herbal

What is the right Spa for me?

Spa.   The Oxford English Dictionary defines this in two ways:

  1. A place or resort with a mineral spring
  2. A commercial establishment offering health & beauty treatments through such means as steam baths, exercise equipment and massage.

This can be further broken down into different commercial spas:

  1. Destination spas
  2. Spa Resorts
  3. Days Spas

So far, so confusing.   Let’s take a closer look at each spa to understand what each one offers  🙂

 

DESTINATION SPAS:

Destination Spas are residential facilities that concentrate on improving health and fitness through exercise, nutrition, spa treatments and thermal wellbeing. They are all about relaxation and rejuvenation and learning how to live a healthy life.    The spa is the destination, you are there for a reason and that is to spa and nothing else!  You can stay for as long as you want, from days to months if budget allows!  The aim is to restore your health and vitality.

Six Senses Yao-noi Spa, Thailand

The cost usually includes all meals, exercise classes and some spa treatments, but obviously check before you book.

They are staffed by experts in various disciplines e.g yoga or nutrition or herbal medicine, and promote a healthy and active lifestyle during your stay.   Some personalise therapies to their guests so that they gain optimum benefit from their time there.

Children aren’t normally welcome in a destination spa.  It is however suitable for people travelling alone but who want to spend time with like-minded people and for couples.

 

SPA RESORTS:

A spa resort caters more for families in a hotel situation and is less focused on an all-encompassing health and wellness experience.   The spa treatments are usually only one part of the stay which can include outdoor pools, tennis, cycling and golf.   They are likely to have a suite of saunas and steam rooms with maybe an ice room or plunge pool alongside a gym for guests to use during their stay.

Treetop Sauna, Centre Parcs, Sherwood Forest

At a spa resort the focus is on enjoying yourself, eat and drink healthy if you like, but if you don’t there are other options available on the menu!

Some spa resorts can also act as a day spa, whereby access is allowed to day guests who aren’t residents of the hotel.

 

DAY SPAS:

As the name suggests, these aren’t residential – you literally visit a day spa for a day without any overnight accommodation.

They usually have a variety of pampering facilities for the guest to experience such as massages, beauty therapies and holistic treatments and have thermal rooms and swimming pools. Gym facilities are very common now too.   Packages generally include a treatment and lunch or afternoon tea.

 

Pennyhill Park Spa

Day spas vary in price depending on what treatments they can offer.   Some may just offer manicures and massage alongside a sauna, steam room and jacuzzi, whilst others offer a full range of treatments, some even including more ‘medical’ ones such as Botox and laser facials, with a selection of thermal wellbeing rooms and pools.

A lot of day spas are attached to hotels or country clubs and allow guests to stay at the hotel if they wish and then revisit again the next day.

http://www.sixsenses.com/resorts/yao-noi/spa

http://www.centerparcs.co.uk/thingstodo/aqua_sana.jsp

https://www.exclusive.co.uk/the-spa/

Goodnight, Sleep Tight ….

Sleep is one of the biggest contributing factors to excellent physical and mental health and wellbeing but its importance is sometimes overshadowed by the media focus on healthy eating and exercise. Insufficient sleep can impact quite detrimentally on your health in a variety of different ways.

_90143896_thinkstockphotos-504373738

copyright: ThinkStockMedia

The amount of sleep we need varies from person to person, but on average the majority of us need about 8 hours a night. Young children and teens may need more as sleep supports their growth and development.  When we sleep our brains have the chance to repair and rebalance the hormones that govern the emotions that help us to stay calm, relaxed and happy.  It corrects any chemical imbalances and leaves us rested therefore we are more alert and energetic when we wake.

Studies show that a consistent lack of sleep can also lead to weight gain. Tiredness can cause your brain to crave high calorie foods for energy but when your body is tired, it isn’t as effective at breaking down fat cells and tissues, so fat is stored more easily.   You are less likely to want to exercise due to low energy and general sluggishness. According to a leading insomnia specialist, Kathryn Pinkham, a good night’s sleep can balance out the hormone fluctuations that provoke appetite.

Our immune system needs sleep to be able to function properly.  If we don’t get enough sleep it can affect how the it responds to infection, making it harder to fight off coughs and colds for example.  However, you can boost your immune system by using a sauna or steam room where the heat dilates blood vessels thereby increasing circulation throughout the body.    The heat can also help to relax you leading to better sleep.

DROM_0235

Kelo Sauna Room – Dröm UK Ltd

Sleep can also help to rejuvenate your skin as it rebalances the hydration levels in the body. While we sleep there is a rise in growth hormones which allows damaged cells to be repaired. Lack of sleep results in under eye puffiness, dryness and the appearance of more wrinkles.   It also leads to increased stress hormones in the body which can lead to the increase in the breakdown of collagen which gives the skin its firmness and translucency.  If the skin cells don’t get a chance to repair themselves, the result is a more noticeable sign of ageing.

