Like many people, I suffer from back problems, coupled with various other physical symptoms of spending too many hours on a keyboard.
As a consequence, my muscular aches and pains are murder and I am always looking for some kind of miracle cure after years of everything from physio, massage, acupuncture, cupping, chiropracty, osteopathy and more. I heard that the so-called 'muscle whisperer' Rohan Quarry Day was holding court at the COMO Shambhala Urban Retreat at the Metropolitan Hotel on Park Lane in London for the next two months, so I had to book a session - if nothing else, for a bit of TLC.
After all, most well-being treatments tend to be a bit 'whale-music, scented towels and whimsy'. Well, cut the tunes, bite that towel and welcome to the most hardcore massage you've ever had. But boy, is it good for you.
Rohan is the go-to massage therapy guy for COMO's entire global hotel chain, so he's in town for just eight weeks before jetting in to sort sore bodies at COMO's Parrot Cay resort in the Turks and Caicos islands.
An Aussie with 13 years of experience working with international-level athletes and sports stars, Rohan knows what he is doing. Anyone who has ongoing pain, sports injuries or stress will benefit, even if those niggles are just through hitting the gym too hard. And before I say anything else I urge anyone in London to book him now before we lose him to the Caribbean.
He combines massage techniques learned from all the best disciplines (ie deep tissue, sports and more) with stretching skills more aligned with Thai styles, coupled with 'proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation' (the kind of nerve stretches you get in pilates or physio), skeletal realignment, topped off with Eastern yogic-style breathing practices and acupressure and reflexology, while using body knowledge from all the best treatments known to man. Rohann aims to lengthen muscles, remove toxins and generally calm the nervous system before sorting your body (and mind) right out.
So what happens?
After you've changed into an unflattering but non-negotiable combo of white t-shirt and baggy sports shorts, Rohan ushers you into the gym. There, you stand, a tad embarrassed while Middle Eastern businessmen wheeze around you on treadmills, while Rohan's forensic gaze assesses your body and decides what is going on and what he needs to do to fix you.
He asserts I have: "A body lacking in balance, head pitched forward, right shoulder dropped, right side of body rotated forward, knees facing outward, also the right leg is out of alignment.
"The pelvis is rotated forward on the right side providing a inadequate foundation for the upper body. The myofascial front lines of the body have become short pulling the head forward. Over time these rotations and tightness lead to pain and compensation leading to joint wear and skeletal structural problems."
This is totally spot-on compared with everything physios have said over the years while treating me for the arthritis in my spine, prolapsed discs, RSI, sciatica and more - but Rohan had no access to my MRI scans. Impressive.
After half an hour of assessment, being told what is going on with my posture and being given a series of exercises to combat the worst of my wonky-body symptoms, it's time to be led to a pristine white treatment room in the delightful spa for the hands-on ironing out of my flaws.
It's a deep tissue massage that takes no prisoners, but you can literally feel each wrong kink being kiboshed. Stiffness, tightness and spasms are vanquished. Rohan helps you breathe through the worst of the discomfort (and there is a LOT but he knows I can take it) and stretches your limbs where they don't really want to go when all else fails.
It's not pretty or for the faint-hearted (I may have squealed on occasion), but you can feel it sorting you right out and doing you the power of good.
I feel like a million dollars and pain free as soon as saunter slinkily out of the Shambhala Urban Retreat and skip down Park Lane. Even the spa receptionist was raving about Rohann as she offered me some delicious herb tea and some chopped fresh fruit and nuts in a bid to help me recover after the most hardcore time I've ever spent in a spa before I hit the mean streets of Mayfair again.
A week after, I still have a bruise on my right arm where Rohan increased the blood flow perhaps a little too vigorously (I do bruise too easily though) but I would go back in a heartbeat, and am furiously saving up to do so before he disappears off across the Atlantic. Never mind 'so-called', Rohan IS the muscle whisperer, and I would say the skeleton sorcerer to boot.
Rohan will be based at the COMO Shambhala Urban Escape (http://www.comohotels.com/metropolitanlondon/wellbeing), the spa at London's Metropolitan by COMO hotel, between 7 October and 30 November. A single 60-minute treatment costs £130, or it's £300 for a block of three. And a single 90-minute treatment costs £180, with blocks of three costing £450.