The plus points of feeling the pressure…

By Katie Garner

With both me and the other half well into our respective training regimes for our separate half marathon attempts, needless to say achy limbs, knot riddled muscles and some extremely sweaty sportswear are all a regular feature in our home life at the moment. The stinking sports bra is the least of my worries however, as being hunched over my desk by day and being a ninja-like sprint style racer by night is obviously having an effect on my muscles.

To try and counteract this, we decided to sample our very first couples massage at a nearby Bannatyne Spa at Chafford Hundred, by Lakeside. Glossing over the relaxation based Swedish massage, we instead opted for heavy duty deep tissue massages, in an attempt to get our limp limbs back into full powered action. Deep tissue massage focuses on realigning the deeper layers of muscles and connective tissues in your body, using manual cross grain strokes that are slower and with a deeper pressure than your typical classic massage. Your therapist will use their fingertips, knuckles, hands, elbows and forearms to physically break down bands of painful, rigid tissue found in your muscles, tendons and ligaments to relieve pain and restore normal movement.

As well as aiding your blood pressure with the general relaxing ambience of a massage, deep tissue in particular can help break up scar tissue, as it improves your lymphatic circulation and drainage which in turn helps with your flexibility and movements in particularly knotted and tension bound spots. This style of massage will also break up and release any built-up toxins as it works to loosen your muscles. Once the toxins have been released, blood and oxygen can circulate freely again, injecting new life into worn out muscles. This is partly why it is so important to drink lots of water after a massage treatment and this acts to help flush out any remaining toxins and metabolic waste from the tissue.



Although you may experience some discomfort or slight pain during the treatment, as the therapist will use direct deep pressure or friction across the grains of your muscles, this general stiffness should subside within a day or two to leave you feeling stretched out and sublime. This deeper pressure will also work to reduce painful inflammation, which again should help improve your general movement.

With the oriental music tinkling happily in the background, with Dan and I completely towel engulfed on our respective massage beds, the experienced Jade and Lesley entered the dual treatment room to perform the massages. We had already chosen which Elemis oils we wanted for our treatments, Dan going for the full on muscle melt while I went for the sweeter scented frangipani option and as the girls got to work on our full body massages, I could already feel the benefits. Although Dan specifically enjoyed the work on his back, my favourite part of the massage was actually when she focused on my arms and legs – areas that don’t always get the necessary TLC. With all of the running and gym sessions I’ve been putting in lately, it felt fantastic to have some extra pressure working away on my thigh and calf muscles.

Deep tissue massage is usually used to help with:

  • Chronic pain / knots
  • Limited mobility
  • Recovery from injuries
  • Repetitive strain injury
  • Posture problems
  • Osteoarthritis pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Muscle tension or spasm

After a completely blissed out hour, we re-emerged into the cloudy and vaguely drizzly outside world feeling re-born, slimy from all the oil and impossibly sleepy. A deep tissue massage at Bannatyne Chafford Hundred will set you back about £55 per massage treatment, but boy was it worth it. I have sampled many different styles of massage through work and this one was just as soothing as the rest. This was Dan’s first massage and he couldn’t believe how much it helped to unwind and loosen our stiff, marathon riddled muscles. Definitely worth treating yourself.