My visit to the Capri Palace and its famous “leg school” may be a distant memory and over 2,000km away, but I can now indulge my penchant for vascular gymnastics a little closer to home, thanks to Legology. This new leg care brand has been developed by beauty journalist Kate Shapland – who has poured 25 years of industry experience into her contouring cream Air-Lite Daily Lift for Legs, which Josh Wood’s Atelier has snapped up for its lymphatic drainage massage.
Shapland’s new launch was driven by the idea that there are many causes of cellulite, such as fluid retention and poor vascular health, and it’s these that need to be addressed first. Shapland’s cream combats these by promising to “liberate the lymph with a lypolytic action” – in other words, to stimulate circulation and break down fats by massaging a blend of caffeine and extracts of Centella asiatica leaf, Ruscus aculeatus root (Jew’s myrtle), goldenrod and lemon peel into the legs.
After an eight-hour day on my feet, and with leaden limbs, I’m ready to give some attention to my pins, and head for Josh Wood’s Atelier. Here I am told to buy my own 175ml jar of Air-Lite cream for my therapist to apply during the 20-minute lymphatic drainage massage – which I plan to follow up with a pedicure.
I slip off my skirt and lie face up on the massage bed while my therapist applies the cooling cream. It has a clean, lemon scent – “Capri Crush”, created by perfume house Robertet – that’s delicious, transporting me to Capri’s fragrant groves. Very absorbent, it is applied in enough quantity so that it allows for both smooth movements and a firm grip during the massage.
My therapist first focuses on each ankle, circling the bone with her thumb, pushing around it several times. She then moves both thumbs between the ankle bone and heel towards my calf – “as if tracing fluid through a tube”. The pressure is firm – more than might be applied during an aromatherapy massage, but not so intense that it’s painful. In fact, it’s rather relaxing.
In long, lean strokes, she draws her thumbs up the backs of my calves – tracing a line from my heels to the back of my knees – with a deep pressure, repeating the action several times and then again on the sides of my calves, and lastly over my shinbones. My legs feel less heavy by the minute.
When she gets to my knees she stops moving upwards and massages around the front, sides and back, kneading into the muscles and flesh. She especially focuses on the depression behind my knee, moving her thumb in a circular motion. “This is to ease the tightness that can occur here due to a cluster of lymph nodes,” she tells me.
She then massages upwards from my knees to my upper thighs and hips, pinching on the front and backs of my thighs with her index finger and thumb. She rolls my flesh between her fingertips several times before releasing it. Again, the pressure is strong, but not painful.
When both legs are done, they are a little pink and blotchy in places, but feel warm, invigorated and energised – and significantly lighter.
The final touch is a Marian Newman Spa Pedicure – performed by a technician, rather than the doyenne herself. For an hour my feet are buffed, my cuticles shaped and some shellac long-wear polish is applied.
When I am all finished, I take my pot of Air-Lite Daily Lift for Legs cream, drop it in my bag and bounce off into the hubbub of London, my legs wonderfully re-energised.
The bottom line:
While there is simply no better place on earth for vascular lymphatic drainage than at the Capri Palace Leg School in the expert hands of Professor Francesco Canonaco, Legology is the next best thing. I continued using the cream at home, massaging it in thoroughly and drawing lines up my legs just as my therapist had done (“as if tracing fluid through a tube” to the lymph nodes), in a ritual that took about 10 minutes each time.
After a couple of applications I noticed a reduction in cellulite on the back of my thighs – it may only have been slight, but there was less dimpling and a smoother feel.
Spa Junkie is the founder of FaceGym. She pays for all her own travel, accommodation and therapies.