Have you ever had one of those bad days… that turns into a bad week… that then turns into a bad far-too-many-days-to-count? If so, Lush Spa’s Karma treatment might be just the restorative dose of TLC that your body – and mind – is craving.
Like all Lush Spa treatments, Karma is completely unique – and this time, the inspiration comes from the ancient practices of Ayurveda, a holistic healing system that believes true health is created by achieving harmony within. It's all about forming a perfect balance between mind, body and spirit, which Karma aims to do through a heady combination of meditation, massage, stimulation of pressure points and assisted yoga stretches, all set to an entrancing soundscape of traditional Indian folk music.
Whilst that sounds nice enough on paper, I can guarantee that words simply do not do justice to quite how amazing the Karma treatment really is! The real magic lies in the fact that this is a four-handed massage, where two therapists work in sync with both the music and each other to create a beautifully blissed-out experience that you'll never want to end.
First though, your therapists ask you to visualise a white light of forgiveness that starts from your feet, travelling all the way up through your body right to the top of your head, where it will be released at the end of the treatment. The treatment itself kicks off with one therapist washing your feet, while the other presses a warm compress to the small of your back. You'll also notice that your treatment room has been lightly scented with Lush's signature Karma fragrance – a gorgeous, intoxicating blend of orange blossom, patchouli and warm spices – while other Karma-infused products, like the compress, are used throughout to further enhance the experience.
From there, things only get better and better, with a wonderful warm oil massage designed to stimulate flow within your body. The light-to-medium pressure of this full-body massage was absolutely perfect for me, and the sensation of having one therapist massaging your legs whilst the other works on your head, or having them simultaneously knead your upper and lower back in different directions, takes massage to a whole new level – it really is the ultimate in relaxation.
My favourite part of Karma came when one therapist gave me a hot stone massage on my stomach, to aid digestion and release tension, whilst the second rocked my head gently from side to side – utter bliss! I also really enjoyed the assisted stretching, which basically felt like a more magical yoga, with my therapists helping to manoeuvre my body into positions that I would never manage to achieve on my own – making my limbs feel all the more supple and relaxed as a result.
All of this happens in perfect time to the music. Forget boring spa soundtracks full of whale noises and panpipes – Karma's soundscape is upbeat and immersive, taking you from the bustling streets of India to traditional chanting and rhythmical drumming, and the effect is surprisingly energising. It really adds an extra special dimension to the experience; I was honestly in awe of how synchronised the therapists' movements were to the beats of the music, almost like dancing… and I can't even imagine how long it takes them to learn every step!
Karma draws to an end (sob!) with Shirodhara, an ancient Ayurvedic cleansing ritual. A stream of coconut water is poured over your third eye (the middle of your forehead) and allowed to flow down onto your hair – washing away all your stresses with it. If you've never tried Shirodhara before, it's an unusual but oddly calming sensation… although hopefully, you won't discover your forehead is weirdly ticklish like I did! And the divine head massage that happens during this is the cherry on top of an already absolutely delicious cake.
Sadly, all good things have to come to an end and Karma is no exception – but thankfully, Lush do their best to soften the blow as much as possible. You're encouraged to spend some chill-out time in your room after your treatment to meditate, and there's a lovely freshly-brewed pot of mango tea to be enjoyed at your leisure in the spa's spacious kitchen area too.
If you want to hold onto that spa-vellous feeling for just a little bit longer, it's also worth bagging a few of Lush's Karma products to use in the comfort of your own home. There are cleansing shampoo and soap bars (great options for those looking to reduce packaging waste), fun shower bombs and bubble bars, a super moisturising body lotion, and even a perfume (which I received multiple compliments about… and became minorly addicted to sniffing myself!).
The mantra of the Karma experience is "slow down to speed up" – essentially that we all deserve some time out in order to get ourselves back to our best. I can think of no better way of achieving this than with the Karma treatment; it was 65 minutes of pure, unadulterated indulgence that relaxed my body, settled my mind, relieved my stresses and left me recharged in every sense. Niggling aches and pains melted away at my therapists' hands and I emerged from Lush Spa feeling so much lighter, calmer and re-energised – frankly, the best I've felt in recent memory. I don't think of myself as a particularly spiritual person, but even I couldn't deny the wholly restorative power of this treatment – proof that we all need a little good Karma in our lives!
Written by Rachel Read; translated by Anthea Wong; edited by Kadii Chan.