I was running late for my appointment at Lush Spa in Edinburgh. My train had been delayed and I stepped into the capital a good few minutes behind schedule. I briefly considered legging it down Princes Street, but soon stopped myself for fear of inadvertently recreating the opening scene of Trainspotting. Mark Renton would’ve been disappointed.
Despite this, I managed to arrive at the spa at four on the dot, suitably flustered and ready for the two hours of relaxation that lay ahead. I was booked in for the Synaesthesia treatment, an 80-minute, full-body massage designed to awaken and engage all five senses.
At £140 it’s not cheap, but this was the first treatment that Lush spa developed when it opened ten years ago, and it still holds up as their signature offering.
One of the most exciting aspects of Synaesthesia is its ability to be completely personalised, so much so that you could receive a different variation every time.
My therapist, Rachel, explained that the exact remedy I would experience would be tailored by ‘behavioural prescriptions’, designed to respond to how the recipient is feeling at that moment in time. As such, she encouraged me to empty my mind and let my subconscious decide which word on the blackboard was speaking to me.
I opted for ‘Confidence’ (it had been a tough week), but had I been in a different state of mind I could have instead chosen Peace, Ambition or Humour, which I was certainly intrigued by.
Though this decision primarily determines the scent of the massage bar used to facilitate the treatment, some variations can also include scalp massages. I was then asked to pick an essential oil, based solely on the little tag around the bottle’s neck. It was a ‘Release’ kind of day.
Rachel started with a brief facial, before moving on to the rest of my body, paying due attention to my chest, arms and legs using a mix of touch and hot and cold stones. The tummy massage that was unique to my treatment was meant to help with indigestion, and the smells I had (albeit not deliberately) chosen helped ease me into a serene state of being.
The bar itself was a particular highlight: with coconut and shea as the base, it melts at body temperature and moisturises with a special blend of oils. I was advised to refrain from washing it off for as long as possible so as to fully reap the benefits.
All of this was accompanied by soundscapes from The Fresh Handmade Collective, a 52-piece orchestra, and a birdsong track designed to replicate the day’s 24-hour cycle. It was an immersive, restorative 80 minutes, quite unlike anything I had ever experienced before.
By the time I exited the room, greeted by a warm cuppa and a fruit platter, I was feeling so rejuvenated that even standing vertically seemed like a strange and alien concept. Synaesthesia had been unique to say the least, and I left feeling completely at peace with the world. That was, until I checked the train times and realised I had to make a run for it. Cue the Iggy Pop.
For more information, please visit the Lush Spa website. Prices range from £65 for a 30-minute treatment to £300 for a three-hour, full-body affair.