Say farewell to Edinburgh Festival fatigue with a bespoke massage at Zen

Choose from an hour, 90 minutes or 120 minutes
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Ironically, Edinburgh’s Zen has never been somewhere I’d associate with holistic or alternative therapy.

It’s always seemed like more of a beauty destination, for results-based facia ls , tanning, toning and manicures. Not so these days.

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Now that they’ve moved into their ‘super salon’ in Bruntsfield, a few doors along from their new Zen Hair location, they aim to offer pretty much everything. That includes their Bespoke Zen Time, which is 60 minutes for £110, 90 minutes for £145 or 120 minutes for £185.

Nicky at ZenNicky at Zen
Nicky at Zen

It’s performed by their therapist, Nicky, who is also a yoga teacher.

She has a bit of a magic tool box when it comes to massage, and aims to make each session as individually tailored as possible.

There are hot stones and bamboo sticks, but also a selection of crystals.

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She shows me a box of these smooth treasures, and asks which I’m attracted to, and I choose a white dappled moonstone, in a lozenge shape that fits into the palm of your hand. I’m asked how I feel, and when I say anxious, she goes for a beautiful piece of red jasper. “To ground you, like the roots of a tree”, Nicky says, and some mood-boosting rose quartz.

The next 90 minutes are just glorious. At least 30 of those minutes are just spent ironing out my back, using an Elemis oil, which contains rosemary and geranium, but this is not a perfunctory sports massage. Instead, it involves rolling and sweeping movements that, along with the ayurvedic chanting music that’s playing on the stereo, lull me into a hypnagogic state.

The bamboo sticks, which make a whooshing hollow sound as they’re rolled, are used mainly around my shoulder blade. At points in the treatment, my arms are draped over the side of the bed and tucked behind my back, so there is nowhere for knots to hide.

My limbs are rubbed from thighs to soles using that red jasper, and other tools, along with the lighter pressure I’d asked for.

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When I turn over, an eye-mask goes on and there’s more of the same on my legs, but also an amazing arm, scalp, neck and decollete rub. The crystals are placed on chakra points on my chest, and the moonstones are held in my palms. As Nicky explains, having these objects resting on your body is comforting, like using a weighted blanket. It’s definitely working for me.

The treatment ends with some deep breathing, for a very gentle wakey-wakey from your mental cocoon. Where am I?

These days, Zen’s name is totally justified.

9 Bruntsfield Place, Edinburgh (0131 477 3535,

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