When a friend described her massage with Deanne Kalda of maa organics as ‘a bit special’, I thought she was exaggerating. Only, she’s not prone to doing so. I thought it would be a good idea to try out this special massage for myself, followed by a 30 minute facial for extra indulgence.
I turned up embarrassingly early (a mis-calculation on my part) to Deanne’s home in Bruce, in a surprisingly lush little enclave of townhouses – who knew Bruce had such hidden gems? It was all green and leafy, tucked away in a quiet corner. But I digress. Despite my early arrival, Deanne was un-fazed and greeted me warmly before taking me through to her studio at the rear of the house. When I say studio, I mean it. I’ve had plenty of massages, from the fancy salon experience in a darkened room with rainforest song and scented air to the uncomfortable-enough-to-make-you-crack-a-sweat type under quite clinical conditions. This studio felt good and put me at ease straight away – it smelled good but not too hippie, was spotlessly clean and was dominated by a big massage table arranged with plush towels and fresh flowers.
I filled out my new client form, while Deanne talked a bit about her practice. I pressed her for a bit more info than I normally would. With lots of in salon and in clinic experience behind her, this year she moved to Canberra from northern Queensland in the middle of winter. Yes, my cold-hardy Canberra friends, you read that right – from the tropics to near-artic conditions in the space of a day. Hats off to Deanne (though I suspect she kept her own woolly beanie on for the duration). What’s more, she chose to move to Canberra because she loves it here.
She also loves her work – that was easy to see. In the game for 15 years, Deanne blends her own oils as well as skin products, from – as the name suggests – an organic standpoint, with no nasties. All the products she used in my treatments were her own. As well as being a qualified Massage Therapist, she is also a qualified Holistic Health and Lifestyle Coach, Aromatherapist, Organic Skincare Designer and Spa Therapist.
It was at this point that I realised that what I was getting was a properly personal service. I’d ticked on my form that I wanted to feel relaxed, but I’d also indicated some knotty bits in my neck and shoulders. Deanne suggested that she’d focus on the relaxation element, but go harder where she thought it would help. I told her to use her elbows if need be. She suggested a couple of essential oils I might like her to use for my massage, and let me have a sniff to decide.
As I stripped down to my smalls and gracelessly clambered on board the massage table (Deanne having tactfully left the room to give me privacy, not to mention to blend my selection of oils) I discovered the comfiest face-hole I’ve ever encountered on a massage table. What’s more, a bowl full of flowers in my eyeline was a surprising and lovely touch.
Though my eyes were pretty soon closed. My treatment began with a hot towel foot compress, then a head massage. On that topic, I have lots of long hair, which I’d bundled up in a hausfrau sort of topknot. This was the first time I have ever been asked by a massage therapist if I mind getting oil in my hair. I’m glad I said go for it because I would not have wanted to miss out on that head massage.
I’d love to be able to tell you in a bit more detail what happened next, but I may have lost consciousness at one point, so relaxed did I feel. True to her word, Deanne got stuck into those knotty bits I had mentioned, but the rest of the experience was blissfully relaxing. Head, neck, shoulders, back, limbs – all were included. Deanne has this method of really easing off the pressure as she’s moving on to the next bit of you – so that you’re not really sure she’s not touching you on the knee or wherever anymore until she’s touched you somewhere else. It was remarkable.
There was a moment in the middle there, where a hot wet towel was draped across my back. If any locals remember the Peking Chinese restaurant in Philip (I think that is what it was called) back in the ’80s and ’90s, think of those little hot towels they used to bring you after a meal there – this towel was sort of like that but a million times better, not to mention much bigger. Oh man.
By the time Deanne whispered that it was time to roll over, I was pretty much rubber. I got more neck and head action as well as some footwork. Well, I think that’s what happened – did I mention I was pretty much in a stupor by now?
My treatment experience included a facial immediately after my massage, by which point I’d almost forgotten I even had a face. The transition from massage to facial was heralded by a fine mist of rose-scented spray falling on my face from a height.
Now, while I’ve had too many massages to count, I’d had only one facial before this – in a beautiful salon in Singapore, and I was a bit too sunburnt to enjoy it. So I’m no expert and in fact wasn’t sure what to expect.
It was like an extension to my massage in that it continued to be extremely relaxing. Deanne applied her hand-made products in what amounted to a gentle facial massage, before removing them with one of those hot wet towels I’ve already raved about. I got cleansed, exfoliated, masked and moisturised in this fashion, and finished off with another rose-scented mist. There was also hand and foot massage and moisturising while the mask was doing its thing and then another head massage to finish up.
I’d heard from others that facials often include a running commentary of the products used, in an effort to sell them. No such thing occurred here. In fact, it wasn’t until after my treatment – as I was lounging about sipping a cup of surprisingly delicious herbal tea (am usually suspicious of herbal teas, unfair of me, I know) – that I asked if the products were available for sale. Which they are, and I confess I am now in possession of a bottle of the rose-scented spray (note – it is only delicately scented, in case you’re wondering – not like old-Avon-lady scented. Apologies to Avon fans worldwide.)
So, was this ‘special’ after all? Without reservation I have to say yes, it was. It occurred to me, as I was lying there at the end, trying to summon the will to get off the table, that such an experience is too good not to share. In fact two of my nearest and dearest are getting maa organics vouchers for Christmas, and I’ve already passed on Deanne’s details to some friends who expressed an interest.
Speaking of details, you can find maa organics at http://maaorganics.com.au
Did I mention that when I used the bathroom, the loo roll was folded to a point? It’s the little things …
Angela Hutton was a guest of maa organics and will be trialling other health and well-being experiences around Canberra for RiotACT.