I’ve never claimed to be the king of massages.

My offering in the way of back rubs is a lazy, one-handed meander over the recipients back and shoulders and on the rare occasions when I do use both hands for a full-on massage my technique is akin to scrubbing down a work surface.

Sometimes, for a bit of flair I’ll finish with a few light karate chops up and down the length of the spine.

This is possibly the reason I was assigned to go to the The Spa at Culloden along with my missus to learn how the professionals do it.

As part of a couples package, we were both given a 55-minute invigorating massage as we lay side by side on two treatment beds.

It was truly amazing. Not just the massage itself but the fact that it was a shared experience that involved total tranquillity.

My wife’s massage was carried out by senior therapist Nichola while I was in the expert hands of Abby, the head therapist at The Spa at Culloden.

Except it wasn’t just hands. Elbows, forearms and essential oils were also used in this intense massage that was somehow invigorating and relaxing at the same time, but with no karate chops. It was an unbelievably nourishing experience. Abby had clearly done this before.


The fact that my wife was enjoying the same experience in synchrony is a unique selling point for The Spa at Culloden thanks to their double treatment room.

It meant that when we were chilling out in the relaxation room afterwards we had something in common to chat about as we feasted on fruit kebabs drizzled in chocolate. Talk about luxury.

And I probably should talk about luxury because it’s something we aren’t accustomed to. Our idea of luxury is having a glass of Buckfast on the rocks rather than necking it straight from the bottle.


We truly felt like the lord and lady of the manor, which granted isn’t difficult in this amazing 5-star estate overlooking Belfast Lough. But this was something really special. So special that my wife hasn’t asked for a back rub since. However I’ve a sneaking suspicion I’m going to be asked to take her back to The Spa at Culloden very soon.

Should this be the case they also offer a service whereby, as well as getting a massage, you and your partner will be given a masterclass in some of the techniques used by the therapists so you can put them into practice all year round. It’s along the same lines as giving a man a fishing rod rather than a packet of fish fingers.

If I do return to The Spa at Culloden for training in the art of massage I must remember to ask them where on earth I’ve picked up the technique involving karate chops.


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