Luxury or a modern-day necessity? Spa breaks are becoming the norm to treat mind, body… and your mum!
If your vision of a spa session involves a face pack and a slice of cucumber over each eye, then we’re raising a carefully-trimmed eyebrow in despair. Similarly, if it involves waddling around in a fluffy white towelling robe clutching a glass of prosecco, then you’ve been watching too many reality docu-soaps on TV.
Although these are the images that help scientists pour scorn on exotic-sounding treatments they offer, there is one inescapable fact: there’s nothing like a day of pampering to put you in the right frame of mind to face the world.
The health benefits of visiting a spa cannot be overstated, particularly for mental well-being. Shackled by responsibilities and day-to-day pressures, the first thing that’s sacrificed is ‘me time’, partly because you think it’s self-indulgent but largely because of the cost.
But is good physical and mental health really a luxury? Can you put a price on feeling good? As Virginia Sadock, a professor of psychiatry at New York University says: “Going to a spa is a way of being taken care of that is psychologically and culturally acceptable – and we can carry that feeling of being taken cared for with us for a period of time. And very often that can help us cope better with stress.”
Obviously, breaks can come with a bit of a price tag when set against day sessions, but they are totally different beasts. A one-day experience will normally offer only a single treatment whereas breaks provide the chance to step off life’s treadmill with a number of carefully-selected elements, giving breathing space to totally unwind, relieve aches and pain, improve general physical condition through diet and exercise…and probably help you get a decent night’s sleep.
All of this means that No 1 on most spa visitor’s wish-list is a massage and most experts agree massages reduce stress and alleviates muscle tension, and the benefits are more than skin deep. As Prof Sadock says: “Physical contact is necessary to our well-being, and even if the touching is from a professional there to pamper you, that touch will have a beneficial effect.”
Although it is widely believed sitting in a sauna is a great way to cleanse the impurities in the body, what actually pours from the pores is just sweat, not toxins such as alcohol or mercury which are filtered by your liver and kidneys.
But they are good for you, increasing circulation as a result of the elevated heart rate and widened blood vessel that accompany exposure to intense heat.
Which brings us to the other staple of the health spa: the face mask. Many charge a premium to slather exotic ingredients on your face. However, dermatologists say the most important thing to remember about a mask is that as long as it actually contains ingredients that would nourish the skin if they were in a moisturiser or balm, they’ll probably have some benefit.
So if all that gives you an idea how to treat mum and ensure the person who has given you a lifetime of TLC is pampered herself– or if you feel the need for two or three days of R and R – here are a few suggestions.
Bedford Lodge offers a Mum & Me Spa Day as well as a Mum & Me weekend break where you can let your cares wash away in the sumptuous hydrotherapy facilities with five different water experiences. Includes manicure or pedicure and afternoon tea.
Their special Ladies’ Day package includes a choice of one 30 minute treatment from a full range of massages or a facial, a Travel Through Time afternoon tea, and full use of the spa facilities.
Soothe body and mind at The Garden Secret Spa, Derbyshire’s first 5 bubble rated spa. Set in a former 19th Century manor house, you’ll have full access of the facilities in packages ranging from the Vintage Hideway to the Ultimate Odyssey.
One of the most popular spas in the country and the only UK hotel with access to naturally heated thermal waters. Just yards from the world-famous Roman baths, the Gainsborough has a range of spa days with 20 per cent discount for online booking.