energy

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.

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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/

A Breath of Fresh Air – Going Green in London

You could almost believe it was actually Spring as the sun shone down on London this week, warming the city up for what felt like the first time this year.

So instead of driving up in the company vans or joining the masses travelling underground with no sign of the sun, our Project Managers, Erin and Kevin, decided to take a different approach to their site visits across the city and hired some Boris bikes for the day!

Their journey started at Waterloo and they cycled off to their first appointment at Southbank Tower making sure they could be seen by wearing their Dröm hi-viz jackets and keeping safe with hard hats!

London Map

Outward journey red, Return journey blue

 

Waterloo blog

Kevin and Erin pick up their bikes at Waterloo

 

Erin freewheeling

Once they had finished at Southbank they cycled down past the London Eye, the world’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel at 135m high, which opened in 2000 as part of the city’s millennium celebrations.  The wheel has 32 capsules, one for each London borough and rotates at 0.9 km/hr i.e. one revolution takes 30 minutes.

London Eye blog

They then faced the traffic over Westminster bridge and headed towards Parliament Square en route to St James’s Park, stopping for a quick selfie in front of Big Ben!   The clock tower is actually officially known as Elizabeth Tower and has been since 2012 in honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.   Previously it was known simply as the Clock Tower or St. Stephen’s Tower.   The tower is 96m  high and was designed by Augustus Pugin.  Big Ben is the nickname for the bell which chimes the hour.   The hour hand of the clock is 2.7m long and the minute hand is 4.3m long.

Kev big ben

Their next appointment was in St. James’s square so they took a shortcut through St. James’s Park (stopping at Buckingham Palace on the way).   As with driving, you should never use your phone while cycling, so Kevin sensibly stopped to take a couple of business calls …… and a couple of hayfever tablets!

Park Collage

Once Kevin had finished they headed off to their next appointment at St. James’s Street following the guards from Buckingham Palace as they rode up the Mall!  Once business had been concluded on site our intrepid Project Managers started the journey back to Waterloo taking a shortcut back to the Mall past the Duke of York monument.     This statue was built to honour Prince Frederick, second eldest son of King George III.   The column itself was built in 1832 and the statue itself was placed on top in 1834.    Prince Frederick has been immortalised in the nursery rhyme ‘The Grand Old Duke of York’ and is widely recognised as bringing the British Army into a cohesive, capable, modernised force following his command during the French Revolutionary Wars.

They made their way back through the park passing Horse Guards Parade en route.   Horse Guards was once the HQ of the British Army and nowadays hosts Trooping the Colour, the annual celebration of the Queen’s birthday.   It was also the scene of jousting tournaments in the days of Henry VIII  and more recent sporting events include the Beach Volleyball competition at the London 2012 Olympics.

Journey back

It was two energised colleagues that returned to the office on Tuesday afternoon.   Their day on the bikes had numerous health and environmental benefits, very fitting for a wellbeing company.

Cycling is a great way to keep fit.  It improves your cardiovascular fitness, thereby decreasing the risk of coronary heart disease and strengthening your immune system.  It is great for muscle tone, especially in your calves, thighs and bottom, and is good for people with joint conditions as it is considered a low impact activity.    Other benefits include weight loss as you are burning calories, improved co-ordination and there are also links to good mental health.

Stop breathing the stale air in an air conditioned or overheated office and get outside into the fresh air (ok, maybe the air in London isn’t particularly fresh but it’s still good to be outside!).   Once outside, inhaling the oxygen in the fresh air leads to an increased production of serotonin which promotes feelings of wellbeing and happiness.   Increased oxygen in your bloodstream helps increase white blood cell functionality when fighting bacteria and germs and it also helps your brain function better, increasing mental clarity.

Leaving the car behind ensures a decrease in your carbon footprint.   The CO2 and carbon monoxide emissions from cars, vans and buses have increased enormously the more vehicles we have on the road.  These gases are known as ‘greenhouse gases’ and they trap heat inside the planet’s atmosphere.  However an increase in production of these gases is increasing the temperature of the planet which in the long term is contributing to extreme weather and climate change through global warming.

Erin and Kevin were lucky to have such a sunny day too – the Vitamin D present in sunshine has so many benefits including building strong bones, protecting against cataracts and boosting immunity, whilst the warmth of the sun has been linked to lowering blood pressure and helping us sleep better.   The sun can also improve our mood considerably.    Please remember to wear a suitable sunscreen when out in the sunshine though.

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For more information on Santander cycles (or Boris bikes as they are more commonly known!) please visit:  https://web.santandercycles.tfl.gov.uk/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pure Infra – radiant wellbeing

If you have you ever wanted a sauna in your own home, but don’t have the space for the more traditional Finnish Sauna or Banya, then it might be worth considering an Infrared Sauna instead.

