Pax Intrantibus, Salus Exeuntibus. That's the Grayshott Spa's motto: 'peaceful as you enter, healthy as you leave.'
A short stay at a spa has become one of the most effective ways to recharge your batteries when feeling stressed and exhausted. However, you don't necessarily have to be at the end of your tether to enjoy a spa break.
I 'retreated' to the Grayshott Spa for a couple of days and booked a relaxing massage; I was recommended the Rose Indulgence treatment and it was the perfect way to melt away tension. The Rose Indulgence aromatherapy massage was performed by Faye, who has been working at Grayshott for 11 years. Faye - who is friendly and extremely good at her job - used the spa's own blend of essential oils, which are made on the premises and comprise of 7 types of body oils...
The problem with ageing is that some areas of our face and body can be more fragile than others. This is particularly true for our necks, because unlike our faces, the skin there does not produce sebum and collagen efficiently and so can lose elasticity more quickly. Necks are also often neglected during normal skincare regimes, as we tend to moisturise mainly above the jawline.
As I was concerned about the appearance of my neck (it is unfortunately not looking taut and smooth anymore), I booked in to have a skin tightening treatment using Soprano Laser at Pulse Laser Clinic in Bond Street.
Pulse Laser Clinic explained that they use the Soprano machine over and above other lasers because it is almost pain-free. The skin tightening treatment I underwent uses heat to stimulate the...
Balham high street is not just a coffee heaven, with its host of independent cafes frequented by trendy mums. It also features two reCentre clinics for physical therapy and alternative medicine.
Ema Borges of Dynamic Calm practises from both 58 South Molton Street and reCentre in Balham, where I went to have a hypnotherapy session. When I told friends that I was having hypnotherapy, I could see a look of mild panic on their faces. Images of stage hypnosis popularised by TV shows were probably whizzing through their mind – will the hypnosis make me want to do embarrassing things, shout like a maniac or be totally manipulated into doing something I wouldn't normally do?
First of all, there is a huge difference between showbiz and a serious medical practice. Hypnosis is based on the Greek...
Normally you wouldn't associate light sabres, vintage corkage and hot mud with yoga - would you? It seems that Embody Wellness in South London has it all: the quirky gadgets, the innovative treatments and unique building materials. This new studio, launched in April 2012, aims to provide a holistic and integrated approach to wellbeing.
The ‘light sabre’ I mentioned is a new gadget from the States called Cleaner Yoga Mat (CYM) that uses the same technology found in hospitals to clean and kill bacteria from yoga mats using UV light. CYM is a no-fuss way to keep yoga mats clean without the need of wiping and spraying and can be purchased from the UK distributors Embody. Fun ensued recreating Star Wars fighting scenes...
And what about the corkage? Vintage 2012, the flooring in the yoga...
The Aromatherapy Associates Boutique and Spa in Knightsbridge is a delight. I received a warm welcome and because I arrived early (I was simply too eager to have my massage) I asked a lot of questions about the products in the shop on the ground floor (the spa is on the lower ground floor).
I made plenty of mental notes about the different essences, there's a whole range of bath oils and room fragrances plus face and body oils and gels. Each essence addresses a different issue and performs a specific function, from de-stressing to helping unblock congested sinuses.
To be honest, I wanted to buy the entire contents of the shop but I decided to have my consultation and treatment first to be able to make a better purchasing decision later.
I was also shown the new Aromatherapy Associates...
In the words of BABTAC Chairman Kim C.A. Ford- this year's BABTAC Awards have been the best so far. With 9 categories and 25 finalists plus the original founding members attending, the awards have been going from strength to strength.
Celebrating their 35th Jade anniversary with a special awards ceremony at the Royal Garden Hotel in London Kensington, Kim proudly announced at the start of the proceedings: “You are all winners”. She explained later that the selection process was arduous and caused plenty of debate internally as the standards of the applications were so high.
Kim mentioned that she was particularly proud that the Elizabeth School of Beauty in South Africa won the CIBTAC Centre of the Year award. With so much media coverage focusing mostly on bad news and the recession,...
Doing 300 manual lymphatic drainage treatments in 2011 taught me a lot about inflammatory conditions including bloating, water retention and lymphoedema.
Most cases I had come across last year plus more I have seen this year all tend to suffer from more than one inflammatory condition when they book an appointment for manual lymphatic drainage.
Having lymphatic drainage post-surgery is of course an important part of after care and is a category that deserves a separate study.
