LIFE | A damn relaxing time at Bodyhaven Spa

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It has been a bitch of a week, so to say I needed and deserved a massage today is an understatement. I tend to drop in to The Rub on Willis Street to have someone dig around in my shoulders and back when my tension gets too bad (or when I can spare thirty dollars) but that doesn’t compare to a full spa treatment experience. I’ve never been to a spa attached to a hotel before – I think I was worried they’d be a bit hoky, like most restaurants attached to hotels, but Bodyhaven Spa at the Amora was the complete opposite. Seriously, I have never felt more relaxed in my life. Driving home afterwards was almost dangerous because of how relaxed I was.

Like any time I go for a spa treatment, I needed guidance for how much clothing to take off and other matters of etiquette that I’m sure much fancier people are well acquainted with. In summary: take off your jewellery, take off all your clothes except undies, lie face down and cover yourself with the towel provided. I did actually forget to take one of my rings off, because I’m so used to wearing it that I can’t even feel that it’s there, and my massage therapist (I think her name was Lina?) politely avoided that finger during the hand massage part.

I’m not very good at relaxing my body, as a rule. If I’m sitting or standing, my shoulders will automatically creep up and forwards, and when I’m lying down I’m usually tensed. Considering I don’t lie face down very often, I spent the first five or so minutes of my massage wondering how a relaxed body should feel and being very aware of my breathing. This massage I had today wasn’t a vigorous deep tissue massage, but had lots of intentional pressure and lengthening strokes that made me feel all stretched out and calm afterwards.

I think the parts I appreciated the most were the foot massage (mine work hard being stood on all day) and the facial massage with a custom blend of oils including extra light olive oil, almond, vitamin E, cQ10 (good for anti-aging!) and cucumber extract. I haven’t put anything on my face since, and it’s now midnight and my skin still feels plump and juicy.

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I’m getting a haircut tomorrow, which is another nice sort of treat thing – in fact, one of the best treat things that I will always allow myself because Matt is so good at hair and going there is just so pleasant. Otherwise, though, I don’t tend to spend a lot of money on spa-like experiences. This is something I was thinking about while I should probably have been in a meditative state during my massage. I get my brows done, occasionally (about once every six months), but I don’t really do manicures and pedicures and leg waxing and fake tanning and that sort of thing. I don’t shave my legs or my armpits. I like makeup and skincare, obviously, but I struggle to find value in outsourcing my bodily maintenance.

The good thing about a massage, though, is it doesn’t matter what your body is like on the outside at all. You’re not lying there all relaxed so that you’ll look subjectively ‘better’ in some way afterwards. It’s just personal chill time where a stranger touches your body in a purely professional way to make the inside feel better.

Am I even making sense? What I’m trying to get at is that a massage is bloody great and if you’re having a shit time or if you want to buy yourself a treat, or someone you love a treat, get on that massage vibe. If you’re in Wellington, I can 110% vouch for Bodyhaven. Ana Maria, the owner, was lovely and professional and I’d definitely spend $90 for a massage like that again.

This massage was complimentary in exchange for my review. 

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