What does it mean to be truly "well"? Exploring the all-too-often nebulous concept of holistic health, our monthly Wellness Edit is an honest deep-dive into the wide world of wellbeing. From intuitive bodyworkers to skin therapists and shamanic healers, we'll meet the health gurus leading the vanguard.
In the first of our series, we explore Grey Wolfe's signature face and body treatment - a mental and physical reboot involving breathwork, body mapping, energy healing and massage for a 360-degree health overhaul.
The big reset: crystals, breathwork and body mapping with Grey Wolfe, London
Grey Wolfe Signature Face and Body.
Grey Wolfe was dreamed up by friends and wellness experts Sinéad Johnson and Sarah Jones with the intention of approaching wellbeing by addressing the body, mind and spirit as a whole.
Built around touch, the brand's Signature Face and Body treatment incorporates breathwork, visualisation, crystals, body mapping and energy work to reset, energise and restore mental and physical balance.
As a recent convert to alternative medicine, I feel a bit like a child in a sweet shop as I scroll through my Grey Wolfe treatment confirmation email. Phrases like "energy flow", "chakra balancing" and "smudging ceremony" sing out to me theatrically from the screen. "We'll fix you!" they cry in chorus; a choir of healers who've come to mend me at last. Not long ago I would have scoffed at these buzzwords, but a chronic pain issue I've suffered with intermittently for years has recently come back with a vengeance, and I'm ready to try anything.
The weekend before my treatment I'm sent a rigorous questionnaire to complete, which feels more like a mental health survey than anything I've ever filled out for a spa before. Questions like "how do you feel emotionally?" make me feel cared for, if a little taken aback. "Isn't this meant to be a fancy massage?" I mutter to myself as I diligently fill in my answers.
A week passes and I arrive at Grey Wolfe, a haven of polished concrete on a quiet corner in Barnes. Stepping inside feels a bit like letting out a gentle sigh; I feel faintly lighter, as though I've shaken off a layer from the outside. My therapist, Carmela, greets me with warmth and glides me down a corridor to our treatment room, where I promptly take off my shoes and collapse onto the bed, ready to be fixed.
"Before you lie down, let's have a quick chat," she smiles. I roll myself back up sheepishly, and we talk through my routine, how I'm feeling and what I'm looking for. As I open up, I realise it's probably the lengthiest conversation I've had about my general wellbeing in months.
Suitably unravelled, I'm invited to lie back down on the bed on my stomach, face in a hole in the table. "We'll start with some breathwork," Carmela says softly, counting slowly as I breathe in and out for a minute or two. "Now close your eyes." I smell a faint scent waft in and out from below the massage table as I relax into the bed: Carmela is holding a softly smoking bundle of herbs as she drifts around the room. "Ah, the smudging ceremony," I make a mental note, ticking it off my "wellness checklist" proudly.
Next, she moves her hands gently across me from head to toe, half hovering, half gliding over my skin as she begins to "map" my body. "You feel out of balance," she asserts. I nod my head furiously from inside my hole. Over the next hour, I float in and out of sleep as Carmela massages my tired limbs, occasionally balancing a crystal on my forehead or chest.
When she wakes me, I feel cartoonishly renewed, like a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis. Physically reset, yes, but also mentally restored. As I gather myself back together slowly, Carmela hands me a herbal infusion and looks me dead in the eye: "You need to dance more," she laughs. I nod again, and she glides me back out of the room.
This is a total reset for frazzled minds and bodies, and the ideal treatment for a 360-degree overhaul.