There are few things more indulgent than a massage. I’ve had so many over the years and they’ve generally been the gentle, strokey kind you get in spas. You end up feeling pampered and moisturized, but they can be literally a bit too lightweight.
However, as time goes by, aches and pains are creeping up on me and, as much as I still like being pampered, increasingly I need something a bit more heavy-duty. Recently after a twisting a knee skiing, followed by an intense couple of weeks judging at the International Wine Challenge (swirling, sniffing, tasting, spitting and note-taking all while standing), I headed to Anthea Sweet in Bedford Avenue.
Anthea, who also runs Bodysense Yoga, offers sports massage therapy and, with many years’ experience teaching yoga and training athletes, has a thorough understanding of anatomy. She explains that sports massage is not just for athletes and uses a variety of techniques for soft tissue release and re-training, ideal for injury prevention and post-injury rehabilitation as well as for general maintenance of health. What’s more, Anthea teaches massage therapy, so you’re in reassuringly good hands.
Compared to other forms of massage, a session with Anthea feels quite different. Deep hand pressure is applied and in some areas Anthea will ‘lock’ the muscle or tendon while you follow her directions to subtly move that part of the body. This helps relieve tension and tightness. Unlike a pampering massage with essential oils, there may be the odd moment of discomfort as stubborn ‘knots’ are dealt with, but you can really feel the deeper pressure working, and the bees wax she used as a lubricant made my skin feel amazing. Swedish massage is the closest style of massage to this, but with lighter pressure and longer strokes. A remedial massage feels much more precise and targeted and can be used to treat a broad range of conditions and for pre- and post-event therapy (eg marathons, competitions, championships etc). Despite it sounding quite worthy, Anthea’s massage was surprisingly relaxing and ideally you’d want to have a nice long rest afterwards (I had to rush off to photograph Gail Laser).
For new clients, Anthea offers a free telephone consultation in advance of booking a first appointment. Treatments cost £50 for 60 minutes at her clinic in Barnet and a mobile service is available (extra charges apply). See website for details.
Anthea also practices at the Ashdown Clinic in Potters Bar on Friday afternoons and at other times by arrangement.