I’m 39 weeks pregnant, have just realised I’ve got SPD and have been running about like a headless chicken. So what to do? Book in a pregnancy massage! For my birthday last month (was it really only last month..? Time is flying!) Rosie got me a luxury pregnancy massage at KX Life Spa, a private health club which allows commoners like me to pop in for a treatment every now and again; apparently Pippa Middleton recently signed up for a pre & post-natal programme there so I was prepared for the height of swankiness!
I normally go for pregnancy massages at my local establishment, Kobkun, a Thai masseurs not far away from me. But I’d heard so many exciting things about massages which have tables with a special bump slot so you can lie face down (Oh to lie on my front..!) and I was recommended to try KX Life. I had a bit of a conundrum when booking this in however. It’s not cheap so I wanted to get the most out of it. But when would that be..? Too soon and I wouldn’t appreciate it as much as when I was really feeling the strain. But too late and I ran the risk of the baby turning up and missing out! It also didn’t help that if you don’t cancel with 24 hours notice, that’s it, you’ve lost your massage. With stern words to the bump to stay put, I opted to get it booked in as late as I thought I could get away with.
KX Life is a 5 minute walk from South Kensington tube (or 10 minutes if you’re 39 weeks pregnant and waddly). When you step in, it feels like a hotel. There’s wooden panels and light boxes and unless you’ve been given clear directions, you’ve no idea where you’re going (I almost walked into the men’s changing room).
At the Spa reception, staff are polite but not necessarily friendly. Treatment rooms are accessible from a central dimmed and cool relaxation room. My therapist was Theresa, a woman who was older and more ‘normal’ looking than I had expected (I’m not sure what I was expecting – perhaps someone younger with a somewhat more fixed face? Theresa looked like someone who didn’t mince words and who would be excellent in a crisis). I got undressed down to pants and lay on the bed as instructed. And you know what..?! THERE WAS NO BUMP SLOT. This was pretty disappointing (especially as two of my Mums & Babies clients had told me there was a place less than 10 mins away from me which did ‘bump hole’ pregnancy massages), but I wasn’t miffed for long. As far as treatment rooms go, this was as i’d expected – soft lighting, lots of fluffy towels, calming music (Celtic tracks for meditation to be specific)…
Normally for massages, as with hairdressers appointments, I like to close my eyes and drift into my own mind. But Theresa was a chatty one, and she was keen to know all sorts of things, from due date, to whether it was my first or second, to where I was having it. Inwardly I sighed but I resolutely closed my eyes and answered her questions. And this is where it became interesting. “Oh, you’re dehydrated”, she said. Curiosity piqued, I asked her how she knew. “I can feel it,” she said. I asked her more questions and found myself in that weird dream-like state between sleeping and wakefulness.
Turns out Theresa is quite a remarkable character. Not only has she been a sonographer, but she works in various teenage oncology units around London as a nurse, as well as offering alternative therapies for them. So she’s pretty clued up on all sorts of things.
During the 85 minute treatment, we discussed her advice for first time Mums (just go with the flow and don’t get too hung up on having a certain type of birth), her advice for second time Mums (listen to your body – you’ve been through it once so you’re better prepared for what to expect; take more control of your birth), her theory that epidurals can cause hip and lower back ‘twinges’ 2-3 years after having them, and a whole bunch more from why we lose glute strength, exercises to stretch the thumbs (it can help with loosening your back) and why it’s important to do so in pregnancy and much more.
Halfway through I was convinced Theresa was a magician. Or a witch (the good kind). She also told me:
- I have low blood pressure
- That I have a strong core (not anymore!)
- The baby was hanging out more on the left side than the right (apparently one glute was tighter than the other)
- I like to write lists (and I was currently writing lists on things I need)
- I am competitive
- I am slightly dehydrated
- I am hungry
- My hips hurt
All of which I couldn’t disagree with! Most of these she told me as she was massaging my feet (oh my gosh, it was so good, I could totally have slept then and there) and taking me through the reflexology points. Theresa also showed me the massage point to bring on labour if I wanted to speed things up (let me know if you want it but be warned, one of her client’s waters broke 10 minutes after she did it!)
The hour and a half went by way too quickly and after, I stayed in the relaxation room hydrating (the couches there aren’t actually that comfy…) for a few minutes before reluctantly heading off (I could have had the option to shower but thought I’d make the most of my day off).
This was so much more than a massage. I valued Theresa’s insights and comments and it was a reminder just how amazing the human body is but also how much of a toll pregnancy can take on the body. Even though there was no hole for my bump (Theresa doesn’t think most tables like these offer the support the bump needs), the massage was one of the most relaxing I’ve had – firm in all the right places but not awkward. My bump and hips felt comfortable the whole way through unlike some pregnancy massages I’ve had. Yes, it’s expensive but so worth it if you need something to ease your pregnancy pains.