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1 July 2009

After wandering across Tower Bridge in the boiling heat and pleading with strangers for their begrudging directions I eventually find my way to 37 degrees, a state of the art gym on the river front, where I am booked in for £58 worth of Swedish massaging, writes Jo Brunwin...

As I walk into the main reception area feeling sceptical and drenched in sweat, it dawns on me that an hour-long massage might be exactly what I need. The staff who greet me at the front desk are very polite, unlike the few people I had encountered on my journey, and they kindly direct me down the steps towards the treatment rooms.
The treatment salon itself is comfortably modern and perhaps a little cosier than I had expected. There are four separate treatment rooms altogether.

Whilst I waited I browsed through the treatment leaflet that told me exactly what else was on offer; they do pretty much everything - from a full body wax to tanning and even back treatments, with prices ranging from as little as £10 to as much as £189.

I was invited into one of the treatment rooms and almost as soon as I stepped inside I felt a little less stressed. There were tea light candles lit in one corner of the room and the spotlights in the ceiling were dimmed, which really set the tone. In the background there was gentle ambient music playing, so subtle that I'm not even sure where it was coming from.

Before my massage I was given the option of having an energising or a stress relieving oil. As you may guess I opted for the 'stress reliever' which, I was told, contained ingredients such as lavender and ylang ylang. Key ingredients, apparently, in relieving stress.

The massage itself was intensely relaxing. I actually closed my eyes and if it hadn't have been for the occasional twang of pain from the knots of tension in my shoulders then I am quite sure that I could have fallen asleep.
Being my first massage I have nothing to compare the experience too. However, Careen did tell me that the most popular massages that the salon offers are a deep tissue massage and a sports massage. Both of which can be quite painful and leave you feeling completely stiff, as they work hard at targeting "troubled areas" and stretching your muscles, which sounded very different to the calming massage that I had experienced.

After the massage was over I sat there for a good five minutes whilst I sipped on some water, when the sudden realisation that I would have to get up and make my way back to work dawned on me. All of that stress relief was for nothing.

I would definitely recommend a Swedish massage or any of the treatments that 37 degrees have on offer for that matter, but make sure you take a day for it, a day when you won't have to go back to work.

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