoulders and my pecs are very tight, I think the circuit I did with Tommy from the Dream Idols at Easygym escalated my existing problems in this area, which undoubtedly come from too much computer usage and stress! The massage begins with the head. Whenever my head and face are massaged it bewilders me just how much stress and tension are carried in my scalp, forehead and cheeks. I can feel the tension in my neck and shoulders but to think of it sitting unnoticed in these areas astounds me! Loretta revisited these areas as well as my neck and back of my head again at the end of the massage, this time everything felt softer, much to my relief.
Hot oil is used in the massage but Loretta is careful not to use too much as she understands when clients leave they quite often still have to go about their days. Long, sweeping movements that focus on one area of the body at a time; chest and shoulders, arms, tummy, legs whilst lying face up first, then the same but face down, replacing tummy with back.
Loretta also threw some deep tissue massage into the mix for my shoulder and when I’m finished it does feel better, but still not 100%. Loretta shares with me that she cured her own shoulder through meditation. I hadn’t thought about this as an option and to be honest I’m willing to give anything a go-I’m a great believer in the power of the mind.
I leave the treatment feeling lighter and with a much clearer head. With so much going on in life I have of late been struggling to think straight, my concentration span has been limited and my short term memory diabolical! I take 10 minutes time out in the meditation room with these huge deep sided chairs (almost like egg chairs). They envelop you and provide a safe cocoon where you feel safe to reflect on your thoughts. I drink my chamomile tea and play the chime bells, before taking a moment to read the book spines on the shelf.
That evening, I met a Reiki healer in the pub toilet, who said I look like her family – “earthy types” – and she asked if I had any ailments. I told her of my shoulder and that I went for an Ayurvedic massage today. She performed some reiki on me, right there in the loo. As you do! The next morning I wake up with more mobility with less pain than I’ve had in a long time. I’m guessing it was the massage, the restorative sleep I had, and perhaps the reiki healer character I met in the pub toilet. I’ve not started the meditation yet but have every intention to.
Loretta also advised I should try a detox for a few days to get things moving as there was a slight blockage in my digestive system. She proposes a hot soup detox with plenty of herbs and spices to balance the pitta within. I took her advice and the following week I’m feeling much lighter and my metabolism feels healthier.
For more information visit anamaya.co.uk