Synaesthesia at the Lush Spa

One of the big perks of my job is, well, the perks. Embracing one I trundled off to Kingston-Upon-Thames last week for a treatment at the Lush Spa courtesy of the boss. Given the choice I, of course, went for the top option - Synaesthesia. As far as spa experiences go aside from waxing and things, I've only really had massage to fix my back when its gone "wonky", so relaxing rather than medicinal wasn't something I'd had before. Relaxing is something I'm needing at the moment - especially on the day I went. A rail derailment nearly put scupper to my plans - some driver apparently can drive his train properly, and there was full on travel chaos.

Anyway, back to the Spa itself. The Kingston spa is in Market Square, and having some time to spate I wandered around the market before going in for my appointment. It was a lovely sunny day, but still early for shoppers, and the general atmosphere had me relaxed before I stepped into the store. Jess was doing my treatment, and she met me on the shop floor before taking me up to the spa.

Heading upstairs feels like you are going into a little flat. You head straight into a sitting room, which is cozy with comfy chairs and dresser furniture. There is a blackboard on the wall with a poem on it (more on that) and jars and bottles filled with the magical lotions and potions that they use in the treatments. The treatment rooms go off this central room and there is also a bathroom filled with lush products so you have a self-pamper if you like.

Settled down in a chair with a glass of water (with fruit in it, so posh ha!) Jess took me through the treatment. Synaesthesia is Lush's signature treatment, and is based on the neurological phenomenon that causes the senses to blend. A lot of famous creative people have it - Marilyn Monroe, Tori Amos and Vincent Van Gogh are some. It's different for all, some taste words or see music as colour. In the case of Mark Constantine (Lush's founder and perfumer) he see's scent, and the idea of this treatment is to blend everything together so you lose yourself in your senses and come out the other side renewed.

And with a little something extra, which brings me back to the poem on the blackboard. I forgot to get a photo of it, sorry, but also not sorry. It has highlighted with full capitals, various words like enlightened, mind cleanser and esteem, all of which you can choose as the key word for your treatment. The idea is that it will bring that out in you more. I went with uninhibited, as well yeah.. and it just sang to me. I had thought I would go with something else (a friend went a week before me and had that word too) but it spoke to me so well, got to listen to myself. The massage with this word was a facial massage with hot stones, along with a lovely neck shoulder and arm massage. I then had the option of hot stone massage or digestive massage. I went for the set and got the hot stones.

All these lovely little pots are the other step in personalizing my treatment. Two of the smells to fragrance the room (the massage bar matches your word) are picked for you, but the other you get to pick from these little bottles. Jess told me to pick whichever one spoke to me the most, based only on name or colour. First time out that was Fun, but that was already in my scent cocktail, so I went with my second choice of Content. Just like the smell of the massage bar, it was something I would have likely chosen if I was basing on smell. They certainly weren't scents I hated, and based on how I felt post-treatment, the link up with scent and emotion works well.

The treatment rooms themselves are set up like bedrooms - there was even a wardrobe in the corner. You are naked except knickers under towels, but the massage bed was heated so it was incredibly cozy. One you are ready, and comfy in bed, there is a little bell to ring to let the therapist know, and at the end you are left be to come back to earth and get dressed in your own time. Also, Jess only "exposed" the parts of my body she was working on (so one arm, one foot and so on) so I never felt like I was mostly naked, or at all over exposed. To be fair, it was like being in bed, I was more worried I would fall asleep, I was so relaxed.

Synaesthesia itself was a glorious 90 minutes of pampering to my whole body, accompanied by a soundtrack featuring church bells birdsong, and I swear I heard a boiling kettle. The idea of the music is that it takes you on an aural journey through the day and night to the next day. The fragrance to the room I mentioned? Well, at the start and end of the treatment, as well as in the middle, these are popped into beakers with dry ice and scented smoke wafts into the room. I was well into it, eyes closed, as Jess was working away, but I could feel the cool smoke touching me which was awesome. The whole experience itself was really amazing. I did the whole trying to relax thing, but my brain kept wandering - after a while I realized it was doing what the brain does when you sleep, stuff was slipping from my subconscious to conscious and I was working it out.

Afterwards, you get to sit back in the sitting room, and have a cup of tea (with some of the oils to match your word), and a wee gift. In the tin is a massage bar and bubble stone, again with the same oils, for you to take home. The idea is the scent memory will bring you back to the treatment, and they also sell the soundtrack CD's with the same idea. Despite this being my first visit, I already had one of the tracks on my ipod, and sniffing my little present while listening on my way home it did work really well to take me back there.

Will I go again isn't really the question, its when, and to have which treatment. There are so many I fancy trying, and hearing the girls describe them didn't help. I can see myself having another Synaesthesia too. I'm definitely a Lush spa day kinda girl.

As I said I didn't pay for this, but I was not paid for my opinions. They, as always. are my own. 

The Synaesthesia treatment costs £125

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