This blog is a little late I’m afraid. Those of you that are following the progress of Love Your Skin will understand – it has been an exceptionally busy week.

Despite it being a full seven days since I ventured back into the world of massage – me receiving one, that is – I have to report ‘I told you so’!

It all started with a gift voucher, which a dear friend gave me for my birthday, for an Essential Tension Zone Massage. As someone who feels almost permanently tense these days, you would think I would have gone running to the phone to book the appointment. But no; my birthday is in June, but such is my loss of faith in the quality of beauty treatments in so many salons, that I almost forgot all about the voucher until three weeks ago when I stumbled across it in my wallet. I had to be use it by the end of September, and as this has been a particularly stressful year I decided to at least use the voucher and take whatever the treatment offered.

On 1st September, just three weeks before this treatment I posted a blog Spa-mmed, where I explained my disillusion of the spa and beauty business in the UK, especially when you go to some of the larger, more expensive spas. I encouraged you, in that blog, to seek out the professionally qualified owners with smaller establishments where your custom and repeat business matters. Where you are Queen, from the moment you enter the premises.

Skin and Tonic in St Albans, Hertfordshire is small and situated in a small parade of local shops. Not the most luxurious of settings but oh, what a surprise was in store for me. From the moment I entered the salon I was treated with the courtesy and respect every client should receive on every occasion. A 5.00 p.m. appointment can often result in poor service from therapists who are tired and getting ready to go home.

My wonderful lecturer, back in the 1970′s always talked of giving the customer the same 100% of what you can deliver, on every occasion, regardless of the time of day or day of the week – ‘every client is paying the same and no one client should ever recieve less than 100% of you’ was the mantra that was drummed into me as I prepared for this ‘service’ industry. Sadly, too often I have felt like a nuisance and inconvenience for even being there – and it is not just the therapists. Owners, especially of larger, chain establishments want to treat the customers as no more than sausage meat in a factory – nowhere in the world is there a 30 minute body massage that delivers what a body massage should – it is impossible! Thirty minute massages are just a business ploy to make more money by shoving more of us (the customers) through the process, just like a sausage machine.

At Skin and Tonic, that was most certainly not the case. A young, but mature and intelligent therapist led me to the most wonderful treatment I have had in years. Not only was the execution of the actual massage sublime, every little detail, that I, as a professional therapist and trainer would expect, was there. The consultation form that I completed was read! That makes a change as so many just get you to fill them in to cover their backs, but then never take any notice of what you have said. Although my treatment was for back, head, neck and shoulders – she took care to support my legs appropriately throughout the treatment as I had a varicose vein operation two weeks before. This was an hour treatment of complete dedication to my wellbeing. At no point was she ever distracted from the task in hand. Her attention to the reactions from my body was evident in how she reacted and adjusted the massage. She was totally immersed in me.

And me? Well I was in heaven. Even the end of the treatment was designed to be caring for me. Time was taken to allow me to come back down to earth and no pressure was put on me at any time to rush, or spend money. Result? I am hooked. I want to go back again. I would go weekly if I could afford it. Instead I have seriously considered what I can afford and I cannot wait to go back.

I got value and care for my investment, in a small salon dedicated to customer care – hate to say it but ‘I TOLD YOU SO’!