Last year I saw a large number of clients presenting inflammatory conditions. Research from 1985 showed that there was a between histamine and oedema. In other words, if you suffer from hay fever, asthma, eczema, psoriasis, IBS or other inflammatory conditions you are likely to also suffer from swelling.
Have you ever heard of a prowler? No, me neither. It's one of the 'gadgets' used in Strongman training, the exercise class that has taken London by storm.
If you, like me, think winters are best spent on the sofa with a soft blanket over your legs, then think again: you can actually have fun, be outdoors and burn calories all at once.
If Saturday mornings are usually wasted on hangovers, Saturday mornings at the Albany Club with Chris Heron (www.chrisheron.com) are all about Strongman training, fun and fitness.
Don't get me wrong, I had a sinking feeling when I joined the class on the Saturday morning, mourning my warm bed and pjs.
But seeing more than twenty smiling people and motivated by the enthusiastic Chris, our trainer, all the mental fog and inner resistance cleared quickly...
You may have seen Lorraine Kelly’s natural beauty campaign advertised on the tv recently (www.itv.com/lorraine/lifestyle/lorrainenaked/).
What is interesting about Lorraine's campaign to find the UK’s most beautiful women without makeup or surgery, is that not only the search is on for the chance of winning a modelling photoshoot with Superdrug, but also a panel of experts will select women on the basis of their confidence and personality.
Lorraine Kelly, OBE, made it to the Honours List on 31st December 2011 for her continuous work with charities and the Armed Forces. A natural beauty herself, Lorraine is looking for women 18 and over who are confident enough to be photographed without makeup on and be submitted to the public vote. To enter, you need to confirm that you have never had...
Are you scared of needles, but still want to look good? Just like you, I have a phobia of needles. On top of that, I don't like pain.
What I do like is a bit of pampering and looking good. Thanks to an interesting conversation on Twitter about therapies, I found Clinica Fiore and asked them about their available treatments.
I suffer with pigmentation and scarring on my face and I'd like to even out my skin tone. I was advised to have Dermaroller (also called microneedling or collagen induction therapy). Unlike dermabrasion or chemical peels, the superficial layer of the skin is not removed but 'poked' with microscopic needles (1.5mm). The titanium needles are built into a roller which is only used once; titanium was chosen for its high resistance to breakages.
Dermaroller can be used...
Wellbeing is a full time job: keeping healthy means planning activities like workouts, stretching, good nutrition, relaxation.
Sometimes we focus on one or the other for lack of time.
Wouldn't it be nice to be able to do everything under one roof? It seems that the Albany Club has managed to achieve this by offering a range of services from personal training to treatments, under one (stunning) roof.
Sometimes in life, you need to search for and work at something before you can earn it. The Albany is like a little gem tucked in a corner near Regent's Park. It's a destination private gym and before you even set foot in it you may need to ask yourself how motivated you are to make positive changes to your lifestyle.
The Albany has many aspects of a retreat in the heart of London, but...
We are all made of stars. More precisely, our bodies contain minerals and if we were to brush up on the good old periodic table we studied at school we could read it as a menu of what our planet, our surroundings, our food, our bodies are made of. Not all elements are beneficial to our bodies (like Arsenic!) but the ones which are, for example Selenium, are difficult to include in our diet as soil gets more and more depleted by intensive farming.
And who knows how to get hold of Vanadium, Rubidium, Zirconium, Radon and Titanium?
These trace elements are useful for a multitude of purposes, from reducing cholesterol (Vanadium) to reducing inflammation caused by arthritis and joint pain (Radon).
Thankfully you can absorb these precious minerals through the skin by having a Taizen Japanese...
It may only have been open since July 2011, but Crystal Palace Spa is already proving to be the ultimate Moroccan and Turkish hammam spa destination in London. With pristine décor dominated by sparkly blue lapis-lazuli tiles, the spa is welcoming and clean.
The unique approach of this spa is that you can choose to have an individual experience, instead of being in a group like on a holiday to Turkey. Having your own wet spa room all to yourself is seriously indulgent.
Clients who have travelled to Morocco and Turkey know what they want from a hammam, and often struggle to find the same type of service in other countries, especially in London. There's an evident lack of hammam facilities in London so it is good news that Marylebone is now home to one of them.
All staff at Crystal Palace...
Covering our whole body, the skin is our largest and most important organ and looking after it should be our priority. Our skin not only offers us protection from the elements but is also a good indicator of our health. For example, eczema flare ups can be the result of poor dietary choices (usually an intolerance to dairy products and over consumption of saturated fats putting too much strain on the liver). They can also be caused by an allergy to a detergent, soap, shampoo or chemical product. Pimples on the face can signal some hormonal imbalance and an overworked liver.
