mindfulness

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/

Digital Silence and Mental Wellbeing

We are all very aware of the importance of everyday physical wellbeing. Most of us try and exercise regularly and eat well and we understand the benefits of using a spa to relax and reinvigorate our bodies.  Indeed the global wellness industry was estimated to be worth $3.72 trillion in 2016.  But it is only fairly recently that the correlation between physical and mental wellness has been highlighted.  The importance of mental wellbeing has almost been forgotten in the past.

In today’s world of portable technology, such as smartphones, tablets and laptops, it is very difficult to switch off our brains.   We are bombarded with images, news, sport, videos, texts, status updates, and emails all day, every day.   And very few of us actually switch off our phones, let alone our brains.

 

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This digital noise has a detrimental effect on our mental health.   The line between work and home becomes more blurred as we are constantly connected to our emails.   This can lead to lost sleep as we worry about how to reply, or about a meeting that has suddenly come up, which in turn creates higher stress levels and greater anxiety.

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We mindlessly scroll through social media, worrying about other people’s status updates – how are they so thin/rich/happy/beautiful?   Why don’t my posts get as many likes as others?   Social media makes a lot of people feel inadequate and as if they don’t match up to social expectations.   Before getting stressed about it, we need to take some time out to remember that people only portray what they want people to see.   Most of it is completely fake, or at least only true at that one moment in time (hence the need to boast!).   We never post the really bad things, the rows, the money and drink problems.   We just put up photos of perfectly dressed children in impractically neat houses in front of that perfect roaring fireplace!   The pressure that people feel trying to keep up is incredibly stressful.   But still we scroll.

(In a recent survey it was found that young girls take around 40-50 selfie shots of themselves before they see one they like.   Once uploaded, if it doesn’t reach a certain amount of likes they feel as if they have failed, as if they’re not beautiful and they take down the picture and start again).   Rates of depression in young people have increased by 70% in the past 25 years and it is estimated that around 80,000 children and young people suffer from severe depression.  Online bullying has a huge impact on this and we must ask how much is social media to blame?

So how do we combat this digital noise? We need to help the digital generation switch off more and we all need to re-train ourselves back to a time before we relied so heavily on looking at a screen 24/7!

Constant looking at a screen before bedtime interferes with sleep patterns, and as we have highlighted in a previous blog (Goodnight, Sleep Tight ….) sleep is essential to mental and physical wellbeing.   So make a point of turning the phone off an hour or so before bedtime allowing your mind to relax.  Read a book or have a soothing bath, leaving the phone out of reach!

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Start to interact with others more.   All too often we text or email rather than actually using the phone to talk to people.  Even at checkouts in shops we are too involved with screens to interact with the people serving us.  Face to face interaction also reduces misunderstandings that can arise from reading a text or email in the ‘wrong’ way and putting meanings into it that weren’t intended.  Any issues can then be cleared up quickly, not allowing us to fester and stress over them.   Instead of using free time connected to a pocket computer – get out and socialise with friends.   Take up a hobby that stops you looking at your phone for an hour or two!

Beth McGroarty, Research Director at the The Global Wellness Institute has recognised a growing demand for digital silence in the world of spas and travel, with the Mandarin Oriental spa group holding a global silent Spa evening last December.   Silence, both digital and physical, is becoming more popular with spas even being developed in former religious spaces such as monasteries and abbeys.    These spas have a no mobile rule and offer absolute disconnection along with noiseless bathing and treaments.   This offers the opportunity to re-connect with your inner self through contemplation, mindfulness and a truly peaceful environment.    Spending time in true silence can improve memory, aid restful sleep, reduce stress and stimulate brain growth.

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Eremito eco-retreat and spa, Umbria, Italy

More industries are realising the benefits of switching off from the digital world with trains offering mobile free zones and even restaurants, gyms and some airport lounges having quiet zones.

So take some time out to think through how you interact with your smartphones and tablets.   Set some boundaries, especially with work, and let everyone know when you are and aren’t available.  Make time for socialising with friends and family and switch off screens well before bedtime so that you can benefit from a decent night’s sleep. Your mental and physical wellbeing will thank you for it.

http://www.eremito.com/en/

http://www.mandarinoriental.com/london/luxury-spa/

https://www.globalwellnessinstitute.org/

 

 

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.

david de vleeschauwer

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

 

 

 

 

 

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