Back to Reality with Urban Retreat

It got to the point with my back, neck and shoulders that every single day I had a tension headache that rooted from one of these three areas, the tension was round the back of my head at the base of my skull, and would actually be relieved from pressing on my spine, my ribcage, my shoulder blades and my neck and back muscles. Being as busy as I am daily, I tended to ignore it and take paracetamol (which didn’t help) until I felt a pain early December 2018 that felt like I had pulled or strained a muscle, and it was painful to even take a deep breath in, my flexibility was affected as I could no longer twist round to the right and it was just damn sore every single day; driving, walking, sitting, breathing. Not good.

I think as humans what we forget a lot is self-care. When was the last time you really sat down and said ‘I’m going to book myself a massage because I a) have a sore back, b) am stressed or c) because I bloody well deserve some relaxation after how hard I work weekly!!? Probably the answer is that you can’t actually remember. You are a body, your body is the only one you have and its the most amazing and powerful instrument and tool you will ever own. Why not take care of it? Think of it this way. You play an instrument, you drive a car, you own a house – do you let these things suffer as a result of not caring for them? If your instrument breaks, you’ll get it repaired, if your car has a flat tyre, you replace it, if your house has a leak, you get someone onto that as soon as possible! So why do we neglect what really should be our main focus, our bodies? I decided that for me, it was time to get back to reality and get my back muscles back on track to start the year off with a more positive outlook on self-care, and I knew exactly the place to go.

I have written a previous blog post, Urban Retreat at The Academy, A Hidden Gem! about Urban Retreat in Cumbernauld, based within The Academy of Clinical Training. Their aim is to create training courses for both professionals and non-professionals to enhance and learn new skills in a spa and beauty environment a supposed to a clinical and raw classroom. They have definitely achieved that with the beautiful salon and building that they have on the banks of Broadwood Loch.

I contacted the girls at Urban Retreat, and they explained to me about the range of treatments they offer for back problems like mine. I decided to give a few different massages a go, and here is how I got on!

The first thing I have to say about the massages is for the quality of the massage, the friendliness of the staff and the time taken to focus on sore areas, it is so affordable – I couldn’t believe the prices compared to other salons and spas, the massages were the same quality you would get on a luxury spa break, making me feel refreshed and like i had really enjoyed some me-time.

Hot Stone Massage

Therapist: Kerry
Great for: Relaxation and getting into those sore parts!
Area helped most for me: Neck and shoulders
Price: £24 for back, neck and shoulders (Amazing! I know!) and £45 for full body

The hot-stone massage is offered in two packages, full body, or back, neck and shoulders (the one I went for). I felt that this really helped relax my muscles and release tension I was holding, particularly in my neck and shoulders. When Kerry started, I’m not going to lie, I was in a lot of pain and that’s because of the sheer lack of care I had given my back. Kerry explained to me that this tension had clearly built up over time, and as opposed to weeks, we were looking at months or years even. My neck and shoulders were pretty solid, and the hot stones really worked into these areas and I could actually feel the muscle starting to break up, like when a necklace gets tangled in a knot and you make it worse by pulling, but when you start rubbing it gradually releases until you can pull the chain through – that’s how I would describe the feeling between my shoulders and my neck! I would really recommend this treatment to get rid of any tension that you have stored in your back, neck and shoulders and for general wellbeing and self-care. 5 out of 5 Kerry!

Back, Neck and Shoulder Massage

Therapist: Jenny
Great for: Focusing on sore areas
Area helped most for me: Lower back and neck
Price: £24 (amaaaaazing….)

The next massage I tried about a fortnight later was the back, neck and shoulder massage. It was great to lie down and really be in tune with my body and feel where exactly the tension was in my back. Jenny said to me that my muscles round my neck were really solid – this was probably a combination of loads of thing including posture while sitting, driving and walking, lifting heavy things and just general stress and business of the week. This was also the run-up to Christmas so it’s a stressful and exciting time for everyone but often we don’t give ourself two minutes to focus on what matters most! Jenny also felt a lot of tension in my lower back and I really felt that this massage helped those muscles to start to relax as well as the ones in my upper back. It was so relaxing and lovely and I would recommend taking some time out your week or month to enjoy this treatment, I absolutely loved it!

Full Body Massage

Therapist: Siobhan
Great for: all-round relaxation and focussing on tension spots
Area helped most for me: Back and legs
Price: £38 (for full body? Unreal!)

Siobhan did warn me before this massage “my hands are like shovels, tell me if it’s too sore!” which made me laugh, but I encouraged her to apply deep pressure because of how sore my back, neck and shoulders were. I was really interested to see where else I held tension, and she asked me to choose three areas to focus on from a list; back, arms, face, scalp, legs, feet. I choose back, legs and arms. I was so surprised to feel the tension I was holding in my legs, they were pretty sore but it was a relief as well! Siobhan explained to me that the tension in one of my legs could be from over compensating for the other, so for example my left leg seemed a little weaker than my right and therefore my right let help more tension from working harder. I’m really, really and with anyone touching my feet and there were a few times I thought I was going to either giggle or pull away but it was actually pretty relaxing! I might even feel brave enough to try reflexology one day, as the girls in the salon explained that a lot of hidden health problems or sore areas can be found through it. This full body massage was great for relaxation and I was relieved to hear Siobhan tell me that after the last two massages the muscles at the top of my back felt pretty loose and relaxed (yay), but it was the deep-set tension that was a problem for me, so that’s tension underneath the muscle at the top that builds up over years from various things. I was so interested to learn more about my body and most importantly feel like I was really beginning to help my back! This was my first ever full body massage and I can’t recommend it enough!

Thai Massage

This is my next venture, I have it booked in this week and I can’t wait to write a review!

Top Tips

A few tips I’ve learned from the ladies at Urban Retreat;

  • Always lie on your left side after a massage, this allows toxins to travel to the gland they should be going to as opposed to lying on your right side after a massage, this can cause them to travel through your blood flow and make you feel pretty sick after a massage. I lay on my left side for a few minutes after every treatment
  • Drink, drink, DRINK! Keep hydrated the day of and a few days after your massage to flush those toxins from your system
  • Bathe in Epsom Salts – one of the best tips I have been given for sore muscles! I can’t live without my Epsom Salt baths now, I’ll have 2-3 a week with 2 cups of salts and bathe for half an hour. Between massages this really helps ease tension and relax muscles as the salts penetrate through my skin and release ions
  • Watch your posture! I am now so aware of slumping and try and keep a straight back. It feels like such a relief when I do it as well!

Thank you so much to the ladies at Urban Retreat. If you are like me and carry a lot of tension, stiffness or pain in your back, neck or any other area then go and speak to the ladies at Urban Retreat. The massages are amazing and so effective, the customer service is second to none and the staff are so friendly. I am so grateful to have found this little gem in Cumbernauld and my back is definitely on the way to being back to normal!

Please take care of yourself!

Give Urban Retreat at The Academy a follow on Instagram @urbanretreat and @theactuk
Visit their Facebook page here.

Amber Zoe x

 

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