This is why I am on a mission to find and use organic products that can make a difference to the skin.
I have been using Niki's Balms for a few weeks now. The creator of Niki's Balms is Niki McGlynn, a homeopath and...
After some deliberation, I must say that Slovenians do it better when it comes to offering a high quality spa experience.
I recently stayed at the Hotel Slovenija in Portoroz Slovenia, which is part of the Lifeclass spa and hotel chain. First of all, I must say that Portoroz itself looks like Montecarlo with its luxury hotels, casinos and sea promenade lined with palm trees. Everything is spotless and clean and you may think some fairies sweep the streets constantly day and night as there's no litter anywhere. This in itself made for a refreshing change from the dirty streets of London.
If you are a guest staying at any of the Lifeclass resorts, you get access to all facilities in the chain - so I went to the Sauna Park at the Grand Hotel Portoroz, which has a larger spa than Hotel...
Have you ever been “oorloff'ed”? Chances are you haven't, as bespoke facialist Michelle Oorloff was tucked away in beautiful Oxford for the last few years. Now Londoners can finally experience Michelle's magic in Marylebone but be warned that places are strictly limited as she's a popular lady.
Michelle has developed a cult following for her facials in Oxford mostly through word of mouth, plus a good sprinkling of infectious enthusiasm, passion and integrity. Her approach is different from the norm: she will match the right products for your skin type drawing from her wealth of experience (and the kitchen cupboard). In fact, her non-conventional use of products is legendary: no one treatment is the same and during one facial you may have an off-the-shelf brand followed by a specially...
Changin' Wind is your local complainery: a place where you can have a good moan about the small (or big) things that bother you in a supportive and informal environment.
Let's start from the logo: inspired by Mary Poppins who said she would stay with her beloved children until the wind would change. Psychologist and founder Paola Filotico, The Soother, believes in the importance of “clearing the air” and bringing a fresh perspective on things.
Opened in October 2010, Changin' Wind is a place where you can air your frustrations or simply find someone who can listen to you in a welcoming setting, miles away from a traditional clinic or counselling service. This is a shop with a difference: on the ground level it looks like any one of the other vintage and curio shops in Charlton Place...
It's the right time to bring Triyoga to Chelsea. According to Triyoga founder Jonathan Sattin, the new centre was well worth the wait: 15 months of negotiations and 13 weeks of building work under the guidance of interior designer Jane Kersel. The new venue on King's Road was opened to the public on 2nd July 2011: on the day people could choose free yoga classes and treatments to experience what the new centre can offer.
I had craniosacral therapy with Vanessa Hodge, therapist and yoga enthusiast, and participated in a vinyasa yoga flow class with Joo Teoh, who teaches yoga at all levels from beginners to advanced and who aims to make yoga more accessible.
Keeping in line with the same colour scheme and design as the other venues, Chelsea's Triyoga is extremely spacious with large...
To mark the start of the Summer Solstice, US yoga celebrity Shiva Rea, the “Madonna of Yoga”, lead an impressive one day workshop at the London Zoo organised by Body in Balance, the web and TV channel (Sky 275).
Attracting a large number of yoga teachers seeking to improve their practice, Shiva Rea has a natural leadership and teaching style. A dancer, Asthanga yoga, Tantra and Ayurveda practitioner, Shiva Rea was attracted by Vinyasa because this yoga style is flowing and musical. Accompanied by a live band reciting mantras to music, Shiva taught her form of Vinyasa flow yoga with precision and humour. She is also an extremely glamourous Californian lady who has inspired many women to sculpt their body the way she has.
Vinyasa means cycle, something that has a beginning, middle and end...
A few weeks ago I celebrated an important birthday and I wanted to make it extra special by organising an indulgent spa afternoon with a group of friends.
Preparations started weeks in advance and here's a brief summary of how I went about organising the event and how you can do the same too.
First of all, I looked up my favourite spas and called each of them enquiring about day spa packages for groups. Once I got 5 quotes I contacted my friends and asked them for their preferences and budget.
The budget was the key stumbling block: be prepared to pay £100-£150 and more per person for a traditional spa package comprising one treatment, access to the facilities and either a complimentary cocktail on arrival or light snacks. If you are lucky you may get a goody bag to take home.
“Lose two inches in one hour!” “Beat back pain forever!” “I can cure cancer!”
If you have ever come across any advertisement promising miraculous results, now you have the opportunity to point the finger at unscrupulous sales techniques.
Alongside poor customer service, most complaints against salons, spas, clinics, practitioners and websites related to alternative therapies involve false advertising, misleading information or exaggerated claims.
Consumers can now rest assured that they have better protection against false advertising thanks to a new directive from the Advertising Standards Authority.
The Advertising Standards Authority has issued new guidelines to protect consumers against false or misleading claims. The new advertising standards went live on 1st March 2011.
The common cold is possibly one the most annoying ailments that people tend to contract during winter. You can't really take time off because it's not full-blown flu but you still feel rather ill and run down. On top of everything else, you don't get much sympathy either! So what can you do to lessen the symptoms and speed up recovery?
If you prefer not to pop pills, natural remedies can help although there's no guarantee of success, as more medical trials and research are needed to provide the public with more scientific information.
The Wahanda community of practitioners have discussed a number of natural remedies for the common cold on our advice pages. These remedies include vitamins, herbal medicine, probiotics, homeopathy, aromatherapy and even chicken soup!
But of all the...
What do the Mighty Boosh and Snowhite have in common? Soup. The English comedy duo dedicated a song to soup (aptly called "The Soup Song") and the cartoon character makes a delicious soup for the Seven Dwarves to cheer them up after a long day at the mine.
Why soup? We are not talking gimmicky soup diets like the cabbage soup or Liz Hurley's punishing watercress soup diet. The concept is to always plan your meal with an image in your mind of an inverted pyramid.
So what is the solution? The solution is to start thinking. Many of us know everything about diets and healthy nutrition but we may be still unhealthy and overweight. What's missing from this picture? Forethought and planning.
One thing we all have to do if we want to eat more healthily and ultimately lose weight or keep slim is...
Working in a personal training studio made me come across quite a few people who have weight concerns. Only a minority of clients wants to bulk up, whereas the majority wants to lose weight and some clients insist that they want to lose weight in very specific areas of the body. Unfortunately, targeted weight loss is unrealistic. It would take some form of genetic engineering and/or extreme hormone manipulation to achieve that.
Weight loss is organic and the body will get rid of fat through a combination of increased calorie expenditure (exercise) and a lower calorie intake. The end result is all-over weight loss. Your body's chemical composition will dictate your rate of fat loss; when you deflate a balloon, it will shrink in volume as a whole and not in parts.
Many of my clients suffer from lower back pain. Some people prefer to battle through the pain or numb the discomfort with painkillers rather than have a treatment, but the "stiff upper lip" approach does not solve the issue.
Lower back pain is a complex problem: in most cases it is a combination of poor posture, a sedentary lifestyle, high stress levels, sport injuries and low muscle tone.
Therefore, when a client comes to see me for treatment, I evaluate all the factors that may have caused back pain. Statistically speaking, my clients with lower back pain are cyclists, golfers, office workers, cooks, shop assistants. In other words, they either have a sedentary lifestyle (but may get too active at the weekend trying to cram a week's worth of exercise in two days) or have to be on their...
Did you know that Michelangelo Buonarroti, who famously frescoed the Sistine Chapel in Rome between 1508 and 1512, suffered from severe neck and back pain?
From famous artists to office workers, we all have had or are experiencing back pain. This shouldn't really be a normal occurrence in life, however bad posture and bad habits can damage the spine, nervous system and surrounding muscles.
In the case of Renaissance painter Michelangelo, back pain ensued during his commission to fresco the Sistine Chapel. He had to climb on high scaffolding and paint lying down but constantly looking up and straining his neck, arms, shoulders and back. His eyesight also suffered because of it.
Wouldn't it be nice if Michelangelo had access to back pain specialists like we have today? My guess is that he...
At every change of seasons we all undergo a phase of letting go of the old to make space for the new. We can give Mother Nature a helping hand with massage to prepare face and body to embrace a new season.
During winter months, the face is the most exposed to the elements and may show signs of ageing and drying out. Facial rejuvenation or natural face lift massage can help, as it has proved to be particularly effective to even out the skin tone and to lift the muscles underneath the skin.
Many have also reported that this type of face massage can help normalise the production of sebum making the skin look less shiny and more compact at the end of each treatment.
The natural facelift massage also works on gently exfoliating the epidermis which then brings out newer cells and stimulates...
Paola Bassanese is a member of the Institute of Complementary and Natural Medicine, specialising in Natural Face Lift Massage, manual lymphatic drainage, healthy eating advice and neck, back and shoulder massage.See my profile »