It should be no surprise that some of the best massages in the world can be found in London. It’s ever the tourist hotspot and a good rub can be the perfect piece of holiday zen to add a little luxury to the trip. Moreover, it’s a big and bustling city full of people shaking off the stresses of a busy week or getting some relief for those aches, pains, and migraines that can really detract from living in the UK’s first and best city. Let’s take a look and some of the different options, techniques, and best locations to get a massage in London.
Where to get a massage in London
There are a variety of different environments in which to best enjoy a massage, and here’s why you should consider each one.
The single best reason to enjoy the massages on offer at a hotel spa is simply that it’s there where you are and easy to reach. It’s a fantastic way to add a little luxury to a holiday stay without having to slip out to a separate spa for hours on end. It’s worth making sure you read reviews specifically about the massage therapy in a hotel, however. The dedication they put into their extras might not quite fit the quality of the rest of the establishment. They’re best enjoyed as an amenity, as part of the overall service, and are great for families and couples on a trip.
If you really want to make a big event of it and have a whole day of relaxation and recuperation, then taking the trip to a spa might very well be worth it. Top-end spas are dedicated to therapy first and foremost, with a single-minded focus on giving you a full-breadth of services aimed at just that. Beyond massages, many of them offer facials, body treatments, saunas, and much more. Many of these complement the massage perfectly, too. Just make sure you brush up on your spa etiquette before you go. Without doing so, many visitors, especially first-time massage recipients, can feel uncomfortable and unsure of how it’s supposed to work. That’s not conducive to the relaxing treatment you’re supposed to get.
When choosing a massage parlour, you have to be careful and make sure you only aim for the most upscale of establishments with certified massage therapists. There are plenty of low-quality and downright seedy options that offer very little in the way of a real massage. However, finding a legitimate massage parlour that you’re happy with is a convenient and easy way to find the “quick fix” massage, particularly for those who regularly experience back or muscle pain due to their job or lifestyle.
How perfect would it be to have your very own massage therapist on call to meet you wherever you might be and give you the treatment you need there on the spot? Mobile massage services are on the rise in London and for good reason. It’s the most convenient booking option out there, where you don’t have to worry about leaving your front door or hotel room. The experience is tailored to your needs, from the time and place to the specifics of what you want from your treatment. Relaxing after a massage is important, too. Having your massage in a spa or hotel might not give you the time and leisure to sit and relax since you’re always aware that you’re going to have to move elsewhere in the near future. With mobile massage services, you’re left to destress and enjoy the peaceful afterglow of the treatment for as long as you like.
Where to go for a massage in London
London has a wealth of hotspots, each with their different appeals, from the serene Belgravia to the historic St. James’s, and many of them have their own massage meccas to choose from. We can’t cover them all, but we can take a look at some of the finest massages available in areas across the city and which might be the single best place of them all.
An epicurean epicentre of luxury and exclusivity, everything is ultra-upscale in Mayfair. If you’re looking for the very best example of the hotel massage, then this might be the place to go. The May Fair is one of the top examples of this, with one of the best in-hotel spas in the city. Mayfair is also home to the Aman Spa, a smaller, but boutique establishment perfectly fit to its lavish surroundings.
As famous as the location is for the lovable bear, Paddington has recently seen a rejuvenation that has brought along with it some excellent spots for massage in one of London’s more peaceful areas. Not too far from the calming rush of Paddington Basin, for instance, are several massage parlours. The recent surge of commercial interest has seen a lot of smaller, but more reputable massage parlours opening as well. Offering treatments like pre-natal massage, these parlours make for a good fit in an otherwise busy lifestyle.
Central London Massage
The core of the city is, naturally, one of its most busy centres, so it should be no surprise that there are plenty of massage therapists offering relief to its many aching denizens looking for relief from a busy life. There are livelier, day-out varieties of spas in Soho like Cucumba which can be perfect for a group visit, or places like N&N Joseph, which offer to create a more idyllic, quiet and peaceful spot amongst the bustle of the urban core.
Another of the more upmarket areas of London, the historic Knightsbridge has become one of the city’s foremost tourist centres, thanks in part to a flourishing commercial area with the likes of Harrods attracting plenty of shoppers. That opulence carries over into the spas available in the area like the Bamford Haybarn. Fitting with the luxury expected of the area, visitors to this spa can enjoy their massages on a shaded sun-lounger by a pristine pool, surrounded by marble and lavender that can make any woman feel like a queen.