The Infra cabins come in various sizes to suit all homes, some as small as 1m2 , and have as wide a range of health benefits as a traditional sauna.  It therefore comes as no surprise to hear that Hollywood stars such as Jennifer Aniston are extolling the virtues of infrared and are making it part of their everyday wellbeing routine.

Radiant heat and long wave infrared is absorbed by the surface of the skin and is very similar to the heat we get from the sun.   Body tissue is then warmed without raising the air temperature unlike the more traditional sauna.   The infrared heat penetrates deep into the body, increasing the core temperature and inducing sweating which releases toxins.    As you sweat, your heart pumps faster, increasing the blood flow, reducing blood pressure and improving circulation.   The usual temperature range in a room is between 45-60 degrees with relative humidity.

As the infrared heat gently penetrates muscles and tissue directly, it can help to alleviate the pain of arthritis, bad backs and other ailments.   It can even help with dermatological problems as it can heal the epidermis layer of your skin.

Some studies suggest there is also the added benefit of slight weight loss as your body works hard to cool itself thus burning up some calories!!

You can easily experience the added health benefits of mood changing colour therapy by installing chromotherapy lighting to your infra cabin (as discussed in our previous blog post ‘Complementary Wellbeing Part 2:  Chromotherapy’ published in July 2015).   You can also incorporate a music system within the room to fully maximise your wellbeing enjoyment.

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Infra cabins come in a variety of sizes

All infrared delivery systems produce EMR (Electromagnetic Radiation) and EF (Electrical Field) to some extent.   Because of this, Pure Infra technology was developed to take the worry out of unnecessary exposure.  For example, the EF in a Pure Infra cabin is less than you would experience from a computer or mobile phone.   Swedish manufacturer Tylö AB incorporate their exclusive Evenheat technology into their Infrared Saunas which spreads the heat evenly throughout the cabin without any ‘cold spots’ or unnecessary exposure to electrical fields.

A major advantage of Pure Infra Cabins is that they are ready to use in a very short space of time and operate efficiently, using up to 20% less energy than other systems.   There are many different infrared heating systems but Tylö AB use the CarbonFlex system which has large infra panels, again ensuring an even distribution of heat across the benches walls and floor.

Once your Infrared room has been delivered and assembled, simply plug directly into a normal electrical socket and start enjoying the wellbeing benefits of soothing radiant heat in an aesthetically pleasing, fully glass fronted cabin.

Whatever taste, budget or space restrictions there is an infra cabin for you.

 

For more information on Infra Red cabins, please call Dröm UK on 01932 355655.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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/

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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.

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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%

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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%

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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

 

 

Dröm Dryathletes raise money for Cancer Research

It’s been a long September for three members of the Dröm UK team who have been taking part in the Dryathlon on behalf of Cancer Research!

 

breast cancer ribbonOur CEO, Kicki Carlsson, was diagnosed with breast cancer just before Christmas last year, a week after hearing that her mother had been diagnosed with the same disease.  2015 saw both ladies endure gruelling chemotherapy, before undergoing operations and finally starting radiotherapy.   Thankfully, they have both been told that the treatment has been successful.

However, Kicki’s mum (who already had a rare form of Parkinson’s disease), recently underwent a brain scan which tragically showed metastatic cancer in the brain, which the family have been told is terminal.  This is a huge blow to them after how she so bravely fought the breast cancer.

 

We HAVE to find a way of beating cancer and ending the pain for both sufferers and their families.

So Kicki, her husband Barry and their office manager Sarah all decided to stop drinking for the month of September and raise money for Cancer Research.   This was a very difficult challenge, especially for Barry and Sarah as they are known for their love of a glass or two of wine and champagne!  It wasn’t made any easier by the fact that it was Barry’s birthday during September and Sarah had tickets to an England Rugby World Cup game!

 

Barry's belated birthday celebrations!

Barry’s belated birthday celebrations!

 

Sarah’s first Prosecco! Followed quite quickly by water …

 

But they stuck with it and between the three of them raised well over £7,000 donated by friends, family, clients and suppliers 🙂

It was a great opportunity for them to take the time to really concentrate on wellbeing and to see if they noticed a difference with not drinking for a month….

The first main difference they noticed was that they started to lose a little bit of weight! Alcohol is full of empty calories, by cutting it out you automatically cut your calorie intake. And because you have more energy once the alcohol is out of your system, you find that you can exercise more which helps reduce the beer and wine bellies!

Once you start feeling better, it is a great opportunity to start eating healthier.   Gone are the days of the junk food ‘munchies’ as you try to cure a hangover. Incorporate fresh fruit and vegetables into your diet to maximise your health and vitality.

Reducing your alcohol intake can also result in sleeping better at night.   There is no ‘dull head’ in the mornings, leaving you fresh and alert to face the day.   Concentration and focus is improved, making the working day easier.

