Tor’s Little Black Book Of Health, Fitness & Wellness

It’s fair to say our wellness editor Tor West knows her way around the world of workouts, treatments and therapies. From the best London spas to online workouts worth trying, these are the names and places she relies on time and again.
@REMINDSTUDIO, @NATALIKELLYLDN

Working out at home has never been easier. One of the biggest pros of the pandemic was the incredible boom in online workouts. That said, some are better than others, and I appreciate not everyone can muster up the motivation to exercise at home, but if it’s the boutique studio vibe you’re looking for, a Peloton bike is honestly worth every penny. I’ve had mine for around a month and haven’t even scratched the surface – it’s a serious piece of kit. Current favourites include Alex Toussaint’s Club Bangers Rides and anything from the infectiously energetic Cody Rigsby or Olivia Amato. And don’t think you have to own a bike to be able to use the app – there’s a cheaper (non-bike) version of the app that will give you access to all the strength, yoga, running and meditation classes, both live and on-demand. 
 
OneTrack’s run clubs were a saviour for me during the first lockdown. I first met head coach Anthony Fletcher when I was a member at Equinox St James a few years back – I was obsessed with his Precision Run classes – so I was thrilled when he launched OneTrack, a series of clever virtual group runs that you dial into. Looking back, I don’t think I appreciated how much those sessions did for me – lockdown was tough on all of us, but there was something about getting outside on a dark, cold morning, knowing you were running with a virtual community and improving your technique along the way that made my days a little brighter. Fletch’s runs really are suitable for all levels, even if you are a complete beginner – the 7am Modified Fartleks session is my favourite.

@EQUINOX

Louisa Drake is one of my names to know. A former professional dancer, Louisa trained under Tracy Anderson and her clients include Victoria Beckham, Gwyneth Paltrow and Felicity Jones. Her method is a fusion of Pilates, low-impact cardio and barre – the perfect combination for toning and fat burning. Prior to my wedding in July 2021 (fourth time lucky!), my stress levels were at an all-time high, so I dropped all cardio and instead trained with Louisa virtually four times a week. 
 
If you’re a gym bunny, you can’t go wrong with Psycle. I remember going to its first-ever spin class at Mortimer Street when it opened in 2014 and being blown away by the energy. Today, spin studios are popping up left, right and centre, but you can’t beat the original in my view. Be sure to check out Psycle’s barre classes too – especially any class with Sinead, Maria or Josh. 
 
Assisted stretching is definitely something worth trying. So many of us are guilty of skipping the post-workout cool-down, but assisted stretching can be a game-changer. StretchLAB, tucked away in Fitzrovia, offers one-on-one stretching sessions – you’ll be pushed and pulled in different directions to release fascia (the dense connective tissue that encompasses muscle and bone). Expect to leave feeling at least two inches taller. If you’re prone to niggles, Ten is where to go for physio. Its Running MOT also comes highly recommended if you’re training for a half or full marathon. 

@LOUISADRAKEMETHOD

I love a good facial massage. You’ll rarely find me without my gua sha, which explains why I love Face Gym. When it comes to facials and massage, I need to see results – and FaceGym’s signature method quickly banishes puffiness and restores a healthy glow. It’s the ultimate pre-party facial, but if you don’t live near one of its outposts, the team also offer virtual sessions. For a more relaxing, but no less effective facial, book in with Sarah Chapman. I keep her Facialift Tool in the shower and use it every morning. 
 
Pfeffer Sal is such a hidden gem. A cosy, tranquil space in Fitzrovia, it offers cutting-edge facials – its Gently Does It treatment is my go-to when my rosacea flares up. Serious skin maintenance can also be found over in South Kensington with Natali Kelly. Natali has hand-trained each of her team – so book in for a bespoke facial pronto. I’ve also been seeing Natali for Botox for the last year and love her subtle-yet-effective touch. She has a spiritual side, too – you can also book in for energy healing, sound healing, tarot and life coaching. 

