Meeting the masseuse of Marhamchurch

Tucked away in tranquil Marhamchurch is Vicky Barnes. It was hard to believe that I last enjoyed a massage from Vicky in 2014. So, when I was invited to undress again for another try to rebalance my mind, body and soul, I couldn’t resist. It’s a challenge I welcomed her to try.

She has been described in one review as “heaven scent” and it rather sums her up, for Vicky sincerely believes in the power of touch, and also that if a body works for you then it is beautiful. So, whatever your body shape, and I’ve certainly put on weight since 2014, it doesn’t matter in Vicky’s therapy room. You will leave feeling and smelling good.

Vicky promotes health and happiness through natural, holistic treatments and therapies using  Made for Life skincare, handmade in Cornwall. It’s 100% organic, suitable for the most sensitive of skins, using ingredients hand-blended in the Duchy from local herbs and flowers. If it sounds idyllic, it is. None of the products is tested on animals, which is important to me.  Vicky explains that our skin is our largest organ and absorbs much of what we put on it. The average woman may absorb up to 2kg of chemicals per year from toiletries and skincare products, even some of those that call themselves ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ which is a scary thought.

The products Vicky used on me for a full body massage were:

Daily Radiance Cleansing Balm, Refresh and Clarify Facial Toner, Brightening Facial Exfoliator, Daily Rejuvenating Face Oil, Daily Replenish and Protect Facial Moisturising Balm, Soothe and Nourish Lip Balm, Tone and Firm Body Oil and Embrace the Day Body Scrub. If I bought all these it would come to £237! Vicky reckons she uses a good £5 worth per massage. She’s not the cheapest but this is why – hand-blended truly organic comes with a price tag – then it is applied skilfully by Vicky at her premises at Court Farm.

So, what’s a visit to Vicky like?

Last time I encountered Vicky, she described herself as ‘personable’. It’s still not a good enough word. She is a very special lady, putting you quickly at your ease, informing you about the products and the massage she will be doing, and, most importantly, she doesn’t talk at you once the massage is underway. This is partly because Vicky enters her own zone during a massage, but also because at the heart of massage is time to rest, recuperate, relax and take time out from everyday life and ‘to do’ lists. So, that period of quiet headspace is important to the whole process. Women are often very poor at putting themselves first and taking time out. A massage means you no longer have excuses. For 75 minutes, or 45 or whatever, you are there to be nurtured by someone making no demands on you and having no agenda.

In terms of the process, the massage table is warmed so while undressed you are still toasty warm. In the background, gentle celestial music plays.

Vicky leaves the room while you disrobe, and put on some specially made paper knickers (if having the full body experience) simply to avoid getting oil on your clothes. Very glamorous. It is the only time I have worn a thong, thank the lord.  Throughout, Vicky is adept at protecting your modesty, only uncovering the bits she is working on. Even with a full-body massage, most parts of you stay covered most of the time – and yes, she warms her hands.

The massage I had has various elements to it. Research has shown that massage can reduce heart rate, lower blood pressure and increase blood circulation and lymph flow, all good! It is soothing to have your legs, feet, arms, neck, and back, all sorts of neglected parts, nurtured. Enjoy a facial massage (be prepared to lose whatever make-up you are wearing) and even a sugar scrub. It felt a little like being sandblasted having a sugar scrub, but in a good way, one which removes debris from the skin. The sugar is brushed off afterwards.

“You will smell sensational after this, and feel relaxed”, said Vicky. It wasn’t a deep tissue massage for a sports injury but more a nurturing one – I keep coming back to that word and the smell was scentsational!

Anyone who knows me is aware that relax is not something I do too often. However, Vicky has a way of making me fall asleep. So I’d love to tell you how wonderful it all was but I wasn’t awake for some of it. Is there a better accolade?

Your body knows what a good massage is. It all lies in the elusive qualities of rhythm and pressure applied in an almost sixth-sense manner. What becomes immediately apparent is that Vicky is not just going through the motions. A good massage is said to be 90% skill and 10% magic. You need both. Vicky somehow gets it just right. I have had massages where the skills are there but the magic isn’t. Vicky has many years of experience and it shows in her magic.

Certainly,  my skin felt alive afterwards, with a healthy glow, and my body?

Obviously, although I wasn’t especially tense, I relaxed – a lot! zzzzzzz

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