When Bude’s lovely local holistic therapist, Vicky Barnes, contacted me to ask me if I’d like to try a form of massage she has recently mastered, I was keen. I like massage. I like Vicky. A no brainer.
She told me it involved me having an open mind and heart. Having tried the deeply nurturing Hawaiian Lomi Lomi (with its long sweeping strokes, which I really like) I wondered how much more open I was expected to be. Luckily, I’ve been on Vicky’s couch (or whatever the term for a massage bed is) before, and know her to be the genuine article, so I trusted her enough not to delve too closely into what I was letting myself in for and was prepared to be pleasantly surprised.
Vicky, once you are in her inner sanctum, always gives the impression that she has all the time in the world, that there is no rush, and that she is really connecting her energy with yours. In reality, I’m sure she is as rushed as the rest of us, but she somehow, enviably, exudes calm, tranquility and inner peace…
If you check her website, you will see that Vicky undersells herself as a “personable soul”. A lover of words, I’d take issue with that one. Yes, she is a ‘pleasing’ person, but but she is about more than that. There is a gentle warmth (without being too effusive and overwhelming) and empathy about her, a keen intuitiveness rarely encountered, a keenness to listen and to gently discuss ideas, coupled with an intense interest in health and wellbeing, at a spiritual, individual level and at a wider, global level. She is utterly interested in what makes the world a better place, with a deep desire to learn.
If “personable” sums all that up, so be it…….(Vicky, change the blessed word, will you, please?)
Vicky loves massage and connection with people. She (very honestly) states on her website:
“I believe our bodies naturally respond to touch as a means to relax, calm and support an overwhelmed system. My intuitive holistic approach to the body is often said to feel re-connective and restorative, bringing a sense of balance to the recipient’s mind, body and soul. I love what I do and I do what I love ”.
It’s not an empty claim. I’ve been massaged by Vicky a fair few times now and she does indeed love what she does.
Her business name is Naturally Holistic. She offers a wide range of body and beauty treatments from her room at Court Farm Holidays (there you are Kevin, gave you a plug) in Marhamchurch, near Bude. These include facials, hot stone massages, pregnancy pampering, reflexology, Reiki, hand and foot massage, and even dream analysis. There are all sorts of therapies and treatments on offer but the focus for my treatment was Raindrop Technique.
Here We Go…
So, let’s set the scene. After talking oils, and asking me to remove all my jewellery, Vicky leaves the room while I undress (down to my pants) and cover myself discreetly with a sarong. I lie face down on a (very comfortable, it must be said) heated massage bed, with memory foam used to gently caress my face. Raindrop Technique was explained to me by Vicky beforehand. Developed by Gary Young, back in the 1980s, it uses three techniques.
First is the use of seven single essential oils (valor, thyme, oregano, cypress, wintergreen, basil and peppermint, I think) applied neat to the body, as in undiluted by carrier oil. This is controversial, as usually oils are diluted for massage purposes. Aromatherapy oils are incredibly strong and impactful.
These oils are pure, therapeutic grade oils, with no chemical fillers or additives. I suffered no adverse skin reactions, and I am fair skinned.
Alongside this, vita flex technique is used, based around an ancient Tibetan art of applying slight pressure to the body, to create an therapeutic electric charge. If we want to be technical, this is called piezoelectric. To complete the effect, feather stroking is used. Apparently, for massage aficionados, this delicate ‘pincer type’ (my description) Native American Indian movement is similar to effleurage.
Eyes closed, I listened to the sound of the very relaxing New age music of Patrick Bernhardt’s, Atlantic Angelis. Vicky starts her massage with the feet, focusing on the pressure points.
By the time she reaches my back, dropping a rain drop of oil on my spine, I flinch, for it is unexpected. I remember three of these, but there must have been more, Bernhardt murmuring “oh my love” and promptly drifted off to sleep. This was not the plan, and makes describing the massage somewhat difficult.
Now it must be said that it is seriously not like me to fall asleep during the day time, but I did. I was not overly tired, so there is no logical reason for it. It was just so warm in there, and as my mind thought good thoughts and then emptied, I recall Vicky applying a hot compress to my back, and off I went. I can’t say how long I slept for, but the whole treatment lasts for around 75 minutes.
So, apart from me having a decent sleep on someone’s couch, what’s the point of Raindrop Technique? Well, it is supposed to bring structural and electrical alignment to the body, gently releasing any blockages. It reduces stress and anxiety, can reduce inflammation, relax muscles,fight viruses and bacteria along the spine and detox the body. The only part I have slight scepticism about is the idea of re-alignment of the spine, which seems quite a claim, but what do I know?
Vicky’s website says: Raindrop technique combined with Vita flex helps to stimulate the immune system whilst effecting the whole body at a deep cellular level to promote a pain free healthy and vibrant state of being.
The Effects on ME (you might be different).
The effects were mega…
- I fell asleep during treatment. Seriously, this is unheard of.
- My children (who I collected from school afterwards) asked “what’s that smell?” I did smell rather exotic (I thought).
- I felt oily. And very sleepy. woozy.
- Drove home (luckily with children and loud music else i think I might have fallen asleep at the wheel, to be honest).
- Once home, I did what mothers do, while actually wanting to go to bed. I felt absolutely drained/fatigued/exhausted. It felt like the tiredness of early pregnancy, or iron deficiency, or both.
- Drank plenty of fluid and decided to have bath (despite the best plan supposedly being to leave the oils on) because I was struggling to fight the effects! The idea is that I wasn’t supposed to, but…this helped to wake me up.
- Had a fairly early night. Slept (for me) like a log, and (for me) for a long time.
- Awoke still feeling dazed, a slightly hungover feeling (without the headache).
- By the time the day kicked in and I got moving, I was energised. Brain and body feeling much better. My work is mainly cerebral and I accomplished quite a lot.
- The effects can last up to a week. I admit to feeling much more relaxed. Still very chilled. Just about managed to write this…