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Review: Apotheca

A stunningly Instagrammable and thoroughly useful apothecary in Faversham, we think you'll love! Read the Muddy review!

It’s time to spill the beans and let you know about a hidden gem of ours based in the heart of Faversham. It’s been a Muddy favourite for a while now as not only is Apotheca, run by the impressive Milena Moore, a centre for natural health with over the counter advice, natural remedies and beauty products but it also has a studio space and therapy rooms out back where the ethos is all about creating a happier and healthier version of you. Sign us up!

THE LOWDOWN

As soon as you arrive at Apotheca, just to warn you so the battery is charged, there will be an immediate impulse to reach for your phone and click away at this photogenic gem. The store has been designed to resemble an old-fashioned apothecary setting with rows upon rows of natural oils, herbs, remedies, tea leaves, candles, recipe books, homeware items and beauty products displayed around you. I salute you if you leave without not purchasing one single item.

What really impresses me about the store is that the staff are hugely passionate about their craft and you will often find someone who has given you a treatment on a previous occasion, talking to customers in the shop the next time you pop back. Meaning that you are really getting the best professional advice when in need of finding the perfect remedy or solution for you.

Apotheca’s motto is ‘Heal, Pamper and Relax’ and that is apparent in their wide range of natural therapies on offer. On this trip, I went for acupuncture and a Holistic Facial but I am also very tempted to return for Allergy and Food Intolerance testing (tests for 150 allergens with immediate results) craniosacral therapy (subtle and profound whole-body therapy using light touch, working directly with our body’s natural capacity to restore and regenerate itself) and maybe, just maybe, a spot of Therapeutic Dance which apparently is a light and playful way of accessing those parts of yourself that may be preventing you from enjoying a more balanced & fulfilling life. If only there was a herbal cure for furnishing me with some natural rhythm.

THE EXPERIENCE

This was my first acupuncture experience even though friends of mine swear by it and I have read one or two features extolling its many virtues. As a 40-year-old mother to two small-ish children who finds her energy levels are a bit zapped (read: has been known to frequently fall asleep in cliffhanger episodes of Line & Duty and the like), I was keen to know if acupuncture could offer a miraculous cure. I was in very safe hands with Nicola who previously trained as a solicitor and has a first-class master’s in law until she found her calling with Chinese medicine and acupuncture and has since been to China to perfect her craft. Thankfully I was told that this was a common complaint with many of her patients and she was confident that she could help plus she frequently works with people by providing respite for headaches, digestive problems, anxiety, hayfever, colds and depression as well as boosting fertility levels.

We subsequently spent the next thirty minutes going into detail about my eating habits, general health, menstrual cycle and digestive system (“the clue is in the poo” yikes), which helped Nicola put some pieces in the puzzle about what part of my body could be driving this lethargic state of mind. There was even a two-second tongue test which apparently can give Nicola all sorts of signs about the state of your body.

First up, Nicola mixed some Mugwort herbs which she chose as it would help to boost energy levels and bring heat to the acupuncture experience. These were then placed on strategic parts of my body (it’s my spleen that is the culprit apparently) and lit until they had burned through – and critically, without any skin damage. No needles were used at this point and it felt oddly reassuring to embrace this tingling sensation and the heat that filled my body. Nicola said that she saw this practise frequently used on new mothers in her training and was astounded by the energy uplift that they felt after this treatment.

Next up was the needles which sounds far more ominous than the relaxing reality. In a bid to find my deqi – which literally means “the arrival of vital energy,” and the ultimate holy grail in the art of acupuncture, Nicola positioned needles in my acupuncture points with the aim of finding a ‘dull ache’ sensation that would indicate that they were doing their stuff – and boy, they did!

From my acupuncture room, I headed to meet Sarah who performed my holistic facial – another first. Sarah has vast experience in Reiki where practitioners use a technique called palm healing or hands-on healing through which a “universal energy” is said to be transferred through the palms of the practitioner to the patient to encourage emotional or physical healing and therefore my holistic facial mingled a traditional facial with some of these elements.

Interestingly, there was not an overriding ‘brand’ in terms of products with Sarah reaching for the best solution she felt was best for my skin which was quite refreshing to have the experience removed from any marketing gimmicks. I did notice brands such as Weleda (holistic natural cosmetics) being used, including their Wild Rose day cream which contains organically-grown wild musk rose seed oil, to encourage regeneration and helps to effectively resist the first signs of ageing as well as products from the Kaeso range which is known for sourcing proven and effective botanical extracts that are renowned for their true benefits to the skin.

One key tip which I shall be taking forward was to mix rose water with a spot of calamine powder for a mini at home facial which can help to reduce redness on the face plus can also be used for a younger generation so good for any daughters (or indeed sons) who are starting to experiment with pots and potions for their skin. Another major plus point was interspersing the facial with some reallllllllllllly good massages on the head and back as well as lymphatic drain massage on the arms while my Amphora Aromatics Mint and Dead Sea salt scrub did its magic.

Following my treatments, I was advised to lie low and drink plenty of water but I may have fallen at the first hurdle as I was already heading for a girls’ weekend to Deal to celebrate a friend’s 40th so I am not sure if I was the ideal guinea pig for this task but I certainly left Apothecawith a spring in my step, a bounce in my skin and I noticed over the weekend that I had more energy than normal – or was it just that extra Expresso Martini?

THE LOCATION

Apotheca is located on one of Muddy’s favourite streets in Faversham – West Street which is a pretty, cobbled road just off the market square. If you are making a day of it, there are a few other shops to catch your eye such as Branching Out antiques on the Mall. And do not miss The Standard Quay if you are a bit of a magpie and like a bargain.

For lunch options, head to The Yard which serves good soups and tasty sandwiches or The Hot Tin, a Victorian flat plack tin church which serves proper coffee, artisan foods as well as being a destination for live music, performance, film and the arts later in the evening

ANYTHING ELSE?

I was most intrigued to hear that there is a possibility that they will launch facial acupuncture at Apotheca which is an extension of traditional acupuncture and can help to naturally make the skin look younger, smoother, and all-around healthier. And unlike injection procedures, facial acupuncture addresses not only signs of aging, but also the skin’s overall health.

I shall be returning for one of their yoga classes plus they also do Pilates, Mindfulness and Tai-Chi (as well as many others) and it’s worth keeping an eye on their event calendar as they frequently put on events such as meditiative relaxation classes and yogic sleep workshops.

THE DAMAGE

Allow 90 minutes for your first acupuncture session with Nicola to include the in-depth consultation (£50) and thereafter acupuncture appointments are £40 for 60-minute appointments. It is £46 for a one hour holistic facial at Apotheca and £36 for 45 minutes.

A holistic facial with Sarah costs xx

THE MUDDY VERDICT 

Good for:   Anybody looking for a truly nurturing experience where you can feel that your best interests are at heart as well as the lifestyle benefits that acupuncture can bring plus that ‘glow’ you get when someone has been smearing wonderful creams all over your face for the past hour.

Not for:  Those looking for the swish salon experience with a full medley of branded products. The focus here seems to be more on healing and nurturing your skin and body and restoring your inner confidence and energy rather than just remedying purely aesthetic issues.

Apotheca, 13 West Street, Faversham, Kent  ME13 7JE Tel: 01795 227 423 www.apothecaclinic.co.uk

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