Ok, so I know this is supposed to be about Manchester massages. But this one was fun, so I'm going to include it anyway.
Firstly it was fun because it was a freebie, and I'm on a low enough income to very much appreciate nice things I don't have to pay for. But the lovely folks at the Fairtrade Foundation were doling out free half-hour massages as part of the launch event for the new labelling scheme for Fairtrade beauty products. For a long time, individual Fairtrade ingredients could be labelled, but the actual product wasn't, unlike for instance food products where a bar or cake, say, containing over 20% Fairtrade ingredients could carry the well-known label. But now they have come up with rules for a scheme, and today was the day the press got let loose on it.
So, having done the meet & greet and tried to ask vaguely intelligent questions to some of the Fairtrade beauty product producers there (including some favourites of mine – Visionary Soap Company, Lush and Neal's Yard Remedies), I got spirited off down a long corridor to a very pleasant treatment room with ochre walls, harp music and some lovely scented candles.
A very smiley and terrifyingly young-looking girl called Ana (I'm guessing Scandinavian) was doing my foot massage, which was more of a foot and lower leg massage, using the gorgeous-scented jasmine body cream which was one of the newly branded Fairtrade products. It's from Neal's Yard so it's bloody expensive, but it smells absolutely amazing.
In terms of the massage, it was very able, and interesting in so far as I'd never quite grasped how having one part of you massaged can be quite so relaxing all over. Unlike the deep tissue massage I prefer on my knotted up back and shoulders, I've never been very good with my calves and feet and Ana had to resist the temptation to use her thumbs too much on me, but once we got the pressure sorted out having my calves, ankles, soles and toes firmly massaged was very therapeutic. The massage itself was followed up by effleurage up to thigh level. One of the skills that Ana had down very well was the practice of never letting a part of the client's body out of her reach – ie there was always a warm hand on my foot or ankle, which is a strangely comforting experience, something that Jutika taught at the classes I went to years ago but which not all therapists observe.
The full treatment lasted a half hour, which is a pretty fair amount of time to spend on one part of the body like this, and probably one of the reasons it was so relaxing.
The E-Rejuvenation Centre itself is a bit odd, seemingly combining ideas about total relaxation with some weird stuff like seminars on Sun Tzu's Art of War, perhaps to keep the city boys from just over the way on Bishopsgate interested. But I can't fault the quality of their massage therapy.
Contacts: E Rejuvenation Centre, 132 Commercial Street, London E1 6NG, T. 020 7650 0718