Courtesy of The Raithwaite Estate Spa, N Yorks

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Why do we Spa?


There doesn’t seem to be a day that goes by when the word ‘spa’ is not repeated by someone outside of the industry. A radio DJ,  a mum quoting the latest article in Good Housekeeping or a couples conversation overheard in the supermarket about where they should spend their time.

However it was only 30 years ago when it was considered more amongst the rich and famous rather than for a treat - a significant birthday or to mark an anniversary. Of course much further back bath houses were built around a natural spring when it was all about taking to the waters to treat physical ailments, relieve illness and discomfort. In fact the dictionary definition of ‘spa’ still reads:


  1. a mineral spring considered to have health-giving properties.

"the Victorian spa town of Buxton"

  1. a bath containing hot aerated water.

Luckily for those of us that don’t live within easy access of the beautiful town of Buxton, ‘spa’ nowadays as per Wikipedia refers toa business that provides a variety of services for the purpose of improving health, beauty and relaxation through personal care treatments such as massages and facials. 

Whether available on the high street, in a countryside retreat or in a 5* hotel the desire to visit has never been greater. But why do we go?

There are numerous benefits for visiting a spa. Whether it is a system reboot, relaxation, wellness or pampering you are looking for there are key aspects to consider when selecting the ideal location.

How long will you stay for? What do you want to do when you arrive? Who are you going with? Are all areas which will dictate the right venue for your booking.

Taking to the water these days typically means swimming a few laps in a pool (let the forecast dictate if you prefer indoor or outdoor) being pummelled in a hydrotherapy pool or resting in a steam room. Venues may also offer the dry heat of a sauna, bucket showers, cryotherapy/ice chambers, a hammam and beautifully, fragrant kitchen gardens plus of course a fitness facility and classes for those that want to sweat it out the active way.

Many of us feel the need for some time out at one time or other. A place to retreat. A reward or maybe space to think. Allocating some time for me is a very popular reason for booking a spa break whether overnight or staying for the day. One hotel has recently released a package named ‘24hrs in a robe’. Perfect for some solitude. The best venues are those where you can comfortably dine in your robe at lunch in a restaurant with smaller table so lunch for one is a pleasure rather than an ordeal. Many spas have quiet spaces for a snooze or provide somewhere tranquil where you can read a book without getting interrupted. 

On the flipside time at the spa can also seen as a time to be sociable. Birthdays, anniversaries and hen parties are all great reasons to celebrate at the spa for the day. It’s more an occasion to indulge than detox! Larger hydrotherapy pools mean that you can all enjoy time together. Circular tables for sociable dining allow you to engage with the group over several courses. Many spas will also serve a glass of bubbles or two to accompany your celebratory cake whilst you recline on one of the many loungers on the terrace. 

Maybe it’s the new date night. Gone are the days when it is only the ladies who enjoy all the benefits that the spa has to offer, male attendance is on the rise. According to ISPA’s ongoing research through Consumer Snapshot Studies, the proportion of male spa-goers has risen from 31% less than 10 years ago to 47% and growing. Do make sure you can both access all facilities as some properties have separate male and female spaces. A couples treatment room or suite will also provide a exclusive space to reconnect.

For most a trip to the spa incorporates some kind of touch whether in a full body massage, a facial or body treatment. 

Studies of the benefits of touch or massage demonstrate that it is an effective treatment for reducing stress, pain and muscle tension. Couple this with the results in some studies that have found massage may also be helpful for reducing anxiety, digestive disorders, relieving headaches and reducing insomnia. Others book simply because it provides them with feelings of being nurtured, comforted and connected. 

So whatever your reasons make sure you stay on top of your game. Watch out for the signs and be sure to know that you deserve it. So go and book it!


Clare Dickens

Head of Spa at Zelens.



#uksa #spa #dayspa #hotelspa #wellness #relaxation #massage #retreat #timeout #indulge 


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Friday, 18 September 2020