The less we sleep, the more it affects our mental wellbeing.   According to Mind, the mental health charity,  it can be a vicious circle:  If you have a mental health problem it can affect how you sleep and poor sleep can have a negative impact on your mental health.  Not enough sleep can lead to negative thoughts and can leave you feeling anxious or depressed.    Tiredness can leave you feeling physically and mentally unable to cope with the day ahead, and can be quite isolating as you don’t feel up to socialising with others.

So what is the best way to ensure a good night’s sleep?

There are many suggestions on how to do this and again, it will vary from person to person.   Generally, the time before bed should be calm and relaxed rather than spent in front of a screen with flashing images or loud music!   Take a warm bath, try some breathing exercises, drink warm milk, spray lavender fragrance onto your pillow, or even meditate.  Doing regular physical exercise can also help with sleep.

llavender-collage

 

Avoid caffeine drinks and don’t go to bed either too hungry or too full.   Create a routine of doing the same soothing actions each night so that your body learns it is time to sleep.  Make sure your bedroom is well ventilated and that your mattress and pillows are comfortable.

For more information on the above and how best to combat sleeplessness please visit these websites:

http://www.theinsomniaclinic.co.uk/

http://www.mind.org.uk/

http://www.dromuk.com

 

 

 

 

 

Global Wellness Day

“One day can change your whole life”

 

Global Wellness Day is a day dedicated to adopting a healthy lifestyle, hopefully leading to long term change.   It is usually held on the second weekend in June and has grown considerably since it was first introduced in 2012.

Being a wellbeing company, Dröm UK decided to encourage the employees to take part this year and to photograph their efforts.   Most of the staff are well aware of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and incorporate them into their everyday life anyway, but it was good to see them venture out of their normal wellbeing routines!

The basic manifesto for the day is simple:

Capture

But not all of us do simple ………..

Our Director and Co-Founder Barry Smith headed off to  Prague for the  IAAF Kladno Decathalon.

IMG_7875

He was supporting Dröm sponsored decathalete Ashley Bryant and the GB team in their quest to qualify for the Olympic Games in Rio.    Athletes understand the importance that healthy living plays in their lives, enabling them to train harder and gain better results when competing.   As well as eating the right foods they also realise how beneficial it is to utilise ice baths and  thermal wellbeing bathing practices to help recover after exercise.    (See our previous post – Competitive Wellbeing).

Meanwhile Kev and Simon from our Projects team decided to head off to Oslo to experience all that renowned Norwegian spa The Well had to offer.

The Well

The Well is the largest Spa and Bathhouse in the Nordic region with both indoor and outdoor bathing experiences.    Here the boys could focus on their spiritual and physical wellbeing for the day.   They started off in the various thermal rooms, where they bathed with a Sauna Master.   They then moved on to the Urte sauna where rose petals were scattered on a tray above the heater filing the room with their scent.   Rose essential oil is an antidepressant and helps to reduce anxiety and everyday stress.   Perfect for their relaxing day!

They then ventured to the plunge pools and ice fountain area and performed a ritual of rubbing ice on themselves, delving into the plunge pool and then relaxing in the warm pool before doing the whole circuit again.  The benefits of this form of bathing are many, with the extreme cold directly after the warmth of the pool causing blood vessels to contract, stimulating blood circulation and oxygen intake, whilst boosting the lymphatic and immune systems.

We will cover their visit in more detail in next week’s blog.

Back home other staff members were taking part in their own way.   Many were supporting their children in outdoor activities.  It is important that children are encouraged to be active and understand how to live a balanced life from an early age.    Instill good habits early!    Zoe in our Accounts Department cheered on her daughter’s football team and our Projects Director Erin spent the day with her two young children whilst they went on an obstacle course in the woods!

IMG_0836

Desktop4

Sales Manager Lewis headed to the hot tub for some relaxation time with the family.

Photo 03-10-2015 14 57 15

Our CEO Kicki Carlsson indulged her love of meditation and mindfulness.  Whilst meditation is a personal journey, different for everyone, studies have shown it to be associated with reducing stress levels and anxiety and improving cognitive function and mental clarity.    Peace of mind can lead to better focus, better relationships and less worry.  We will cover this further in a future blog.

kicki meditation

And finally, our Office Manager Sarah, not known for her love of fruit, went strawberry picking at a local farm and made a fruit salad with her fresh produce adding some organic fruit from the farm shop, a lemon from a friend’s orchard in Spain and some homegrown mint from the garden!

