Kim Britain has the scoop- gaining exclusive intimate access to one of London’s top erotic nuru massage agencies.
Reporter Kim Britain
Having grown up in the West End my entire life, I’ve got to say I thought I’d seen it all. Discount carpet stores turn into boutique cocktail bars, ex- council flats bought up by fat cats, the old laundrette may as well be a fully operational photo studio and every corner shop is now a co-op (or worse, a Waitrose…) The streets that once seemed straightforward now feel like they’re all for show, nothing is ever quite what it seems. Being a Londoner I’ve grown un-phased, no longer shocked to walk in to what looks like a regular fish and chip bar to be met with deep fried vegan substitute meat and artisan potato wedges at an astronomical mark up. This is the world we live in; nothing is quite as it appears on the cover. So when I was asked by my boss to cover this story, to go in to one of London’s best erotic nuru massage parlours, I really shouldn’t have had any expectations.
Arriving to the address, intently following the blue lines of my google maps, I was sure I had got lost. In front of me stood what appeared to be an ordinary ex-council apartment complex. The other side of the road gave way to million quid town houses and you guessed it- a co-op shop on the corner. Checking the address once more, sure enough I was in the right place. Ringing the bell, the door opened in an instant; I was expected.
Walking in to the parlour, I’ll hold my hands up and admit this, I was impressed. Up until the moment I entered I had already built a pretty vivid idea of what a massage parlour looked like: Woman with track marks, heavy lids and pasty complexions, dingy low lit rooms, beds with stains, a funny sort of stale sex smell, maybe masked by strong bleach detergent, noises, unsettling grunts and mattress springs. I think this has always been my impression of erotic massage parlours, I don’t know why, I guess anything to do with sex is pegged as the underbelly, something illegal, and something wrong. Even though I’d been told this particular agency was highly ranked, I could only surmise that would mean instead of dirty beige sheets I’d be greeted with crimson silk.
In reality, this place was…nice. There was a desk, with fresh towels rolled up, like you would see at a spa, there was a plush chaise lounge, some beautiful eastern art work, and wait for it… a goddam water feature. I felt as though I was standing in the waiting room for heaven, or at least the reception of a restaurant I could never afford. But this feeling of luxury, of decadent bliss wasn’t simply due to the well selected wall hangings and pleasant smell, I couldn’t put my finger on it at first, but it was something more.
Greeted warmly by a Chinese Lady in her early forties, she explained she was the manager and that she would happily answer any questions. There was an openness to her that gave her the air of a favourite aunt; the one you’d ask to teach you how to roll a joint, or who’d stroke your hair and give sage advice after your first heartbreak. Her name was Dana, and we sat for some time and she expelled much of my scepticism. And I mean, if you know me, you’ll know I’m not one to hold back…
KB: So are you what people might call the pimp?
D: (laughs) No, this isn’t a brothel.
KB: But men do pay for sex?
D: Men pay for a service in healing. This is something the western mind sometimes has difficulty understanding. In our eastern practices we are comfortable in accepting that all senses of self are connected. Our spirituality, sensuality all form part of who we are, and if part of our self is suppressed, ignored, our general well-being suffers. The body needs to be touched; if it is left abandoned the body will suffer. Scientific research proves a healthy libido dramatically improves ones mental and psychical health.
KB: So you consider yourself a bit of a love doctor?
D: I am not a masseuse; I facilitate the work of the therapists. It is a very specialist role and requires intense training in erotic nuru massage schools, most of our girls graduated from The Royal Academy in Shang hai. I am honoured to have been able to scout them to work under my roof.
KB: Wow, so what do the girls learn in these schools?
D: Well first they have to pass the entrance, really to even be considered you have to demonstrate an innate ability. We call it that magic touch. The erotic massage industry has suffered a lot of bad press because unqualified, unsolicited brothels are always popping up using the cover of erotic massage. It can be quite frustrating. At the schools the girls learn various traditional nuru massage techniques and learn how to communicate with the human body on a deep and profound level- that way they can listen to the suffering of an individual’s body, target the precise areas of pain and remove it.
KB: Gosh, that’s quite something. Are the treatments very expensive? Is this place exclusively for the Tom Cruise’s of this world?
D: Not at all. We are not an exclusive service. Our masseuses are healers, not thieves. The tradition of nuru massage is to bring positive energy back in to the soul and in to the world. If we charged extortionate prices it would go against the teachings of our ancestors. We are aware of the going rates and try to maintain competitive standards. Our prices start from £120 for an hour.
Leaving the parlour I realised the euphoric, heavenly atmosphere that had first shook my attention when I entered the parlour was the positive energy. And I’m not going to get all hippy dippy here on you but seriously, a place built on providing clients relaxation, pleasure and no fear of shame or judgement, is really something novel in today’s world. On my way home I passed a news stand with glossy magazines, headlines like ‘sex scandal’, ‘shocking truths’ and I thought about Dana’s assertion that the western world has trouble seeing sex as anything but bad. Visiting her parlour opened my eyes and I felt a little naïve about my pre-emptive predictions.
A lot of things in this world are not what they seem, but that doesn’t mean, every now and then, you can’t be pleasantly surprised.