When the first drops of warm massage oil made contact with my back, it should have been a cue for my body to instantly relax. But after months hunched over my laptop in the confines of a studio flat, the dark circles under my eyes echoing its soulless blue light, those muscles had apparently forgotten how.
Exasperated, I sank my cheeks further into the cushioned face-cradle, hoping it would accelerate the process. Any minute now, I thought, relaxation will wash over me. But it never did.
That’s not to say the massage at Laurea Spa, the wellness centre inside the newish Savoy Palace Hotel in Madeira, wasn’t any good. Quite the opposite, in fact; I’m convinced that I would have melted into a puddle had I experienced another hour of it. But I was only in for a 30-minute taster as part of a wellness weekend on the Portuguese island and, well, there were only so many knots my poor masseuse could untangle in that time.