And as well as maximising your overall wellbeing, not drinking is good for your financial health too!

Although they are now ‘allowed’ to drink again, it was a huge learning curve for all three dryathletes.   They found they didn’t ‘need’ to have that drink when they got in from a tough day at work.   They found other activities to fill the gap that alcohol used to fill.   And they all feel much better, both physically and mentally.

Knowing that they have raised so much for Cancer Research though was the biggest boost to them all 🙂

There is still time to donate.   Visit http://www.JustGiving.com and search for Kicki Carlsson, Barry Smith or Sarah Gibson.   Can we take a moment to say a huge thank you to everyone for their support and kind donations for such a brilliant cause.

 

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Dröm UK head to Sweden

After 18 years of working closely with our Swedish suppliers Tylö, the Directors of Dröm UK have been talking for a while about taking the whole company to visit their offices and showroom in Halmstad, Sweden, which is also where our CEO, Kicki Carlsson, grew up.  So while the trip was mainly work related, it also gave the employees a chance to kick back and relax after a really busy few months, socialise with each other out of the office, make new friends and enjoy the delights of this beautiful Swedish town.

So 8.00 a.m.  Thursday found us all at Gatwick airport eagerly waiting to board the plane to Copenhagen.   From Copenhagen we took the train across the Øresund Bridge, then along the stunning coastline to Halmstad.

Train Journey

After hastily dropping our bags off at the Hotel, we drifted out in various groups to investigate our surroundings.   The weather was gorgeous, hot and sunny, and it wasn’t long before we all found deckchairs by the river and sat down to watch some unexpected live music taking place alongside the pop up bars and cafes.

deckchairs

Eventually the more curious amongst us headed over the river into the town itself and found a bustling marketplace and fun fair in the central square!   After a bout of shopping (had to be done), we settled in an outside bar and watched an alfresco salsa class taking place nearby!

Dinner that night, with a couple of our Tylö friends, was in a sports themed restaurant, with a bowling alley.  So of course, after dinner we all headed over and had a mini competition between two teams.   Obviously we let Barry, one of the Dröm co-founders, win overall 🙂

BOWLING

Friday was an early start as we had a full day of product and technical training to fit in.   This included information about new products and packages, with most of the saunas, steam rooms and showers available to view in the Tylö showroom.   The morning session culminated in a factory tour.   Here we learned about, and watched, how heater elements are made, saw where steam generators were put together and tested, watched profiles being cut into the sauna timbers, learnt about the quality control process, and came away with a massive dose of warehouse envy……

After lunch we continued with some more product information then spent some time learning about the latest control panels (concept, programming, design).   Then it was time to test the rooms ourselves!   It was pure bliss after a hard days training to relax in the various saunas and steam rooms that we had been learning about, cooling off in between with quick dips (and dives) into the inviting plunge pool!  Cheeky mojitos were served in ice tumblers, which we then used to rub over our skin in the saunas to help us cool down!   Dinner was served in the Tylö restaurant, followed by awards for us all!  Good students deserve diplomas 🙂

tylo training

Tylo August 15

Then we went into town with Torbjorn and Anki from Tylo to sample the local nightlife!  We found a nightclub which had a welcome outside bar space, and also a couple of black jack tables therefore catering for all tastes.  As you may have seen in our ‘Happy’ video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gj5t5g1Wxus) we have a couple of staff (well, mainly Kevin really) who can really throw some shapes and that night was no exception!   So we couldn’t help but take some more videos of his dancing, where he was partnered by Jake …..

On Saturday we moved across to the Tylösand Hotel situated on the coast, which is part owned by Per Gessle, vocalist and guitarist with Swedish rock band Roxette. (http://www.tylosand.se).  Tylö have been involved with the spa environment here for many years and it was our opportunity to see and experience it for ourselves.  The boys headed straight for the gym while some of us relaxed on the loungers overlooking the sea.   We roused ourselves long enough to sample the saunas, steam room, kneipp walk and experience showers before cooling off in the pools.Spa

There was a fantastic foot-golf course close to the hotel, so a group went across to play.   Each hole had obstacles to contend with, so it wasn’t as easy as they had first thought.   Their accuracy needs some work too ….

The sun wasn’t shining when we first arrived at Tylösand, but it didn’t stop us taking some pictures of the stunning, windswept scenery.  Luckily the sun came out again around lunchtime, so we could take some even better pictures – what a contrast!

scenery

scenery 1

The remaining group headed out for some lunch in a little restaurant on the dunes which started to fill up rapidly during the time we were there, due to visitors arriving for the ‘After-beach’ party that Tylösand host each year.   It started as a concert for those heading back to the hotel after a day at the beach, to prolong the enjoyment of their day, and has developed into a major Summer annual event!   So we headed out with a bottle of Prosecco to reserve a spot on the sand dunes and enjoy the music!

