I looked at the big black chair with some trepidation.  I turned it on at the wall, stared questioningly at the circular padded accessory.

I sat on it, grabbed my coffee and pushed the big glowing button. The chair started its thing.

It became evident the coffee wasn’t a good idea as the chair lifted me up, lay me out and enveloped me in a firm embrace. I stowed the cup on the bench, pulled off my carefully tied head scarf, kicked off my shoes and settled back somewhat apprehensively.

It started gently, then picked up the intensity. Nodules moved up and down my spine rotating, pushing, squeezing - hips, lower back, mid back, upper back. Initially muscle tightness was the main sensation, but soon the muscles loosened then looked forward to the next round of firm but relaxing massage.

I had chosen to use the accessory as a head and neck support. It was a good choice, I was comfortable.

Not only my back felt the love. My hands and arms were jealous as my feet were treated to wonderful, firm pressure. My calves were kneaded, even my butt received a welcome squeeze.

Secure in the chair’s embrace I let my mind relax along with my body. The minutes slipped pleasantly away.

It told me it when it was finished with a polite beep. I was disappointed.

I lay there for a few more minutes then pushed the glowing button again and the chair returned me to the seated position and released me.

The coffee was cold, but I was warm and relaxed. I fixed my headscarf, adjusted my clothes and walked out into the sunshine with a smile and a pleasant tingling.

I wondered when I could book my next date.

Bloomhill CEO Chris Franck said the chair is there for staff and volunteers to use “when they need it”.  “I expect a lot from my staff, so I look after them.”

A visit to the massage chair, complete with air-con, music and privacy, takes just 15 minutes. It made me feel a little lighter, a little less stressed and a lot more comfy in my skin.

By volunteer journalist Jan Richards