You’re sitting at a wooden country table surrounded by white kitchen cabinets, a well-used wooden counter top and an old butler sink that reminds you of your grandma’s house. All around are pipettes, Mason jars and glass tea pots. You know you’re in a spa. But you half expect to see chickens clucking around your feet and wild roses growing outside the window. The reality is you’re in a basement on King’s Road, about to experience something truly mind-blowing.
You sit there, your jacket and scarf hanging on an ornate coat hook, and wait for a lady dressed in black to finish her pottering around. The lady approaches with a wooden box, clouds of white smoke pouring from it and pooling in whispy trails on the table. She opens the box and tells you to eat and drink. Once the smoke clears, falling softly to your feet, you see moss and heather. At the bottom is a tiny bottle. ‘Drink Me’, it invites. The clear liquid will start the experience and balance your body ready for what awaits. You drink the liquid, not knowing what to expect. Next is a mushroom. This is all part of the experience, you tell yourself, as you’re led down a small corridor to a room.
The lady asks you to get as comfortable as possible, leaving clothes on or off, and invites you to lay on the warm bed. A soft blanket is pulled up to your chest as you settle in for the hour-long therapy. This isn’t about hands-on massage, the lady says. The treatment will drench you in sound, causing a deep state of relaxation and a natural high. You watch as she burns incense called Inhale and Exhale and wafts more smoke over your body.
While she prepares the tools needed for your experience, you listen to the sounds playing. A bird chirps behind you. A bee buzzes past your right ear, following the bird. You wonder just how and where these sounds are coming from, but as you twist your neck to try and see the lady takes her place at your head, and gently helps you relax. You close your eyes as she uses two hot stones to start the massage, using them expertly to help you get into the experience.
You have no idea how long you’ve been enjoying the sensation of her hands and the stones on your face. But you can breathe clearer, and you start to nod off to sleep. The sounds are louder now, filled with guitars and birds, bees and tambourines. The sounds brings long-forgotten memories to your mind – an afternoon in the park basking in the sun, that holiday to Asia, relaxing on a beach on some tiny island.
Just as you feel your head sinking further down, deeper into the pillow, you hear the lady set off the tuning forks. The forks are placed by your ears, and you feel the low tones more than hear them. She places them on your head, your temples, your chest. The feeling is strange. You can hear guitars now, and coupled with the vibration of the forks, you’re left wondering whether you’re in a weird lucid dream rather than a basement in King’s Road.
With the vibrations long gone, the lady rolls you onto your side to start the ear candling. A tube is placed in your ear and set alight. You hear slight cracking sounds, and then your ears feel warm and start to pop. The glow of the flame takes your mind to Finland, sitting by a warm fire, listening to the sounds of snow creaking on the outside lake. You realise this is another memory that was lost, long-forgotten, and the Sound Bath treatment has somehow brought it crashing back.
The music changes into ohms and chants you don’t recognise, in a language you’re not sure what to call. You try to stay awake, but the sounds are pulling you into a deep sleep. You try to resist, but you slowly let yourself drift away. You feel detached from reality, in a dream world of your own imagination.
You wake up on your back to the sound of birdsong, the music jaunty and rousing. You feel overjoyed, happy, ecstatic, and you have no idea why. You think, ‘can music really be this powerful? Can it take you into a deep sleep then rouse you in a matter of moments?’
The lady starts massaging your head, using the tuning forks and cold stones in quick succession. With each new touch you start to feel more awake, like you can take on the world. She shakes something over your body and leaves the room for you to get ready. You sit there wondering what happened. The birds are chirping behind you once again, the bees whizzing past your ears.
You take a seat back at the kitchen table, and the lady offers you a steaming post of honey and mint tea. An hour later you’re sat in your hotel room, having planning a night of greasy food and chocolate, you put another fork of beans, peas and feta salad into your mouth. The treatment’s over. But the experience will stay for a long time.
The Sound Bath costs £65 for a sixty-minute treatment, and you’ll get to take home your Eat Me, Drink Me goodies. To mess with your head and reality and give it a go, head to Lush’s website.