 

beach one

sand dunes concert

We all had a bit of a surprise as we returned to our rooms to change – the car park looked a bit different than it had earlier…….

cars

All too soon it was dinner time on the last evening 😦    And it was very, very, chilly as we took our places at our outdoor table!   Once again, the food was absolutely delicious – we couldn’t fault the menus all weekend.   Blankets were handed round to protect us from the breeze and maybe we were a bit disappointed that it was so cold as we had been really looking forward to the last outdoor concert of the summer that evening…..

Chilly

But the moment the music started, the blankets came off (what cold temperatures??!) and the whole restaurant and hotel came to life with dancing, singing and the odd drink here and there!   The group – Duo Jag – were brilliant!  They sang covers of all types of songs from Eminem to Beyoncé and we quickly learnt the words to ‘The Sun is shining’ – a song none of us had heard before, but now play regularly in the Showroom!   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h30CEnMdVH4

It was a very tired, but happy, group that headed homewards the following day!   We are still talking about what a great time we had, and laughing at the photos, a week later!

hometime

Thank you to Kicki, Barry and Tylö for their generosity and hospitality.  When are we doing it again??!

 

 

 

 

CREATING A COMMERCIAL WELLBEING ROOM

Creating the perfect thermal wellbeing room usually involves months of detailed planning, design, ordering and construction.   When we were asked to build a new dry sauna experience in a local Hotel and Spa, the brief was slightly different as we had to change some of our methods to fit in with the requested timeframe.  Here we take you behind the scenes, as we build Pennyhill Park’s new sauna room.

Pennyhill Park is a 5* Exclusive Hotel and Spa, set in the beautiful Surrey countryside.   Already home to an extensive range of bathing experiences in their renowned Spa, they decided to add a dry sauna room to complement their existing thermal rooms, as one of the first steps in their spa rejuvenation project.

The brief was to design and construct a sauna with a strong visual impact, both internally and externally, with minimum guest disturbance in a working spa.

To begin with, CAD drawings were produced to show the Client the initial design concept and once these were agreed a build programme was arranged.   The Client requested we were on site during a specific two week period so that the project could be finished by a certain date, ahead of the England rugby team taking up residence for their World Cup 2015 training.

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Beautiful cedar wood tongue and grooved panels, chosen to give a more natural feel to the room, were used on the walls and ceiling with the two tier benching created from complementary Thermo Aspen timber.  Frameless glass was used for the walls and door so that guests look out across a view of the outdoor swimming pool.  The frameless glass door and frontage was decorated with etched flowers (in keeping with the Spa’s existing theme) which gives a greater visual impact both internally and externally, allowing a spectacular view across the outdoor pool and grounds.

Due to the size and layout of the room, we used a unique combination of hidden and visible heaters.  The EOS Corona S60 heater, with stones and slate detail, can be used for traditional sauna bathing, where water is ladled over the stones manually to increase the heat.   The traditional heater will also be utilised by if a Sauna Master is employed to give guests a more intense sauna experience.

Our installers then had to overcome the challenge of constructing the sauna with minimum guest disturbance in a working spa!

The majority of work was undertaken behind the existing walls before they were removed and the sauna benches were built off-site to cut down on noise, disruption and dirt.   A lot of the noisy work was undertaken early in the day before guests arrived.    There was a lot of stopping and starting as we had to wait for some of the extremely disruptive work to be completed overnight, such as the eventual removal of the walls and floor tiles.

work on php

One of the major tasks was co-ordinating several different trades in the timescale we were given, e.g. tilers, glass installation, plumbing and electricians, not all of whom were under our supervision.   The electrical supply was found to be inadequate for the sauna requirements and we had to bring in our own electrical experts to run new cables and provide a new, more suitable, supply.    Materials had to be procured in a different sequence to normal.  The glass had to be ordered before the sauna was even built due to a long lead in time and only a two week time scale on site.  This meant that the sauna had to be millimetre perfect to ensure the glass fitted perfectly when it arrived.

An S-guard safety system was installed which detects any abnormalities with the sauna heater and automatically shuts it off.    Not everything goes to plan however and it is not unusual to have a few teething issues when commissioning large commercial rooms.  For example, the engineers were unaware the S-guard system needed to be calibrated when the temperature is below 25 degrees Celsius (due to this not being encountered when dealing with new builds or residential installations).  However, due to the spa being in operation we could not get the temperatures below this level during normal working hours.  We therefore had to turn off all the heating and add in additional ventilation overnight to be able to calibrate the S-guard system early in the morning, prior to the spa opening.

The finished room looks beautiful and spa guests have been tweeting their delight with the new dry sauna experience.

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Let’s hope the England Rugby Team enjoy it too!

‘Wear the Rose’ and follow England Rugby in the Rugby World Cup 2015 starting September 18th.