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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/

Wellbeing in the City – ESPA at The Corinthia

The Corinthia is a luxury 5 star spa hotel set in the centre of London, just a short walk from Trafalgar Square.   When we were invited to visit from Magdi Abdelaty, the Spa Operations Manager, we jumped at the chance to experience the renowned Espa facilities first hand.

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The spa spreads out over 4 floors, including15 treatment rooms, a gym, hair salon and a Thermal Floor with heat experience rooms and pools. The décor is luxurious and relaxing mood lighting sets the ambience to an almost decadent level.

Our evening began with a leisurely swim in the shimmering silver stainless steel pool followed by a cool shower. We then took a ball of ice from the fountain and headed to the Amphitheatre sauna, set down into the floor with a spectacular suspended ceiling.   When the heat became slightly too much, we headed outside for more ice, bringing it back with us to the sauna and letting it melt over our bodies as we sat there!   The frameless glass sauna walls allowed us to watch the mesmerising flames of the nearby fire set within the wall.

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david de vleeschauwer

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Next on our thermal journey was a visit to the Vitality Pool with its built-in loungers and powerful swan neck fountains.   This provided full relaxation for mind and body whilst relieving tired and aching muscles.  After the warmth of the pool, it was time to cool down again in the Dornbracht ‘Big Rain’ shower before moving on to the glamorous black mosaic tiled steam room to relax in clouds of fragranced steam.

david de vleeschauwer

david de vleeschauwer

We repeated the above journey before settling onto the heated marble relaxation loungers by another fireplace, luxuriating in the warmth of the beds and the glow of the fire.

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Eventually it was time to get changed and take part in the real world again.   But our journey of relaxation and luxury wasn’t over yet.   The changing rooms had a sauna in the Ladies Area and a Tepidarium in the Men’s.    And both rooms had sleeping pods, small booths with cushions and blankets where you could take a revitalising nap or even meditate in private.  A totally private oasis with no distractions in the middle of a bustling, busy city!

We all agreed it was a wonderfully relaxing experience.   Favourite part?  The sauna got a lot of votes due to its innovative design and the sleep pods were a definite hit!

 

For more information please visit:

https://www.espalifeatcorinthia.com/

Tel:                  +44(0) 20 7321 3050

Email:             espalife.london@corinthia.com

For more information on thermal wellbeing and how to gain optimum benefit from your thermal journey please visit:

http://www.dromuk.com/online/dromology/

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.

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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.

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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

 

 

 

 

 

The benefits of Thermal Bathing for women’s health

As one of our members of staff is heading kicking and screaming (literally!) towards the menopause, we decided to investigate to see whether she could benefit from any of the thermal bathing rituals and practices to help ease her symptoms.

 

It is becoming increasingly common for women to use saunas as they appreciate the feeling of wellbeing and relaxation that regular sauna sessions bring, as well as how great their skin feels after toxins are eliminated and it’s thoroughly cleansed, leaving a healthy glow. But how many women realise that sauna bathing can alleviate some of the main symptoms of perimenopause and actual menopause?

menopause-information

During menopause the levels of oestrogen in the body changes.     These changes can lead to several physiological changes including hot flushes, mood swings and an imbalance in the nervous and immune systems.   Sweat bathing in a sauna, or steam room, stimulates the autonomic nervous system, which can temporarily reduce the effects of the hormonal changes.   Increased hormone levels also effect vascular function which constricts the blood vessels.  Bathing in the heat of a sauna can lower blood pressure temporarily and improves circulation as blood vessels dilate.  This increases the oxygen levels around the body which helps you feel better.

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Tylo Passion Sauna – available from Dröm UK Ltd. For more information call 01932 355655

Other possible side effects of any change in the nervous system are depression, loss of energy and emotional ups and downs.   One way of helping relieve these symptoms is to add aromatherapy into your bathing practice.    It is believed that the inhalation of essential oils stimulates the part of the brain connected to smell, which in turn sends a signal to the section of the brain that controls emotions.   As the nervous system is temporarily balanced within the heat, the essences cause the release of chemicals which can calm or invigorate you.   Clary Sage is a popular essential oil in balancing hormones and dealing with symptoms of the menopause including anxiety and hot flushes.  See our Aromatherapy section in ‘Drömology – Wellbeing Personified’ for a more detailed overview of which plants can benefit you or click this link: http://www.dromuk.com/online/dromology/

 

Once you stop menstruating (which is an elimination cycle for the whole body), the body needs to find another way of removing toxins.   The heat from sauna and steam bathing opens the skin’s pores and helps reduce levels of toxins and impurities, eliminating waste and reducing the load put on the kidney’s.

