Post People: Barking Baththouse manager Rachelle Moulai

Rachelle Moulai at the Barking Bathhouse

Rachelle Moulai at the Barking Bathhouse - Credit: Archant

Rachelle Moulai has been the manager of the Barking Bathhouse, currently in the Barking Learning Centre, since it opened as a temporary spa and bar in Axe Street in the summer of 2012. She has also managed luxury spas in the Seychelles and on the pacific island of Bora Bora.

“My interest in massage and holistic therapy started when I was quite young and living in France, where I’m originally from.

I used to have a lot of circulation problems, saw many doctors and tried lots of different medications.

Then I decided I wanted to try a different approach.

I ran into someone who told me I should see this woman who did massage and reflexology, so I did.

It changed my life. I felt so much better straight away.

It wasn’t long before I thought “This is what I want to do as a career.”

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I loved the way massage and holistic therapy helps you understand your own body better and makes you look at the cause of your health problem, not just the symptom.

After training I worked in French spas for a while, before moving to England in 1995 and eventually to London.

For a while I divided my time between luxury spas and a crisis centre in Haringey. At the crisis centre I’d carry out aromatherapy massages for people who had been through a difficult experience.

We were able to offer them some quiet time and the healing power of touch.

The feedback we got was amazing – often they couldn’t wait to come back.

Around 10 years ago I got a job managing a luxury spa on an island in the Seychelles. It was an incredibly beautiful island, with just 11 private villas.

We used to get members of the Royal Family stay, and Harry Potter author J.K Rowling was a guest.

We had a very raw and natural approach to the therapy, for example I’d use milk from the coconuts growing there to massage guests. I loved my work.

After the Seychelles I worked on Bora Bora for a few years, which was fantastic too, but I got homesick in the end and decided to come back to Europe.

Last summer I started as manager of the Barking Bathhouse. I wanted a change from luxury spas and was keen to work with the community more.

The time we spent in the temporary spa were some of the best months of my life. I absolutely loved it.

We were so much busier than I had anticipated and had people visiting from across London and even further afield.

We’re in the Barking Learning Centre now, and although quieter, it’s still going well.

However we will be getting a permanent site, hopefully next year.

It’ll be a bit like the temporary one, with a bar, sauna and steam room, but the building will be heated and open all year round.

I can’t wait – it’s going to be amazing.”

n The Bathhouse offers a variety of treatments and services, from massages and manicures to yoga classes. Barking and Dagenham residents receive a discount. For more information, call 020 8227 2991.

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