If I’m truly honest, the alternative treatments I selected at Anamaya, the new wellbeing clinic in Kensington, were chosen with an emphasis on alternative for reasons of curiosity and, of course, to make a more interesting review. I am now realising that there are a limited number of posts you can write (or read) about the ‘best new massage’ or a ‘dramatically improving facial’. On top of this, I did read that the founders of Anamaya are all about ‘global heath’ and I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to delve a little into theirworld.
Graham Doke, one of the founders, was keen to correct me when I flippantly asked if he could teach me to meditate in one session. How serene would that be, if I could simply turn off the noisy world we live in for ten minutes each day. Imagine how calm I might be. But he explained that the session would be a led (not taught). It turns out that the benefits of meditation are not simply escapism but improved concentration and a more effective memory. Keen to improve both of these, I sat up straight, focused, stifled any inkling of a giggle and listened hard to Graham. He took through a very hot desert where we eventually drank from a miraculous stream of water before entering a meadow and passing through some chakra-coloured rooms. Our final destination was up high in the sky where I was greeted by a man (looked a bit like Lord Y) with open arms who was accompanied by a big hairy dog.
Now, seeing as you’re not meditating but reading this, none of this will make much sense. But strangely it did to me. And I felt oddly calm, focused and refreshed afterwards.
I enjoyed my acupuncture less. Jennifer Ratnayake, a well known practicioner, explained very thoroughly to me how she works her needles. I explained my food mission to her and she agreed to concentrate on detoxing my system and improving my metabolism. I also quizzed her about the Facial Rejuvination Acupuncture she specialises in which prompted her to add a new more needles to my face. And then she left me to ‘relax’ looking and feeling like a giant pin cushion.
My session with Graham has opened my eyes to how a calm ten minutes can improve my powers of focus, whether I am meditating or not. I shall try to not flit from one activity to another (at quite the same speed) as I can see it can slightly scramble the brain.
As for the acupuncture, I am now fully certain that this is one treatment not for me. I suppose there had to be one. About a decade ago, I had tried acupuncture in an effort to conceive. I had a similar reaction to the bruising feeling of the needles, the blood rush effect as they work their magic and, this is curious, the swelling of my hands during the treatment. Left alone on the couch, I remembered how much I disliked all of the above.
However, I must just add that Anamaya is wellness clinic well worth a visit. From the moment you walk in, the stunning décor and the serene Roz Sullivan (the other founder) invite you to feel dreamily calm. I could have chosen Pilates or massage as my review treat but, as I said, I was curious.
Initial consultation/Acupuncture session with Jennifer costs £85 (75 mins). Follow up sessions £75 (50 mins).
A mediation class with Graham costs £15 (45 mins)
Anamaya 1 Adam and Eve Mews, off Kensington High St W8 020 3011 0355
This article was commissioned by West London Living.