When The Apex got in touch and asked me if I’d like to try their mum-to-be massage, I gladly accepted – now that I’m over seven months pregnant, I’ve been experiencing knotted shoulders, lower back pain and aching limbs pretty regularly. Well, every day. The thing is, when you’re pregnant you have to be careful about the position you lie in (you shouldn’t be on your back too long, and obviously lying on your tummy is pretty impossible), so you can’t just book any old massage. The mum-to-be massage at The Apex’s Yu Spa caters to the pregnant lady and all her awkward needs.
When I arrived at the spa (which recently won Scottish Spa of the Year at the regional Professional Beauty Awards) I was greeted by Natalie, a warm, friendly and professional therapist who showed me to the treatment room. Inside was a plinth pushed to one side, to make way for the massage bed made up on the floor. I have to admit, having a massage on the floor initially felt pretty weird, but after five minutes it felt fine – there were plenty of towels, a comfortable base, and a huge bean bag pillow for my upper back and head.
Natalie offered me a Japanese or Frangipani Body Oil (almond based); I chose the latter, as my mum makes the best frangipani pies at Christmas (yes, my life decisions currently orientate around food). Neither of these contain essential oils, another thing to be careful of when pregnant – essential oils can worsen existing sickness or nausea, and can leave you feeling light headed. Dizzy pregnant women are not a good idea.
We started out with me on my right side, allowing Natalie to massage the left shoulder, and left upper and lower back, before moving to my left leg. The pressure was great, and the odd feeling of being on the floor was soon forgotten as I sunk into that weird sleepy-non-sleep that massages bring. My upper thigh was very tender, and Natalie had to ease off the pressure – she explained that it could be related to the sciatic nerve, which can often feel more sensitive during pregnancy due to the extra weight, which is supported by the lower back and therefore can therefore can move down that pesky nerve. Lastly, she massaged my arms and hands, working over the muscles and down each podgy little finger.
I’d like to say I flipped over to allow Natalie to do the same to my right side, but it was more of a heave-come-roll, with Natalie protecting my modesty with an upheld towel, never rushing me or making me feel uncomfortable. She was brilliant at putting me at ease, making it clear she understood that my body might be more difficult to manoeuvre than usual. I lay on my left side so that she could repeat the massage on my right. Then I lay on my back for a short time while she cleansed my feet (thank goodness for the pedicure the day before) with hot mitts. That felt pretty amazing because my feet ache, and this week they’ve started to swell a little. Oh, the glamour.
Next was the neck and shoulders (still on my back), and Natalie really worked out some knots and tension very quickly. It didn’t feel rushed, just efficient, and she finished off with a short scalp massage, pulling the hair slightly and running her fingers through as if to pull away all of the tension that had built up over the last few months.
To finish, Natalie gave me a short cleansing facial, using all Elemis products. Again, it was only around five minutes long to avoid me being on my back for longer than need be (however, a facial is always necessary, yes?), but it felt dreamy and left my skin feeling fresh, clean and rejuvenated following a long night of bi-hourly toilet visits.
After my hour long treatment, Natalie left me with some mint and lemon infused iced water, allowing plenty of time for me to come to. She gave a friendly knock after five or so minutes, my cue to attempt to rise from my nest of pillows and towels. She kindly offered to help, though in an attempt to retain my dignity for a little while longer, politely declined. (Knowing the supporting hand was there was reassuring though.)
Natalie finished by explaining that I had a few knots and some tension, which she had worked on, but she recommended another visit before the baby arrives. She also ran through the products she used for the facial (listed at the bottom of this post) and a couple of extras, including the Instant Refreshing Gel which was applied to my shoulders after the massage).
The mum-to-be massage was a really relaxing experience and it felt so good to lie down, rest, and be pampered for a good hour or more. I already understand the value in massage anyway, pregnant or not – but the extra weight, aching limbs and backache does take its toll (despite the incredible feeling of happiness that surrounds them).
Later, my body felt looser and more at ease and the little spasms in my arms and legs have eased off. I’d highly recommend The Apex’s massage to any mums-to-be (particularly those who are around six to eight months) or to someone considering a gift to a friend who is expecting. 5/5
The Elemis products Natalie used to hydrate and boost my tired skin were the Nourishing Omega-Rich Cleansing Oil, Rehydrating Ginseng Toner, Cellular Recovery Skin Bliss Capsules, Hydra Boost Sensitive Day Cream, and the Pro-Collagen Advanced Eye Treatment.
The Apex is currently stocking Elemis Christmas gift boxes – a great way to treat a loved one (or yourself) to get that spa-at-home experience before – and after – New Year parties. Even if that’s a party in your pyjamas, like I’ll be enjoying.