Spa Junkie on… Marika Messager, holistic coach

Our columnist visits a “transformative holistic coach” to address some deep-rooted emotional issues

Image: Jay Yeo

Marika Messager’s multifaceted holistic coaching sessions make her both modern-day medicine woman and mentor – and she’s built up quite a following: high-flyers come to her looking for leadership development, to make a career transition or to help with anxiety, addiction or relationship breakdowns. A former equity specialist of 14 years, the London-based Parisian now has many strings to her bow, including integral coach (an east-meets-west 360-degree methodology), bio-energy therapist (balancing energy within the body), clinical hypnotherapist, yoga teacher and curanderismo (the Mexican art of healing) practitioner. For the latter, she spent two intensive weeks training in the Brazilian rainforest, which involved such rituals as breaking wooden boards with her hands and walking on broken glass.

I’ve committed to a series of coaching and therapy sessions over a month, for which I arrange to visit Messager at her Kensington practice. Her setup has the feel of a psychotherapist’s office: clean white tables and chairs, walls hung with certificates from indigenous healing practices, bookshelves lined with self-development books, a bed with crystals hanging above it that she bought back from Garimpo de Ouro in Brazil – and a pug dog that’s shut behind a door. We sit down at a white lacquered tablefor my “intake session” so that she can get a feel for where I am in my life and my current concerns.

Messager says that her training in integral coaching (at New Ventures West in California) means that while she will ask me to raise specific “problems”, she will look at the whole – me as a person in the middle of a life that’s much bigger than any one particular challenge. She emphasises that it’s a non-cookie-cutter approach to therapy that follows a structured methodology, but it is also combined with a certain amount of intuition. She says she’ll talk to me about the current challenges I’m facing, but at the same time try to help me understand – and release – patterns and habits that are blocking me. She has an open and relaxed style and speaks in a grounded and accessible way.

I soon feel very at ease and start to open up and spill secrets that even my closest friends don’t know. Messager says this is the best way, as it’s through revealing my deepestconcerns that she can spot negative patterns. This seems to be one of her strengths – nurturing space for such openness and transformation. She gently yet firmly helps me to identify some of the core blockages at the root of my issues and understand how they are manifesting in all areas of my life. This “connecting-the-dots” process helps guide me to the bottom of my issues and I feel empowered to take the relevant steps to create change. She suggests possible ways to tackle my problems – it seems constructive rather than negative.  

A week later, at our second coaching session, Messager asks if anything has changed or shifted since we last met. Again, she picks up on what she calls my internal lack of alignment. She shows me a potential six-month programme she has devised for me; she believes a long-term approach is what is needed for development to take root and sustainable change to happen. We talk purpose and results. Messager tells me the outcomes she wants to support me towards: alignment with my authentic self rather than with the story others have given me; a shift from being overwhelmed by my emotions towards being able to know how I feel, learn from it and act upon it; and an increased ability to understand what I want and let others know too.

Ten days later I return for a “clearing the core” session. We first talk for about 30 minutes about how I feel I’ve progressed since the last session and the steps I can take to continue the journey. Then it’s time to lie down on the crystal bed. Seven clear, polished Vogel cut-quartz crystals are suspended about 12in above my body. Each crystal has been cut to a specific frequency (to augment the “universal life force” in accordance with the teachings of alternative therapist Marcel Vogel) and is aligned above each of my seven energy centres. Coloured lights, chosen to match the vibrational frequency of each energy point, bounce in different directions to balance and align my energies.


Lying back in the network of light, Messager begins an hour-long combined bio-energy (using crystal energy), hypnotherapy and guided meditation session to remove blocked or stagnant energies. As I drift off, she tells me that by working on a subconscious level she can tackle the root cause of problems and deprogramme any negative inherited thought patterns and destructive conditioning, as well as release emotional blockages. I feel relaxed throughout the “story” Messager tells. Afterwards, she highlights the energy centres she has unblocked – and we discuss the visions I remember having during the session and what they might mean.

The Bottom Line

After my first session, Messager told me I should expect to start having breakthroughs. And indeed, one particular problem we discussed improved virtually overnight; it felt like I began to break bad habits almost immediately. After my second visit, I started running again, something I’ve been meaning to get back into for a while; it felt great.

After the hypnotherapy and crystal-bed session, when my energy blocks had been identified and addressed, I was peaceful, relaxed, empowered, revived and stronger in thought and attitude.

The trio of sessions felt like a great first step in making peace with my demons. The fact that Messager has lived a fast-paced, high-flying life means she is a reassuring and inspiring confidante and mentor. Time with her is like a one-to-one meditation meets coaching meets coffee with a wise friend. I’m tempted to do the six-month plan, as in the three sessions I have had so far I feel I’ve gone some way to pushing away existing “blocks” and moving towards a fuller version of myself.

Spa Junkie, aka Inge Theron, is the founder of FaceGym. She pays for all her own travel, accommodation and therapies.


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