True confession: I’ve always thought massages were an indulgent luxury, ranking them somewhere between facials and mud wraps on my ‘frivolous uses for perfectly good money’ scale. However research shows the benefits of massage are endless – helping with balancing emotions, anxiety, circulatory issues, joint and muscle pain, insomnia and much more. As we leave lockdown behind us, I spoke to Charlie Thomson, therapist at Garleton Lodge to find out why massage is much more than a luxurious indulgence – especially now.

Why would I choose to have a massage? 

Massage has always been one of the remedies available to us to help cope with the challenges of the modern world. Post lockdown many people are far more aware of finding time for self care and prioritising their needs. Even in a single session, you can experience a reduction in stress, improvement in immune system function and better overall resilience. For many, a massage, spa day or simply a pedicure can be meaningful self-care. 

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, our therapist 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.

Aromatherapy Massage

This holistic treatment uses essential oils through the application of massage to relieve stress and anxiety, promote relaxation and aid pain relief. Essential oils are known to improve circulation, enhance the immune system and reduce pain levels linked to conditions including joint pain or chronic fatigue. 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 60 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 | 60 minutes £70
Manicure £30 | Pedicure £30
Day Spa Package £90 (Tuesdays to Thursdays only)
t: 01620 826256 | e: