Massage for the many, not just the few.

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I’ve always been a fan of “lotions and potions” and things that smell great. When I was small I’d constantly be mixing and playing with my mum’s products (which I’m not sure she was too pleased about) and rose petals and other ‘ingriedents' from the garden. This love affair has continued throughout my life, and I’ve never really grown out of layering and experimenting with potions.

Though I’ve always preferred more natural products, after my cancer diagnosis in 2014, I became more careful with what I use. The amount of chemicals going into my body made me adverse to adding anything more. I had a lot of time to research safe, non-toxic ingredients but like I said lotions and potions are my love, so they had to actually work. 

It made sense to channel this knowledge and passion into a small and highly curated line for Loop. It’s small and curated because I’m super fussy and I want to love everything we’ve created. If I won’t use it, or I wouldn’t be proud to give it to a friend, you won't find it a Loop..

  • The products are organic where possible. They are made with natural, plant based, vegan ingredients and are tested on us not on animals. 
  • Some of our products are made with Nut Oils, so please check the labels very carefully. They are also made in an environment that isn’t nut free.
  • Some of our products contain essential oils, if you have any health concerns regarding these - such as when pregnant, or with certain medical conditions - please consult your doctor for further advice. 
  • If you have sensitive skin it’s always advisable to perform a test patch before using a product for the first time. 
  • We do not recommend products containing essential oils on young children.
  • Our products are handmade, so there will be slight variations in colour, texture and appearance between batches, that’s the beauty of handmade.

So in time the selection might grow, but this will be a slow process. For now, we have facial and body oils based on the blends we use in the Loop Studio, handmade soaps, ten candle scents in various sizes, and some lip balms.

Come into Loop Studio for a closer look, or find out more about Loop products online

 

Expanding
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So it’s been a busy (almost) year for loop, so busy that there’s not been many Blog posts here. Which is odd because I love to write, but setting up a business is pretty all encompassing, who knew? Everyone? Oh, ok then.

I’m definitely not complaining, it feels as though Bristol has taken Wapping Wharf and Cargo to their hearts and it’s a real joy to be a part of. It’s lovely that Loop has got a strong and loyal little following too. Basically, as I’d have told you if you’ve ever been in (and commented that you like it) - I’ve created my idea of bliss in a cargo box, so the fact that other people like it, really makes my heart glad.

I’m a weirdo who loves small spaces, so I made an adult blanket fort. I painted it my favourite colour (grey, yes grey, it goes with everything and makes all the other colours look better, that’s my kind of colour) and then I basically filled it with all my favourite things. Depending on the season that’s plants and air plants , crystals and things that smell good. There are plastic dinosaurs and other creatures dotted around. I’m also toying with making an octopus the Loop mascot (because of all those arms and because I LOVE them). All this basically means I’m happy every time I come to work. 

I’ve also been known to have picnics in the studio with friends (after hours) - we buy wine from Corks and food from one of the amazing neighbours and hangout in my fort. I feel pretty lucky, all the time, and oh so grateful.

The only thing that I’ve gotten anxious about is that I am but one human and there’s only so much massage that human can physically do in a week. I know this because up until Christmas I properly tested that theory. 

My life before Loop was based in theatre. It is not uncommon to do long hours in theatre, well, Loop beat those hours. Which is impressive and not really a big surprise - starting your own business and all. 

So, it’s time that Loop grew a little bit, we’re expanding, not up or out (that would be impossible, it’s a metal box and we’ve got neighbours). We’re stretching the business hours and the days we’ll be open, in short we’ll be open longer and everyday.

People are joining me,  four new therapists to be exact, will be working at Loop and that’s super awesome because it means we will hopefully be able to offer you appointments more quickly. No more waiting for weeks. 

Plus because we know, sometimes, you need a very specific niggle looking at, two of the team are specialist sports and remedial massage practitioners. You can meet the team here on the about page and find out who is working when.

I am so excited and so pleased with who is joining the Loop Squad (I’m not sure they are going to allow me to keep calling us that but just this once - I have a Squad!). They’re a highly talented, lovely bunch who love the studio and the oasis I’ve created. So I’m sure you’ll like them.

Anyway that’s a little catch up on life in the studio and here’s a promise that’ll now have a little more time to blog more frequently.

MassagePolly Meech
Stop. Take A minute
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Eeeeeeeeeee! Loop Massage studio has been open for just a couple of months. It has been an exciting, busy time. We started the build in the very chilly months of early 2017. Now, as the days are longer and (sometimes) warmer I've finally a moment to pause and reflect. 

Starting my own business has been teaching me some valuables lessons. Like many, I strive to, but often fail, to make time to look after myself. When you work for yourself there is always something you could be doing to help your new endeavour to thrive. In a society that gages self-worth with how long our working hours are, the number of emails in our inbox, the length of the ‘to-do’ lists. It seems like the only time we get to stop is on our annual summer holiday and then it’s not so much a stop but a crash out. 

The funny thing is, I’m pretty sure, we all know life needn’t be this way. Who hasn’t returned from holiday making resolutions to take the lunch break, to finish early, to hire the babysitter, to switch off the phone? Noting that other cultures seem to manage it - working hours are shorter, lunches are longer and a siesta is part of the daily rhythm of things; and the world hasn’t stopped! It doesn’t seem to pan out that way back in our ‘real world’.

Taking time is important, think of how well-rounded and well-rested we would be if instead of hoping a two week break in the sun will fix us. Take smaller pauses for the 50 other weeks of the year as well. It doesn't have to be much; Take an hour to paint, read or walk, you could catch up with a friend, or take a minute to stretch, or at the very least  a second for a deep breath. We need to take the time to cultivate habits which will serve our minds and our bodies in the long run. Imagine how much more refreshing those two summer weeks will be, if, instead of having to recover and reboot for the next onslaught; we are already centred and prepared for a well deserved break from everyday life. 

I've been making little lists to remind myself of the small things I can do for myself to look after myself mindfully.

  1. Reading actual books before I go to sleep, cuts down on screen time and relaxes me for rest. I like to check out charity shops to score interesting finds.
  2. As I'm pretty much constantly mentioning, I'm all about the Yoga. A little goes a long way and it's such a good way.
  3. Listening to Podcasts and little lunch time walks - I'm super lucky to work down by the harbour-side. Which is great for a lunch time amble. Also I urge you to listen to this programme on octopuses from BBC Radio 4  - amazing molluscs. You can listen again here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b090xs6y
  4. At the risk of sounding slightly unhinged I take a little time out, in the studio, to talk to my air-plants. They're completely nonjudgmental. Did you know plants in the home or work place have been proven to boost attentiveness, lower anxiety and blood pressure, and raise productivity... just so you know.
  5. I'm a huge believer in the cat nap. Sleep is so incredibly restorative and important for our well being.
Polly Meech
Why I heart Massage
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Opening your own business is scary and exciting and a whole mix of emotions. There’s no getting around it, there’s been a lot of change in my life of late and I’m not always the best with change. Instead of writing an essay on how scary it is, in a world which feels pretty scary these days. I thought I’d remind myself why I’m doing it.

A while ago, I was in a bad way. I bottled a lot of things up and was a pretty mixed up chick. Long story short, I very nearly imploded and wound up on the door step of a therapist in a terrible state. I spent an hour sobbing and incoherently trying to explain just how awful I was feeling. I remember thinking that this was probably why interpretive dance was invented because words just didn’t express how bad I felt.  At the end of the hour, my therapist said ‘you haven’t grieved, you are depressed, but don’t worry we can work through it. What you really need to do now is be kind to yourself. Go and get a massage.’

I walked out into a perfectly ordinary May day, this tear streaked, shell-shocked husk of a human. Entirely unsure as to how to proceed for the next few days, until my next appointment.  I was willing to try anything to make myself feel even half a scrap better but I wasn’t sure that it would help. To be frank, I thought it would be a waste of time , of money but I booked myself in for a massage anyway.  I lay down on that massage table, the first time, just to see what would happen really. An experiment.

Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that it changed my life (well I guess, eventually it kind of did, but that’s for another time). I didn’t have a massage and somehow, via the medium of whale music, figure out all my junk (I’ve gotta say I am unconvinced that whales should make music or that listening to it would help you solve anything).

But there was something freeing about letting go of it all for just a little while. What I know now about muscles and tissues I wonder just what my body felt like to the therapist that first time - so much tension. It felt like she unlocked this vice, that tight little ball inside me. I can’t say it never came back, that one massage and I was cured yet, simply being kind to myself and allowing someone else to be kind to me as well, it was a huge relief. It allowed me some time out.

One of the main reasons why I decided to study massage was because I wanted to be able to help some one as I was once helped.

Top 5 things I love about getting a Massage:

  1. The time and space it gives you to just breath and reboot.
  2. How free your muscles feel afterwards, like you’ve been uncurled and ironed out. 
  3. The sleep you sleep after a good massage, it’s so refreshing.
  4. My self-esteem improves after a massage, don’t know why I think it’s just being kind to myself…
  5. Entirely superficial but my skin always feels so great after a massage, and it is the largest organ we have…
LOOP (VERB) TO ENFOLD OR ENCIRCLE 

It seems best that the first Blog post on the newly launched 'Loop Massage' website should introduce ourselves and explain the name. 

Back before Loop Massage, there was plain Polly Meech, Massage Therapist and my ‘branding’, for want of a better word, were some beautiful vintage Knots images; reef knots, clove hitch, bowline - you get the idea. “Knots? Why knots?” Some of you may cry (I know this because some people did already), well, it’s because of the knots or adhesions which can often be found in our the muscles - you know the kinks you get, those clicky things that MT’s are always working on. In a sea of lotus blossoms and hand prints, it was a fresh take on things and it made me smile, so that was that.

When my little Cargo studio became a twinkle in my eye, I decided a new name was needed for this new venture and the new chapter in my life. Now, as I'm sure you're aware, there’s a lot to think about when starting a new business. Of all the things I probably should have focused on - budget, viability etc, what I chose to do instead was fixate on a name. It may sound silly but until I named this new project it really didn't seem real, which IS silly because I had a very real lease in front of me.

Having no pets or children, it’s been a while since I’ve named something, I thought it would be easy, and possibly fun. I was wrong, it's nerve wracking and anxiety inducing.  Whatsapp groups were formed, friends and family consulted - without falling into cliche or in some cases, down right smuttiness,  naming a massage studio is HARD, even with a hive mind. 

I honestly don’t know when 'Loop' popped into my head, but when it did, it stuck. I liked that Loops are kind of the opposite of knots, that we had come full circle. That through massage we let go of the knots. Plus, I love saying the word Loop, and as it's a name I'll probably be using more than my own name now, I thought I’d better pick something I love to say.  

I took it to the WhatsApp group and in all honesty while some people loved it, a few didn’t, which is the same with any name or anything, I guess. Apart from baby animals, we can all get behind the love of baby animals right? 

While still mulling 'Loop' over and thinking of alternatives to appease the haters, I was doing an at-home Yoga practice (probably trying to chill out about what to name the business) - side-note: I’m a huge, huge, yoga fan and still can’t quite believe that my little studio is right next-door to a yoga studio, how cool is that? 

Anyway, Yoga with Adrienne is a favourite of mine for at-home practice and she has this habit of, at some point during the class, reminding you to  "loop those shoulders back", she's from Texas and I guess it's short hand to tell you to to relax, to sit up straight, and to prepare. I've adopted the phrase as my own personal "chin-up" mantra, but until that moment hadn't linked my loving of the word to this 'relax, you've got this' phrase. After that revelation it just stuck, and here we are. Come hell or high water, we Loop our shoulders back and relax. 

So those first vintage knots have been transformed into a loop of rope, which also rather nicely ties into our harbourside setting…

If you want to know a little more about me head to the "about' page here