Fruit Salad

All staff agreed that they would continue to pursue a healthy lifestyle, eating better, drinking more water, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep.   It doesn’t have to be boring, as we have all discovered.   That one little change can lead to bigger changes, which in turn becomes a habit.   Don’t wait until next year’s Global Wellness Day, start today!

 

For more information on Global Wellness Day and The Well, please click on the following links:

http://www.globalwellnessday.org/en

https://thewell.no/english

 

Beat the Winter Blues with Thermal Wellbeing

Christmas is over, Dry January is gone and just as we start to look forward to longer days, lighter evenings and the odd glass of wine,  it seems as though the cough, cold and flu season has arrived with a vengeance to stop us in our tracks.

There is no known medical cure for the common cold but there are plenty of ways to look after yourself and reduce the risk of catching the virus.   And even if you do succumb, there are some tricks around to help reduce the severity and length of your suffering!

The best way to avoid flu is to take advantage of a flu vaccine.   Contrary to some beliefs, this does not infect you with the virus and is a great help with staying healthy.   It is even safe for pregnant women as it can protect newborn babies after birth and during the early months of life.  Catching flu whilst pregnant can lead to a variety of complications and can be quite dangerous.  Flu vaccines are available free to the elderly, children and ‘at risk’ patients, and are also easily available from supermarkets and pharmacists for around £10.

141010-flu-shot-2235_d0c464e9d113bfc9f2731df673c4499f

If you do catch a cold make sure you rest, drink plenty of fluids and take paracetomol and ibuprofen to reduce a fever.    Although there is no scientific evidence to prove it, taking vitamins such as Vitamin C and Zinc can help shorten the lifespan of a cold but won’t prevent you catching it in the first place.   To avoid spreading germs, always wash your hands whenever you sneeze or cough, try to catch it in a tissue that is thrown away immediately and don’t touch your eyes and nose as droplets can enter the body through here.  Keep surfaces clean and disinfected and don’t share towels or toys.

A great way to make yourself feel better is to breathe in steam scented with 100% pure Eucalyptus essential oil.   If you don’t have a steam room to relax in, a great alternative is to add a few drops of the oil to a bowl of hot water.   Cover your head and the bowl with a towel and inhale deeply a few times.   This can clear the sinuses helping you breathe more easily.  Pine Needle essential oil is also good for helping find relief from infections, coughs and colds and can also help relieve aches, pains and fatigue.

blog pic

Kicki Carlsson Essential Oils available from Dröm UK Ltd – 01932 355655

 

Spending time in a salt room can help relieve the symptoms of cold and flu and also help prevent reoccurrence (if used frequently).   The salt ions in the air open the airways in the nose, helping to clear the sinuses and killing bacteria.   As the salt particles dissolve in the air and are breathed into the lungs,  they attract positively charged impurities which can then be coughed up or leave the body during metabolic processes via the bloodstream, helping remove all toxins and germs.

Salt_room_[5792-ORIGINAL]

A salt room can help alleviate symptoms of colds and flu

Sauna bathing is another great way to help battle infections.   The high temperatures in the sauna create fever like conditions in the body which in turn stimulates the white blood cells, giving a boost to your immune system.  This fights off infection and helps kill infected cells before they multiply further.   Sweating caused by high temperatures also opens the skin’s pores and helps reduce the levels of toxins and impurities in the body.

Herbal Sauna 1

The Herbal Sauna at Hotel Campiglio Bellavista, Italy

Add a few drops of healing essential oils to the water that is ladled on to the stones and breathe in the scented steam to help clear nasal passages.   Or place fresh eucalyptus, peppermint or pine needles into a herb bowl, suspended over the heater.   As the herbs heat up in the water, their aroma is released into the room.  As before, breathe deeply and let the decongestion benefits work their magic.

However, the simplest way to stave off the dreaded lurgy is to live a healthy lifestyle.   NHS UK recommend eating a healthy diet full of fruit and vegetables, taking plenty of exercise and drinking lots of fluids.

 

For more information on the health benefits of thermal bathing click on the link below to view our stunning brochure:  Drömology, Wellbeing Personified  http://www.dromuk.com/online/dromology/

IMG_9229 dpi

 

 

 

A Bather’s Guide to Thermal Rooms – Part 3 (Saunas)

Thermal bathing is becoming more popular than ever. However, with so many different rooms to use, how do you know which ones will offer you the benefits you are looking for?

Follow our series of blogs designed to explain the look, temperature, useage and benefits of each room and discover the range of experiences and rituals available.

