chakras

AWAKEN YOUR SENSES

We are all aware of our 5 main senses: sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing.   We use each one in our daily life and they work together to help give us an all round view of the world around us.   When one doesn’t work for whatever reason, the others become stronger to compensate for it.   They help us to learn, they protect us and they help us enjoy our environment.   They can bring about instant memories for us and make us feel good in that moment.  And anything that can make us feel good is great.   However small – it’s something we can reach for when we feel sad or upset.

Thermal bathing awakens all of our senses, including our sixth sense, which can make us feel more alive both physically and mentally.

It also touches on some of our additional senses including temperature (obviously) and pain (alleviating it).

SIGHT:

Chromotherapy lighting in residential thermal suite

Apart from a feeling of enjoyment from taking in the beautiful surroundings of a spa, our sense of sight can be stimulated from chromotherapy lighting within a sauna or steam room.   Colour and light have been proven to have a positive effect on your mood and wellbeing with different colours having different benefits.  For example, red light energises your mind and body whilst green creates harmony and balance within.

Colour therapy can also help to heal and balance the chakras, as each chakra has a different colour associated with it.  Chakras also have a corresponding sense, for example your solar plexus chakra is associated with the sense of sight.  So visualisation would be a great way to heal this chakra.  This is slightly off-topic but is all related!

 

SMELL:

Lavender Essential Oil to relax and calm

What’s your favourite aroma? Adding certain fragrances to your bathing session can help boost your senses when you need physical or mental energy or just want to feel good.    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 and retrieves memories.  This causes the release of chemicals which can relax or invigorate you.

For example adding a few drops of Lavender essential oil is known to calm and relax you. To reinvigorate yourself try Eucalyptus or a citrus oil.

 

TOUCH:

Image courtesy of AreaSana as seen in ‘Dromology’

This sense is controlled all over the body by nerve endings and touch receptors in the skin. It helps us respond to stimuli such as heat, cold, pain, pressure, vibration and texture.  Massage is obviously a great way to experience the sense of touch.

Spa’s cater for this sense in many different ways.   One way would be feeling temperature, going from hot to cold and back again.   Touching ice and snow as you cool down, feeling the warmth of the steam in a steam room, experiencing the different water programmes within a feature shower are all different ways to open up the sense of touch and feeling.    Another great way to experience touch is to sit in a vitality pool or hot tub and feel the bubbles massage you.

Or relax onto a heated lounger and feel the warmth seep into your muscles – relaxing, reinvigorating, improving circulation and easing joint pain as it is absorbed.

 

TASTE:

 

Many spas will have a room where you can relax after your bathing rituals. This is where you can refresh yourself and cool down.   It is really important to rehydrate yourself after thermal bathing to replace the minerals the body loses through sweat, and here is where you can indulge in drinking herbal teas or flavoured water.

Using a salt room is another way of bringing your sense of taste into play in a spa as the salt in the air can leave a slight taste on your lips.  Salt inhalation (or Halotherapy) is 100% natural and can help alleviate respiratory ailments.    The floor of a salt room may also be covered in salt, giving the feet a gentle exfoliating massage, thereby including the sense of touch at the same time.

 

Salt wall and heated lounger, bringing the sense of taste and touch together.

 

HEARING:

Many spas and wellbeing areas play soothing music to help you relax while bathing or receiving a treatment.

The slower the beat of the music, the slower the heart rate becomes. The heartbeat synchronizes to the music tempo. Once the hearbeat is lowered you feel calmer and less stressed.  Tension eases.

The positive medicinal effects of music have been known for years. Ancient philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle and Socrates all saw the benefits of listening to music.   Plato put forward that music could treat anxiety and Aristotle categorized music as a therapeutic tool for those with volatile and heightened emotions.  Specific musical frequencies induce different states in our brains – mainly we work on Beta brain waves which help us stay awake and alert during the day while we work and play.  When we hear a more relaxing piece of music we move towards an Alpha state which infuses us with a sense of calmness.   This helps us to meditate and reach a higher state of awareness, which can also be related to your SIXTH SENSE. 

 

So why not head off to your nearest spa this weekend and awaken all your senses ………. feel alive 🙂

 

 

 

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/

Complementary Wellbeing – Part 2: Chromotherapy

In the second blog in this Wellbeing mini-series, we take a closer look at Chromotherapy.

Wellbeing extends beyond the physical.   Psychological and spiritual wellness is also important to assist in coping with the stresses of everyday life.

Aromatherapy, Chromotherapy and Crystals are just a few of the ‘alternative’ therapies that can be combined with the more traditional wellbeing experiences to achieve a fuller sense of relaxation or stimulation.

Colour and light have been proven to have a positive effect upon your mood and health. The light from the sun can be broken down into seven colours each relating to a certain energetic vibration within our bodies. When these energies (or chakras) are out of alignment it can lead to physical ailments. Chromotherapy is the use of colour and light as a non-invasive restorative therapy – helping to realign this vibrational energy, dispel negative energy and promoting mental and physical wellness. We can absorb colour through our eyes, skin and also through the energetic field surrounding the body (aura).

Coloured light relates to vibrational energy within our bodies

Coloured light relates to vibrational energy within our bodies

 

Red – root chakra

Red is the colour of vitality and energy.  Physically it represents healthy organs, body tissue and blood.   It is a stimulating colour and on a mental level helps with concentration and clear thinking.  It guides us towards change, helping with movement and progress.

Orange – Sacral chakra

Orange is a powerful, physical energy, converting ‘chi energy’ into energy that the body can use.  It is fresh and invigorating and awakens the soul.  It encourages you to listen to your gut instincts and inner wisdom.

Yellow – solar plexus chakra

Yellow is a strong energy promoting physical and mental strength and a healthy digestive system.  On an emotional level it helps with self confidence and balance.  The solar plexus chakra encourages personal and spiritual growth and self esteem.

Green – heart chakra

Green is the colour of love, harmony, balance and compassion.  Physically it represents a strong heart and healthy immune system.  Emotionally it represents healthy relationships.  Spiritually it stands for unconditional love.

Blue – throat chakra

Blue is a calming, healing, stress reducing colour.  Physically it relates to the throat ensuring a healthy thyroid, good upper body strength and the ability for clear communication.  It also promotes mental clarity.   It is the colour of conscious creativity and helps with creative expression.

Indigo – brow chakra (third eye)

Indigo is the colour of the third eye chakra, which relates to intuition, perception, instinct and the sixth sense.  Indigo encourages you to connect and listen to your inner wisdom.  Physically it promotes good memory, visualisation and good mental strength.  Indigo is the colour of night where all your senses are heightened.

Violet – crown chakra

Violet is the highest vibration in the spectrum of light.   A balanced violet energy means that all the chakras are working in harmony and energy is flowing freely throughout the body.  It represents excellent overall health.  The energies are balanced, peaceful and calm.   It indicates a deep spiritual awareness.

White

White is the colour of balance and harmony.  It is a pure energy, clarifying the senses and mind.

white light

Relaxing and focusing on a specific colour can help the relevant chakra open up and let go of negative emotions or heighten the positive aspects of each chakra.

Saunas and steam rooms incorporate Chromotherapy lighting to enhance the wellbeing of the bather. This can also be combined with Aromatherapy (see previous blog post) for a more powerful experience.

There are many excellent websites that can provide more information on the use of colour and its effect on the chakras.