STROLLING through Manchester Arndale, you may have noticed contraptions resembling sun beds right in the middle of the walkways. Are tan addicts really that desperate they’d strip down in the middle of a shopping centre for “ten minutes on a lie down please"? Thankfully no. These may look like sun beds but they’re a darn sight better for your health.

Aqua Massage is a dry hydrotherapy massage system that uses the impact of water to give your body a good pummelling. Don’t worry, your clothes stay on and any initial embarrassment soon wears off as you enter the Aqua Massage pen, situated on the upper mall.

The machine has been designed for those who want a full body fix, fast. Offering short ten minute massages, it’s ideal for those who don’t want the hefty price tag of a spa.

As much as we love the ceaseless shopping opportunities the Arndale has to offer, shopping in there has been known to be chaotic. A hive of shop to shop scurrying, particularly on a Saturday, Aqua Massage is positioned right among the honeycomb.

Joining 80 countries worldwide, the machine has been designed for those who want a full body fix, fast. Offering short ten minute massages as well as longer sessions, it’s ideal for those who don’t want the hefty price tag of a spa, the effort of stripping down or the feeling of being touched by another human. At a cost of £29,000 per machine it’s worth its weight in gold. And you can have a go for £10 for ten minutes, which we're told is the equivalent to 30 minutes normal massage time due to the constant intensity.

Lying down on your front, as soon as the lid closes (not fully mind), you could really be anywhere in the world. The Arndale was definitely last on my list as the soothing music coming through the headset blocked out the noise and the Aqua Massage cocooned around my body all warm and protective.

The next bit was highly anticipated. Not sure what to expect, all sorts of ideas go through your mind. Will the water leak? Will it burst? Will it hurt? Will it tickle? Will it be hot? Will I feel claustrophobic?

Luckily you get a simple remote control that keeps you in control of the machine and subsequently your own farfetched thoughts. The idea is that you can either let the Aqua Massage work the whole of your body or you can pause it on certain parts for localised intensity. You can also up the power or decrease it as you see fit. Used by many sports players (Wigan's Hugo Rodallega is a fan) it's a medically proven piece of kit in the States and China where it's used as an alternative pain control therapy. If clinical trials with the NHS go to plan, we could be seeing a lot more of these futuristic machines dotted around soon.

Aqua MassageAqua Massage

It may look like a rigorous car wash to onlookers (see the above video) but it feels completely tranquilising, like the ocean waves lapping against your body. Many people even fall asleep. It's delightful.

I went full on. It’s a weird sensation – definitely not like a human massage but not completely robotic either. It can be set to different programs so the massage techniques really are varied – there’s no straight up and down. It’s a bit like being under a water fall, without the bother of getting wet. The jets really hit hard if you allow them to and it’s surprising how they know exactly where the back of your neck is and likewise, where your feet end. In actual fact, your rough height measurements are programmed in to the Aqua Massage before you hop aboard so it’s not rocket science, it’s just doing as it’s told.

As far as the pre-massage concerns go, I didn’t get wet, it definitely didn’t burst or hurt, it was a little ticklish around my tootsies but not unbearable, the temperature was comfortably cosy and far from claustrophobic, I didn’t want to get out. That’s not to say I’ll never go back to a regular massage – you can’t beat the intensity of human hands – but next time I’m on a shopping spree and the bags are getting a bit heavy, I might just give myself a £29,000 treat.

Prices start from £10 per treatment or you can have:

£10 Standard Session

£17.50 Double Session

£25 for Top Session