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Using an Infrared sauna is just as effective at helping to relax and reduce tension and stress associated with mood swings.   Excessive sweating can also move the body through the hormonal fluctuations quicker leading to a better night’s sleep with less hot flushes.  There are also some reports out that claim infrared heat can help relieve the pain from conditions such as osteoporosis, which is another symptom connected to menopause.

 

After all this heat, it’s nice to nip into the ice room to cool down! That deals with the hot flushes!

 

Another added benefit for women is that the heat of the sauna releases endorphins which are the body’s natural painkiller’s.   This can help with the discomfort of period pain – I’m sure we have all sat around with a heat pack across our stomach and back at some point. So sit back and relax in a sauna or steam room, add some essential oil and breathe in ……

Alternatively, stretch out on a heated lounger.  Heat storage ceramic loungers, store heat and emit it back to the body via infrared long wave gentle heat.  Let this heat penetrate into your tissues, soothing muscles and easing joint pain.

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Heated lounger by Sommerhuber.

 

We are not doctors or claim to be medical experts in any way, so obviously check with your GP before trying any form of thermal bathing when you suspect you may be peri/menopausal. All we know for sure is it has helped a certain member of our team ……………. 🙂

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:

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But not all of us do simple ………..

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

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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!

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

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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

 

Christmas Wellbeing

So the tree is up at Dröm House and the Christmas party beckons this weekend.  The festive season is in full swing and everyone is looking forward to two weeks of eating, drinking and enjoying themselves!

Christmas Tree in the Dröm UK Showroom

But don’t forget, it is still important to look after yourself during the holidays.  Wellbeing should be an important, regular part of your regime throughout Christmas.   It is easy to say that the diet and gym sessions will start in the New Year but if wellbeing is a habit all year round, then looking after yourself at Christmas will be second nature and the effects of all that eating and drinking won’t be so difficult to shift in January!

Utilise the sauna to help sweat out the toxins that have built up during the excesses of the Christmas season, but bear in mind it is NOT a cure for a hangover as it will dehydrate you even more.   The best time to sauna bathe in this case is the day AFTER recovering from the hangover. Remember to always drink plenty of water to replace fluids and minerals lost during bathing.

Don’t forget to cool down as part of your thermal bathing experience.  Snow and ice are ideal ways of cooling off (see our previous post ‘Don’t Sweat the Ice Bucket Challenge’), so let’s hope we get to enjoy a White Christmas this year!

Enjoying a sauna or steam bath will also help to reduce the stress levels caused by battling the hordes of Christmas shoppers all looking for that perfect present, or from various family demands or even from having to get everything done before finishing for the Christmas break at work.   Add a drop or two of your favourite essential oil to relax or rejuvenate you for that perfect bathing experience.   Essential oils also make great Christmas presents …… !  (Dröm UK stock a range of Kicki Carlsson Essential Oils in Lavender, Pine Needle, Eucalyptus, Lemon and Grapefruit.  Call 01932 355655 for more details).

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Kicki Carlsson Essential Oils

However you celebrate this year, stay well, stay safe and have a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy 2015!

 

Don’t sweat the Ice Bucket Challenge!

How many of us are watching our Facebook feeds with trepidation as we wait for the dreaded ice bucket challenge nomination?!

But how many of us know how effective ice baths and cold treatments can be for our health and wellbeing?

Reviving and repairing tired, aching muscles after exercise is an incredibly important part of any athlete’s training regime and spending a short time immersed in an ice bath after exercise helps muscles and tissue recover faster.

The ice constricts the blood vessels which in turn decreases metabolism and reduces any inflammation and pain and flushes lactic acid and waste products from the affected tissues.  Blood flow increases as the body then warms up, speeding up circulation and improving the healing process by returning waste products to the lymphatic system.

Using an ice cave or plunge pool in a spa after a sauna bathing session is an increasingly popular way of cooling down as the wellbeing benefits of alternating hot and cold treatments become more widespread.

Even just having a cold shower has a major impact on your health and wellbeing.  The increase in metabolism, caused by the body trying to warm itself, up can activate the immune system which can reduce our susceptibility to colds and flu.  Cold water can also stimulate noradrenaline in our brains which can help alleviate depression.  Another benefit is that the cold water can tighten pores thereby reducing blockages in the skin that can lead to spots.  Constriction of the muscles in the cold helps the lymphatic system work more effectively, and the increased rush of blood through the body can invigorate and energise you.

So when that nomination pings into your news feed, remember, the cold and ice will actually make you feel good, as you do good by donating to a worthy cause!

 

just another ice bucket