A recent UK study found that 67% of respondents reported that they are more stressed now than they were five years ago, and research shows that two of the most common contributors to stress are work and family. It comes as no surprise that meditation has seen a huge renaissance over the last few years and is now one of the most prominent wellness trends for relieving stress and anxiety.
I must have tried so many different forms of meditation over the years – from candlelit mindfulness to breathing awareness, spiritual yoga and everything in between. And they do work. Mindfully and spiritually, I feel calmer and the perpetual chatter at the back of my mind evaporates. Put simply, in that moment, I feel a sense of inner balance. But what about the physical impact that stress has on our bodies? There’s a huge difference here. A meditation can relax the mind but leave the body still aching, while a massage eases tension in the body but leaves the mind still racing.
So imagine my curiosity when I recently discovered a new form of wellbeing treatment that combines meditation with massage – simultaneously. Developed by Lizzie Falconer, a hypno-meditation specialist and teacher, NLP Practitioner and founder of Beautiful Thinking. Mind Therapy Massage is the first of its kind and addresses exactly the gap between mind and body, mediation and massage. With this in mind – last weekend I set off for Weavers’ House Spa at The Swan in Lavenham where I put this zeitgeist treatment to the test.
Lavenham is a stunningly preserved medieval village in Suffolk with a rich tapestry of narrow winding streets and colourful half-timbered Tudor houses that transports you straight into the setting of a novel. It could not be a more beautiful setting for Weavers’ House Spa and the treatments they offer – ranging from Relax-Ology, intensive massage and sleep-well massages to ones tailored specifically for women with hormone rebalancing for the menopause – and I discovered here that Mind Therapy Massage, for me, really is ground breaking.
Lying on a water-filled mattress, heated to body temperature, the fluidity of the bed as it moves immediately relaxes the body. As Lizzie talks you through hypno-meditative affirmations in a voice that is extraordinarily mellow and soothing, a therapist simultaneously massages tension points that connect with the positive messaging. This is an astonishing blend of everything, symbiotically combining the physical release of stress with the meditation of affirmation therapy. I don’t think I have ever felt so calm with the sheer power of the physical release of stress complemented by the mindful release of anxiety though meditative hypnotherapy.
This is a therapy that actually changes your way of thinking. It allows you to look at the inner and outer conflicts we face every day, to ease these tensions, and genuinely changes the negative patterns of behaviour that modern living allows us to fall into. Lizzie believes that women often put themselves last and lose sight of their authentic selves, so it’s about learning to be more generous and compassionate with ourselves.
For me, the ideology behind this treatment is perfect. As Lizzie says: “I believe that if we look at the world more beautifully and nurture and nourish ourselves more beautifully, we can find a peaceful and happier life.” I’ll second that! Without doubt, it changed my psyche. When I walked into the office on Monday morning – all of my stress had simply fallen away.