sunsetWhen, in 1995, Sarah Greenhalgh founded her complimentary therapy practice Pressures of Life, her goal was to provide therapy which is both healing and holistic.

“It is amazing how our bodies can handle stress, and how our minds can disregard the key signs to stress build-up,” says Sarah. “Approximately 75 per cent of today’s diseases are attributed to stress and tension. “

The aromatherapy and reflexology techniques Sarah practises are holistic therapies that work to improve physical and emotional wellbeing. “By expanding our awareness of the complex interplay of mind, body and spirit, we will grow towards a better understanding of our own power to heal ourselves and cope with life’s pressures,” explains Sarah.

Sarah and her colleague, fellow complementary therapist Alexandra Holbrooke, offer their treatments in holiday homes such as St Mawes Retreats, but they are also the therapists on call for the Hotel Tresanton in St Mawes. It is here, on a beautifully peaceful sunny day, that I arrive to try out one of the latest therapies which Sarah and Alex have created.

The Apollo Awakening is an hour-long, four-handed massage ritual with Polynesian roots. During the massage, Sarah and Alex work in a seamless wave-like flow to induce a profound awakening of your senses, reconnecting energy pathways from your core to the tips of your toes.

“We gave the treatment this name as during our early trials of the therapy, one lady commented that a few hours after the treatment, she experienced a really strong sense of awakening and an alertness she had not felt since becoming a mother several years before,” says Sarah. “Another man who tried it said he felt like an ‘emporer’.

It is certainly an ideal indulgence for a bride-to-be, to de-stress her after months of preparation and endeavouring to ensure she is totally in the moment for her big day.

After arriving at the Hotel Tresanton, I’m taken to the room in a quiet corner of the hotel, where sunlight filters through the blinds. On the therapy table are two sarongs which are there to cover my dignity while Sarah and Alex carry out the massage. I admit that, being a little prudish, I am nervous at the idea. I always find it a little difficult to relax during a body massage;  being rather curvy, I am quite self-conscious. But Sarah and Alex are friendly and professional. As I have met Sarah before, when she gave me a rather miraculous Inlight facial at St Mawes Retreats, I soon feel relaxed and comfortable.

After a brief health questionnaire, and the choosing of the oil based on the scent and the colour of the unlabelled glass bottles I am presented with, I lie down, safely snuggled in the sarongs.

The music Sarah chooses is quite exotic, Eastern themed and with a gentle fragrance of frangipani (I think) in the oil I have chosen, I can almost picture the swaying palm fronds of Polynesia around me as I begin to drift off.

I have never had a four-handed massage before, and I wondered previously how it might work and feel. But what I had not expected was for the massage to be so akin to a dance. Sarah and Alex seem to have practised this therapy to Olympic standard as their hands massage either side of my legs and back in brisk, then gentle wave-like motions, performed in almost poetic synchronicity.

The next hour drifts by almost like a musical in motion. One therapist gently massages my scalp, while the other gently rubs my toes. If one is gently knuckling tension from the palms of my left hand, the other is on the right. I soon forget who is on which side, and even cease wondering. The therapy, carried out with four hands is all-encompassing bliss.

Always, I feel safe and nurtured, my body is covered where it needs to be, and the energy is very feminine and caring. I can imagine the women of Polynesia tending to their nervous bride and making her feel stronger and calmer as she prepares for her big day.

All too soon, the movements slow and Sarah removes the eye protector which has shielded me from the gentle sunlight, and she seems surprised I am still awake. I certainly feel blissed out and a little sleepy.

What I also feel, however, is reconnected to areas of my body that I had previously disconnected with. My tummy, which Sarah has gently massaged, for example, I feel more confident about owning, whereas previously it was a part of my body I preferred not to think about.

I suppose it is the sense of acceptance that Alex and Sarah convey which leaves me feeling happier about my body as well as tremendously relaxed.

I saunter out onto the terrace of the Hotel Tresanton to enjoy a perfect cream tea in what is perhaps one of the most idyllic terraces in Cornwall. It is a beautiful April afternoon and I feel utterly at peace and happy. This is certainly a therapy I would recommend not only to brides-to-be, but to any woman who wants a pampering treatment which will leave her feeling calm and confident.

www.pressuresoflife.co.uk

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