Saturday, 27 August 2011
Review: Jade Vital, Kreuzberg
The promise of a nice cup of tea is enough to encourage me to do pretty much anything. So when a friend told me about a place near her Berlin flat that served up a massage accompanied by a cup of tea I was intrigued. I am not the world's greatest massage fan but the thought of being pummelled whilst trying to sip a scorching brew sounded exciting if not a little dangerous. I decided I'd give it a try.
Having got 32 mosquito bites the night before (I don't want to make a big fuss but I had repellent on all exposed skin; that didn't deter these little bloodsuckers who just bit me THROUGH MY CLOTHES!) I was a bit worried about spreading the poison that my allergic reaction had brought forth around my body. No worries, my friend told me, you keep your clothes on - this is a mechanical bed massage. Suddenly, I was feeling far more enthusiastic about the whole thing.
Arriving at Jade Vital I was pretty blown away. I had expected a massage place which served up a nice cup of tea - kind of like you get at the hairdressers; but no, this was a proper tea shop stacked full of tins containing everything from top-grade Sencha to a rich black Ceylon. I was seriously impressed by the selection and all of the lovely cups and teapots that stood alongside but there was no time to ogle just yet as it was massage time. We were shown through to the adjoining room and I was put on a bed alongside the huge window. As I wiggled myself into the correct position, the woman - who I assume was the owner - told me (in helpful English) that the massage would take around forty minutes and that I should place the thermal jade-ball thing on my "organ area". I guessed that was my upper abdomen, popped it there and I was away.
The massage was pleasingly vigorous. A set of rollers within the bed travelled up and down my spine and two other sets concentrated on my lower legs. The spinal rollers were so strong as to actually lift my whole body up, which felt strangely satisfying. I discovered later, when I had had time to read and translate the leaflet, that the rollers were full of jade balls believed to have a mystical power in eastern medicine. I have no idea if anything mystical was going on but it certainly felt good. The bed and the thermal thing on my abdomen got lovely and warm and the sun streaming in the large window did a wonderful job of making me fully relaxed. The massage was a little too rigorous to fall asleep to but I definitely finished my forty minutes feeling relaxed and tingly.
Now, as if all that pleasure wasn't enough, it was tea time. There was a fairly overwhelming choice of tea but my eyes alighted on the sign for "new bubble tea". As it was such a warm evening my friend and I decided that was what was required. We both went for a green-tea based, mango juice tea with traditional black tapioca pearls. It was actually really delicious and I found that this non-milk variety was actually much nicer than the last one I'd tried.
What a fantastic place Jade Vital is; it's one of those curious combinations that sounds odd but makes perfect sense once you are there. Of course it would be perfectly possible to pop in for a cup of tea with some homemade cake or just go along for a massage but the real pleasure is surely in treating yourself and enjoying both.
And best of all this pampering visit is something of a bargain: just €7 for the massage and around €3 for a tea. If you can think of a better treat for around a tenner I want to hear about it. In fact, at that price I see no reason why it can't become a regular thing. And that's my very favourite kind of treat - the one you can indulge in as often as you like.