A love of massage is woven into our very beings; we have been enjoying the comfort of touch for centuries. Massage therapy is based on our natural instinct to place our hands on areas that ache. Parents rub their children's knees when they scuff themselves falling over and mothers rub their babies' backs when they cry. We thought we'd take a look at the beginnings of the art of massage to better understand the places it can take us, and what keeps us coming back for more.
Written records of massage have been found in China over four thousand years ago, ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics depict hand and feet massage techniques, and even Hippocrates of Ancient Greece was all for this alternative treatment. If the Father of Medicine was game, who are we to disagree? Tragically, these early teachings and techniques were lost due to repressive cultures and regimes and it wasn't until the 1800s when Pehr Henrik Ling, a Swedish physical therapist, got his hands on it did it begin to regain its standing as a manual therapy.
Oils have been important in massage treatments throughout history. Most of our essential oils are used in a base of jojoba oil. We love this oil for it's affinity with our own naturally produced oil, sebum. It is a great carrier for all the effective, hardworking aromatherapy oils.
During the days of Cosmetics To Go, the company Lush evolved from, founder Mark Constantine often considered massage oil in a bottle to be unwieldy and far too easy to knock over. He took a break from thinking about this tricky conundrum and headed to his local shop for some well-earned chocolate refreshment. By the time he'd returned home with his snack, it had melted in his pocket from the heat of his body - a fate that would break many a heart. Still, he ate it, and was suddenly struck with inspiration! What if he could use the finest quality cocoa butter to and carefully chosen essential oils in a solid bar that would melt at body temperature? No bottles to knock over just a simple, gorgeous massage bar with no fuss. This love of chocolate was responsible for the development of the delectable Knights in White Chocolate massage bar.
When Lush opened in 1995, the massage bars had developed into a core range being advertised in the Lush Times as a new alternative to aromatherapy. We're still dreaming up all manner of wonderful massage bars and Mark's love of massage is so important to him that in 2008, with the help of his equally passionate friends, he created the Lush Spa (https://www.lush.co.uk/spa) to share his new inventions with customers. He gains inspiration from memories and passions such as his love of bird song, the peaceful Dorset countryside, and the energy of folk music and sea shanties.
In the spring of 2011, Lush founder Helen discovered Heston Blumethal's Fat Duck Cookbook. Inside was a recipe for a mouth-watering re-invention of the Black Forest Gateau put together with layers of different elements, with one being of particular interest, a layer of aerated chocolate.
This caught Mark's eye.
Mark had wanted to use the Fair Trade, organic cocoa butter from the Colombian Peace village in some of our massage bars. Comunidad de Paz are a Peace community that have made the decision to live a life free of violence - refusing to take sides in the ongoing conflict between the paramilitaries, guerrillas and government. This places them in a very difficult and dangerous position. When we heard about them, we decided we wanted to support them and help provide an international voice for the struggles they are facing. One of the best ways to do so was through trade. The community have an abundance of cocoa that grows on their land and they struggle to find a market for it. We buy the beans in 25 tonne lots and have them processed in Europe to create the beautiful PEACE cocoa butter, which ties in perfectly with our ongoing work to find truly traceable cocoa butter. We use their cocoa butter in two of our new massage bars, Peace and Therapy, giving you a lighter, more velvety massage.
Jack Constantine began to work on aerating cocoa butter and by experimenting with various temperatures and adding nitrous oxide, he was able to create swirls of quick-setting, aerated cocoa butter. Noriko, Lush inventor, realised she could coat the aerated mix to prevent it from melting so quickly by lining the mould with a thin layer of chocolate. Chocolate Moose, a one-use massage bar that would crumble in your hands giving you a smooth concoction, was born. However, scaling up the numbers of Chocolate Moose to see us through a Lush Christmas just wasn't practical or economical; the idea for Chocolate Moose remained in our minds.
New talent has since moved to Poole to work in the Lush Labs in the form of Dan Campbell. By applying his scientific expertise to Jack's experiments, he has given the aerated cocoa butter a much lighter texture which makes it easier to smooth onto the skin. Together with Helen, Dan has re-invented a number of our massage bars using this aerated Fair Trade cocoa butter.
We believe in filling the world with massage and are thrilled to share our new range of massage bars with you. We think even Hippocrates would be tempted.