@FACEGYM

For serious pampering, visit the Lanesborough. I recently went there for a CBD Immersion treatment – a glorious 90 minutes that included massage, nerve point therapy, reflexology and sound healing. ESPA Life at the Corinthia is another must – it’s an incredible subterranean spa and its Sports Massage is second to none. Akasha at the Café Royal is also beautiful – the Aromatherapy Associates massages are insanely relaxing – as is the new Urban Retreat, which offers everything from colonics to blow dries and infrared saunas. 
 
Outside London, it doesn’t get better than the Beaverbrook spa. A magnificent stained-glass ceiling of autumnal oak leaves creates a warming welcome and the woodland theme continues throughout – even the treatments are inspired by the British countryside. The Apothecary Meadow Facial is a highlight. 
 
Self-care comes in many forms. For me, it doesn’t get better than reiki with Jasmin Harsono – you can find her at Gazelli. I have had some incredible treatments with Jasmin and even tried virtual reiki during lockdown. Shaylini, based at the Mandarin Oriental, is also seriously special, as is Michelle Roques O’Neil, who is over in Notting Hill. Michelle specialises in energy healing through the powers of aromatherapy – a session with her combines acupuncture, reiki, crystals and intuitive touch. Unlike a traditional massage, a session with Michelle works to rebalance and restore. You need to try it to believe it. 

@BEAVERBROOK

Re:Mind offers the best yin yoga classes. The beautiful studio in Eccleston Yards is only a stone’s throw from Victoria station, and every time I go, I’m reminded how much I enjoy spending time there. The yin yoga is one of the most relaxing classes I have ever done (you could genuinely wear your pyjamas), while the sound healing and meditation sessions are intimate and nourishing. One of my resolutions this year is to dedicate more time to sound healing – as someone who struggles to switch off, it’s a foolproof way to reset. Holly Husler’s sound healing sessions are great – I do them lying on my Higher Dose Infrared PEMF Mat. You can also find hundreds of free sound healing sessions on the Insight Timer app – which has been a recent discovery. 
 
I’m partial to the odd tarot reading. I recently had a very insightful session with Fiongal Greenlaw, founder of the Wellness Foundry. Unlike other tarot readings, Fiongal calls on his spirit guides for a more intuitive reading, and shares insights into the state of your aura and your spirit animal. If you want to delve deeper into your birth chart, go to Carolyne Faulkner of Dynamic Astrology and for old-school clairvoyancy, try Lady Lilac

@REMINDSTUDIO

The Detox Kitchen is one of my nutritional go-tos. For ever-changing grain salads laden with roasted, seasonal vegetables, warming soups and curries, I always make sure to swing by one of its two central London delis when I’m in town. The banana bread and banana waffles are particularly delicious for breakfast. If you’re in need of a reset – or just want to eat healthier and need someone to do the hard work for you – the Detox Kitchen’s meal deliveries (my favourite is the protein cleanse) are fantastic. I also rate Kurami and The Pure Package, while Potage does great, homecooked meals to keep in your freezer. Deliciously Ella’s new Plants by DE restaurant is also deserving of the hype – order the cauliflower schnitzel with a side of cashew and miso mac and cheese. 
 
Podcasts are a great way to expand your wellness knowledge. If you’re looking to learn more about how the body works or delve deeper into certain facets of the world of wellness, check out the Mind Body Green podcast. I devour each and every episode on a weekly basis. If you like longer podcasts, try Dr Rangan Chatterjee’s podcast for thought-provoking conversations, while Liz Earle’s Wellbeing Show covers everything from mental health to the menopause. I recently discovered Strong Nutrients’ Magnesium Rocks through Liz’s podcast and have noticed a real difference in the quality of my sleep, even on the busiest and most stressful of days.

@KURAMIUK

For more, follow Tor @TorAliceWest.

 
DISCLAIMER: Features published by SheerLuxe are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.

DISCLAIMER: We endeavour to always credit the correct original source of every image we use. If you think a credit may be incorrect, please contact us at info@sheerluxe.com.