“An oasis of calm in a bustling metropolis.” Alice Baxter and her 39+5 bump enjoyed a morning being pampered with a pregnancy massage at the Spa Experience in Kensington.
I am two days away from being induced with my second child. The scorching summer is long gone, it’s pouring down with rain but the only shoes that still fit are some wildly inappropriate Havaianas. The district line is down. Any London-dwelling woman who has experienced the joys of pregnancy will know exactly how this stage feels…uncomfortable.
So what better way to take one’s mind off the imminent task of childbirth than with a specialist prenatal massage? And that’s exactly what the Spa Experience (By Better) in Kensington offers. The Elemis Peaceful Pregnancy Massage promises to restore mothers-to-be to ’optimum wellness’ with 75 minutes of ‘intuitive and relaxing massage which hydrates the skin that is expanding to accommodate a growing baby’.
The way I’m feeling right now, that’s a tall order. But I’m happy to give anything a whirl.
Situated on the first floor of the Kensington Leisure Centre, the spa has a welcoming, inclusive feel. I am greeted by four friendly women and introduced to Liliana, my masseuse. After being offered a variety of flavoured waters (I opt for watermelon) I fill out the mandatory health check form.
I am then ushered into a treatment room and, crossing the threshold, find myself transported into a little piece of paradise, an oasis of calm in the midst of this bustling city. The lights are low, scented candles cast a soft glow over the abundant supplies of Elemis products and I am encouraged to undress and climb onto a bed draped with a veritable mountain of fluffy towels. I instantly feel more relaxed than I have in weeks.
The lovely Liliana talks me through what to expect from the massage, and asks me a variety of surprisingly pertinent questions based on my health questionnaire. Safe in the knowledge that this woman knows what she’s doing, I succumb to Liliana’s expert hands. Within seconds I feel fairly confident the Spa’s promise will be kept and that optimum wellness will be restored…so long as I manage to keep awake.
The massage is a full body experience culminating in a facial cleanse. After the all-too-short 75 minutes I am asked if I’d like to continue my relaxation over in the spa area. This includes a sauna, steam room and jacuzzi for the non pregnant folk among us. After donning the Spa’s bathrobe and flip-flops, I enjoy a post-massage read on a lounger accompanied by one of their signature smoothies. I go for a Mighty Green (apple, pear, kiwi, mint & avocado / £2.50)
Fortunately, this will not be my last visit to the Spa Experience. They have recently launched baby massage courses which I am very keen to try. My first child suffered from colic and reflux, and I’m assured that massage can help on both those fronts. The IAIM accredited courses offered by the Spa promise ‘special bonding time for baby and you’. They incorporate both Indian and Swedish massage traditions alongside principles from yoga and reflexology.
The sessions will cover things like touch, movement, relaxation, interaction and communication. The moment number two has appeared I will be booking us in for some one-on-one bonding time.
What: Elemis Peaceful Pregnancy Massage (75 mins)
Location: Spa Experience, Kensington Leisure Centre, Bomore Road
More info and booking: www.spaexperience.org.uk
Would I go back: Absolutely. A real treat for expectant mums and their tums.
What: Baby Massage Courses
More info and booking: www.spaexperience.org.uk/baby-massage