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13 May 2013

The Cupping Experience

I was treated by my lovely mum to a 'Massage and Cupping' experience via AmazonDeals. I had been looking forward to it for days, especially as I get fairly bad neck and back pains. This massage was much needed and I had heard about cupping before and had been intrigued (as I am by any 'alternative' medicines / treatments).

So when we arrived at the tiny (boutique if I want to be nice, hallway if I'm honest) salon, I was in high hopes. After an initial look round the products plonked about the place, I was slightly less thrilled. There were shelves covered in dust, cobwebs delicately draping amongst the jars of creams,
serums and masks, and crumpled fliers, posters and magazines scattered half heartedly about the entrance. My mum hadn't noticed since she was trying to communicate with the staff members, explaining that we have an appointment for two with Amazon vouchers. We were to show them the voucher codes which, in a bustle to get out of the house and on the train in time, we had forgotten. No worries, they were sent by email and luckily my mum had her iPad with her. The receptionist however, although knowing they had wifi, was unsure of the password and so we were not able to connect. Although this was admittedly our fault for not remembering to bring the voucher codes, I felt it wholly unprofessional not to allow access to the wifi. Eventually we got the codes to hand (using the trust iPhone) and we were set.

As we were shown into our respective treatment rooms, I was preparing myself for a much needed relax.

As I entered the clinical, strip-lit room, I turned around to receive direction. There was nobody there. The door wide open only to show an empty reception desk (that's how small this place was!). I poked my head out and asked which items of clothing to remove. I was told in just-about-comprehensible-English to remove "just top... and shoes... and the leggings." I stripped down to my knickers, and lay on the massage table. There were no towls and after about 10 minutes of waiting for someone to come in I was chilled to the bone and covered in goosebumps. After chattering in obscenely loud voices outside the door, eventually someone came in, slathered oil over her freezing hands and smeared it over my back. I'm assuming that was the "massage" part.

She left the room again and came back in clinking glasses on a tray. I heard a flame light and all of a sudden a cold glass placed along my back. It began hurting a little and I was immediately flooded with images of cupping I had seen on the internet. Skin being sucked up into glass jars and turned red as a love bite. After a while I had about 6 glasses placed evenly down my back. She reached for the stool, dragged it squeakily across the floor, sat down and began texting (you know that sound of old Nokia brick buttons!). This continued for around 20 minutes. 

So when she seems to be finished with her conversation, the "masseuse" removes the glasses, lights a flame, and places them lower down my back. I feel a sharp jab on my left shoulder and I hear her speak for the first time in a loud and curt voice "Bad shoulder!", and then she leaves the room. I'm still not certain whether she was telling my poor shoulder off for misbehaving or informing me of something. Either way I'm confused.

She re-enters the room, this time followed by one of her accomplices and they begin to giggle. Still practically naked, very cold and ever bewildered, I'm not sure whether it's at my expense. They exit the room once more, leaving the door wide open as they go and begin another chatter session. Loud and brash as ever. Another 20 minutes or so go by and I'm laying there wondering if passers by can see me. She comes back into the room, removes the glasses wipes my back and legs with kitchen roll so severely that I'm left with actual scratched on my legs. I hear a an abrasive "Okay", which I can only assume mean "That's the end of the session, please take your time getting dressed, I'll be at reception, thank you for coming and I hope you enjoyed your treatment". I get up, close the door that's left ajar, attempt to check out my back in the tiny face mirror which by this point is pink with freeze with shades of purple circles in a domino effect, and promptly get dressed.

I then waited for about 15 minutes for my mum to finish up. It seems she had the full hour including a back, neck and head massage. As we were leaving the woman at the front desk asked if we'd like to book another session. Needless to say I will not be returning. The only thing I could say to my mum as we left was "I need a massage after that".

The name and address of the place described in this post is below in case you feel inclined to steer clear.

Nature's Way Health & Beauty
141 Park Road
St. John's Wood
London, NW8 7HT

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