True confession: I’ve always thought massages were an indulgent luxury, ranking them somewhere between manicures and mud wraps on my “frivolous uses for perfectly good money” scale. However research shows the benefits of massage are endless. Massage can help with balancing emotions, anxiety, circulatory issues, joint and muscle pain, insomnia and much more. I spoke to Charlie Thomson, therapist at Garleton Lodge to find out why massage is much more than a luxurious indulgence.

Why would I choose to have a massage? 

Massage is one of the remedies available to us for many of the challenges of the modern world. Even in a single session, people can experience reductions in stress, improvement in immune system function, and better overall resilience. For many, a therapeutic massage, body treatment or spa day can be meaningful self-care. Just knowing that you’re able to schedule some time for a massage may bring on waves of relief. Claiming time for self-care means you are prioritising your needs.

There are so many options – which is right for me? 

There’s nothing worse than leaving a massage feeling as though the experience didn’t meet your expectations. It’s always best to speak to your therapist so they are able to best work with your needs. At Charlie’s, we offer bespoke massages tailored to individual needs, including:

Sports Massage
Here, we’re aiming to enhance circulation, increase tissue elasticity and reduce muscle tension. Working deep into the muscle to treat damage and injuries. This treatment will assist in relieving tight muscles which can limit flexibility, increase pain and cause future injuries. Different techniques are used to realign the muscles and improve posture. As the muscles are released this results in greater range of motion in the joints.

Soft Tissue Massage
Following a short consultation with our therapist, who will tailor both oils and technique to match your specific requirements, this massage calms the mind and provides the opportunity to forget the stresses of the day and promotes a restful night’s sleep.

Deep Tissue Massage
This massage targets and stretches the muscles to relieve tension. It is used to treat muscle and tendon injuries, pain and stiffness in your major muscle groups and joints focussing on the parts of your body that tend to hold the most tension, such as your neck, shoulders, and back. It also encourages blood flow in order to bring oxygenated blood to repair damaged cells.

Hot Stone Massage
Using smooth, heated stones – the localised heat and weight of the stones warm and relax muscles, allowing the massage therapist to apply deeper pressure to those areas without causing discomfort.

I’ve heard essential oils are important, why?

Essential oils have been used for nearly 6,000 years, with the aim of improving a person’s health or mood. Combined with massage they provide positive effects on the mind and the body. At Charlie’s we’ll select the blend based on your health concerns. We have a selection of 18 different oils from lavender, tea tree, rose and chamomile to bergamot, lemon and cinnamon.

Tell us why the right environment is so important for a successful massage?

The environment in which your receive a massage can affect your experience – it should be somewhere where you feel at ease. Just arriving at Garleton Lodge makes you feel pretty contented, the surroundings are blissful and you’re treated like an old friend as you walk through the door. Plus, we’ve ensured Charlie’s is a cosy, yet serene space, a quiet calming environment with a comfy heated table and spotlessly clean linen. A place where only the highest quality products are used.

Should I tell my therapist what I expect?

Absolutely! One of the most important things you can do is to tell the therapist, prior to them putting their hands on you, as much as you feel comfortable about your current situation. Begin a massage with a conversation about how you are feeling and your needs. There is often the temptation to take the “no pain, no gain” mentality into a massage. But, people who feel that this is the only way to approach a successful massage may actually benefit more from a calming, gentle treatment. So, again, be sure to let your therapist know if something hurts. We promise, we won’t be offended or think you’re a wimp!

How much time should I allow?

If you’re short of time, 30 minutes can be sufficient to address pain in a specific area. But when time allows, set aside either 45 or 75 minutes for a longer treatment. This allows us to work on any specifics and gives you time to relax, release, and reach that bliss point. Even when the treatment comes to an end, you can take time to relax in the spectacular surroundings and enjoy all Garleton Lodge has to offer – stunning views, exquisite food and drink. Spend the day or just sit for a while with a cup of herbal tea, breathe in the beauty and relax!


Garleton Lodge is a small hotel with spectacular views across Edinburgh, the Forth and the East Lothian countryside. Set up by Angela and David Cockerton the hotel offers a careful blend of understated luxury in a homely environment. Charlie’s @ Garleton Lodge is the latest offering to their luxury experience, which includes artisan chocolate maker – The Chocolate Stag. Charlie’s offers bespoke massages and day spa packages. The package includes a 30 minute massage, use of hot tub and relaxation room, and a light lunch or afternoon tea served with glass of Prosecco.

30 minutes £45 | 45 minutes £60 | 75 minutes £70
Day Spa Package £90 (Tuesdays to Thursdays only)
t: 01620 826256 | e: