Bane + Antidote review alternative hangover cures for you to add to your wound-licking arsenal. Does reflexology work? Find out here.
Before we get started, there is something I must admit. I got hideously over-involved with the research for this piece. I went deep cover. Four glasses of champagne, six glasses of wine and two cocktails later I was in the zone… in the zone of clutching my head and wishing the ground would open up and swallow me whole. Cycling in the rain the next morning was no fun at all. Every bitching bump was like a cattle prod to the back of my head. I was kicking myself, metaphorically (I was in no state for feats of two-wheeled acrobatics), for making such an early (12 noon) Saturday morning commitment. I finally arrived at Netil House panting and sweaty with clouds of alcohol fumes trailing me like a swarm of midges. Poor Rachel Morgan I thought as I shuffled inside.
Rachel practices out of a sound-proofed cave of softness on the first floor of Netil House in East London. Her first encounter with reflexology was in 2008, when she started training in drug-free alternatives that encourage the body’s natural healing processes.
The first thing I noticed was the music. I have a very low tolerance for spa jangling. To my delight Rachel was playing some wonderfully mind bending tracks. Strange ethereal, industrial noises (if that’s not a contradiction in terms) filled the room. Subtle enough to be barely noticeable, but interesting enough to carry your mind on a meditative journey for over an hour.
As I lay back on the supremely comfortable treatment table, swaddled in blankets, with my jeans pulled up to my knees, my heart started to race. I am extraordinarily ticklish. So much so that I have never had a pedicure. And in arranging to submit myself to this treatment for this piece, I had somehow failed to acknowledge the fact that reflexology focusses almost entirely on the feet. I think I had confused it kinesiology. Oh well. I was past the point of no return.
I can’t speak for all reflexologists, but Rachel’s touch was everything a ticklish individual could hope for. Firm, confident, self-assured and yet soft at the same time. To my amazement I didn’t squirm once. Rachel Morgan uses incredible hot basalt rocks to massage the relevant pressure points in the feet and lower legs. As the rocks cool Rachel swaps them for newly heated ones. Sometimes the heat is so intense it feels as if they might burn, but I found that going into the pain and embracing the heat was a very cleansing, reviving experience. At times Rachel really focussed on particular points, applying a lot of pressure and really working on a particular spot. It was a strangely satisfying sort of pain, like that of a well executed back massage.
I think what really got me was the simple act of someone massaging my feet with the care of a mothers touch. I can’t think of anything more attuned to that self-pitying hungover state, than to lie swaddled in blankets listening to dreamy music while some lovely individual gives your feet an hour long hug. It’s totally brilliant. My spinning head was brought back into my body, and it was a joy to drift along in a deep trance like state for an hour. I was surprised at how deep I went. There was a ‘switch-it-off-and-switch-it-on-again’ genius to the whole process… If you can trick the mind into relaxation, when you come back to reality nothing seems quite so bad.
I also firmly believe in the liver cleansing properties of reflexology, now that I have experienced first hand what it can do. After being treated by Rachel Morgan, my headache was gone, my eyes felt clearer, reality made sense again and I no longer wanted to vomit. I can’t vouch for all reflexologists, but Rachel is a supremely talented individual. I quaffed a Faust’s Potions Awake Potion natural hangover cure on my way out just to make sure.
One word of warning – chuffed with my new found ability to handle reality and all that, I bounded out of Netil House and straight to Borough Market where I consumed a massive fry up. Bad idea. System overload. I struggled to keep it down. The nausea soon passed but the message was very clear – give your body, and this experience, the respect that it deserves. It felt as though something quite major had shifted in my body, a real hard-drive rejigging if you like. My modus operandi for the rest of the day was giant cushions and herbal tea, an inclination I should’ve acknowledged pre fry up. I became very cat like for the next 24 hours. But my feet felt GREAT, as did my head.
VERDICT: Reflexology CAN cure a hangover. We hereby proclaim it to be Bane + Antidote Quick Fix #1.
For a full list of Rachel’s treatments and prices please visit Rachel Morgan Therapies.