Overview:

In general, sauna rooms are traditionally clad in timber with benches, a wood stove or electric heater and stones.   They are commonly built using Aspen, Alder, Cedar, Spruce, Ash or Kelo timber, some of which can be heat treated to intensify their colour and aroma.   Some rooms have feature walls made from slate or stone and glass can also be used for walls and doors to enhance the feeling of space.   Both LED lighting and fibre optics are used for ambience, relaxation and mood enhancement through chromotherapy.

DROM UPG 005

Some rooms have feature walls made from slate or stone and glass can also be used for walls and doors to enhance the feeling of space.   Both LED lighting and fibre optics are used for ambience, relaxation and mood enhancement through chromotherapy (please see previous blog post Complementary Wellbeing Part 2 – Chromotherapy for more on the benefits of mood lighting).

Traditional (or Finnish) Sauna:

Temp Range:   80 – 100C                             

Percentage Humidity:   10-20%

Traditional (or Finnish) Sauna

Traditional (or Finnish) Sauna

A traditional sauna is a hot, dry room with wooden benches, typically in two tiers.   The lower benches are always cooler than the top benches, often by about 20 degrees.  Ensure you find a temperature to bathe in that is comfortable for you.   Small amounts of water can be ladled onto the stones to increase the humidity for a short period of time.  Add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to the water (if you can – not all commercial spas will allow it), infusing the steam created with your chosen fragrance.

Benefits:

The high temperature in the sauna releases endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers, sometimes referred to as ‘happy hormones’.  Endorphins can ease the pain of arthritis and relieve muscle soreness after intense exercise.     Sweating caused by high temperatures opens the skin’s pores and helps reduce levels of toxins and impurities in the body, eliminating waste and reducing the load put on the kidneys.  Sauna bathing also lowers blood pressure temporarily and improves circulation as the blood cells dilate, increasing the oxygen levels around the body.

Banya (or Russian Bathing):

Temperature Range:      70-110⁰C

Percentage Humidity:   40-70%

DROM_0235

Banya (or Russian Bathing)

A Banya traditionally incorporates a wood burning heater.  Water is generously ladled onto hot stones, or even thrown at the walls, to increase the humidity in the room.  To protect the head from overheating in the high temperatures, bathers often wear Sauna hats which can first be dipped in water to aid the cooling process.    Often a massage is carried out using a fragrant bundle of thin leafy twigs bound together called a Venik, or Vihta.  This is said to release toxins through the skin, ease muscle tension and improve blood circulation.

Venik Massage:

Venik

Venik bundle

There are several techniques involved in a Venik massage – waggling, compressing, stroking and lashing.  It is best to use these techniques one after the other.

Waggle – flutter the Venik just above the body to create an air flow that warms the body up for more intense procedures.

Stroking – gently press the Venik against the body and draw it from head to toe and back again.

Compress – raise the Venik up to the warmer air, shake it to gather the heat, then press firmly against the body for 2-3 seconds

Lashing:  Light sliding hits with the Venik.

Alternate the stroking and lashing, then combine compressing and lashing – lash the body two or three times and then press against the body for 2-3 seconds.  Generally, this is carried out by an experienced masseuse.

Benefits:             The same as for a Traditional Sauna.

Herbal Sauna:

Temperature Range:      50-70⁰C

Percentage Humidity:   25-40%

Herbal Sauna 1

Herbal Sauna

An herbal sauna is very similar to a traditional sauna, although is often slightly cooler.  Fresh or dried herbs of your choice are put into a small amount of water in a bowl or dish suspended over the heater stones.    In commercial saunas, a tray of herbs is placed above the heater and water is dripped over the herbs from a tap.    As the herbs heat up in the water, their aroma is released gently into the room.

As in the traditional sauna, the lower benches are always cooler than the top benches so bathe where you feel the most comfortable.   Ladle water over the stones to increase humidity for short periods.

 

Sauna Master (or Aufgiesser)

Several spa’s employ a Sauna Master to enhance the bathing experience of their guests.   It is impossible to give an exact description of what they do as each Sauna Master will have their own techniques and rituals.  However the experience will always involve aromatherapy and heat manipulation.

Generally, the Sauna Master will pour water enriched with essential oils onto the hot stones, creating a burst of scented steam, releasing the health properties of each essence.  This makes the air more humid and the heat feels more intense.

They will start waving a towel, using different movements, to agitate the hot air and circulate it around the sauna, intensifying the sensation of heat.  Then they fan the bathers by wafting the towel in front of them creating a wave of heat that rushes over their body.  The bathers breathe deeply, inhaling the healing vapours of the essences.

The Sauna Master will encourage bathers to leave and cool down before repeating the process several times.

 

 

 

For more information on bathing rituals click here:  http://www.dromuk.com/online/dromology