Which type of Massage Therapy to get
There are a variety of types of massage all suited to help with specific issues, to create different kinds of relief, and provide a variety of different experiences. Finding the right service for you is all about identifying what you want and finding the person or team suited to delivering it.
This is the most traditional and popular form of massage, available from most practitioners. It’s exactly what you expect from a massage, a series of percussive pressure pushes and long, deliberate, smooth strokes that endeavour to ease out the stresses of the body. When it comes to getting a massage for relaxation and relief above all else, this should be the number one choice. But it can do a lot more than just help those with stress. Swedish massages are also great for offering skin therapy, promoting better healing, and offering general pain relief. When the mind is stressed, the body is, too. That tension can both cause and exacerbate pain. That’s why massage is such a powerful technique for fighting stress in the first place. It helps achieve the mental equilibrium by tackling the physical links.
Most pleasant experiences are doubly enjoyable when you have someone with you to share them. The blissful, relaxed journey that a massage can take you on is only aided by having fine company, which is what couple’s massages are all about. The setup is simple. You and your partner lie side-by-side while a massage therapist takes turns working on both of you, helping one person with a specific area before moving onto another one. The benefits of a regular massage all still apply, but many prefer to do it with a partner for a few reasons. For one, it makes for a fantastic romantic experience, laying together in the lap of luxury and enjoying the sense of peace and physical comfort that lasts for hours after. But it’s also a great way for many women to introduce the men in their lives to the benefits of massage therapy. The next time you’re on a romantic getaway to London, surprise your partner with a shared massage experience. You might just be shocked at how vital a role it can play to lending a positive atmosphere to the rest of the trip.
Of course, there are techniques and treatments that have aims much more specific than helping you relax or providing general pain relief. Massage therapists are qualified to provide treatments that can genuinely alter the body and help to give you the aesthetic and firmness you want is a big part of that. Body fat can’t be burned by massage alone, but patches of cellulite can be specifically tackled. This is done by using kneading and stroking motions that get in deep to loosen fatty tissues and apply pressure that can help smooth the skin’s surface. The lasting effects of the touch can trigger a heightened healing process from the body itself and boosts blood circulation and collagen production, both of which are important to naturally fighting and preventing cellulite in the most likely areas.
Deep tissue massage
Just as an anti-cellulite massage tackles the problem areas where fatty build-ups are likely to gather, deep tissue massage takes the same approach of working out the issues in your body with the right kind of pressure. The difference is that it tackles the deeper layers of muscles that can be difficult for people to reach on their own. Muscle soreness can be alleviated and deep muscle injuries can be encouraged to recover more quickly with the right touch. There’s scientific evidence that, for instance, deep tissue massage to calf muscles when paired with self-stretching, can help with pain caused by plantar fasciitis. It can also help with other conditions such as fibromyalgia, tennis elbow, lower-back pain and can even help restore range-of-mobility for people that have caused injury to joint ligaments and tendons.
There are a lot of similarities in philosophy and origin that tends to get people confused about the differences between shiatsu massage and acupuncture. Both have their roots in ancient China and both target specific pressure points in the body that are supposed to release the body’s natural energies, known as qi, for specific physical improvements. Shiatsu massage is a holistic approach to massage, and some of those health benefits are still hotly debated to this day. However, it does have well-tested and proven benefits in helping to alleviate migraines, to work out muscle spasms and kinks, and to improve circulation. This doesn’t make it all that much different from traditional methods of massage, but it’s all down to which technique you prefer.
Just as the similarities between shiatsu and acupuncture can lead to them being confused for one another, the same can be said for shiatsu and reflexology. Again, the method is all about targeting specific small areas to elicit a much broader response through the rest of the body. This is another holistic method, this time focusing primarily on the feet. A reflexology practitioner will often ask a series of questions in order to find out which points on your feet contain the reflexive nerves that, when stimulated, can provide relief to those areas. There is some debate as to whether the demonstrated effectiveness of reflexology is a matter of the technique working as intended or whether it’s down to a placebo effect. At the very least, it has proven to be an effective pain relief tool.
There are options to fit just about any need and solve any ache in London’s massive massage landscape. Even if you can’t find the right option near you, mobile massage services take the extra step and bring the luxury right to your doorstep. Getting the most effective massage is about choosing the right therapist. Make sure that they’re not just experienced but ready to tailor a solution fit just for you. A good massage therapist takes the time to talk to their client and find out their needs before they get to work.