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A spa treatment is about more than skincare

The real magic of spa treatments and why they're more than skin deep.

Having worked in the spa world for many years now, I don't think I will ever fail to be surprised by just how impactful a spa treatment can be on your wellbeing. Different therapies have different benefits, of course, but one thing that's abundantly clear, is that whatever treatment you choose, it's more than skin deep.

The power of touch

At we often talk about the power of touch - how it is often underestimated and passed off as a luxury. However, research and experience has taught us that touch is an important part of the way we care for one another, and ourselves. It’s for this reason, amongst others, that touch therapies including facials and massages can be so meaningful.

Summing it up beautifully, after lockdown, Juliet Wheater wrote in the UK Spa Association newsletter:

“The benefits of human touch, and the biological releases that come with it, can manifest positively in mental and physical health. Physical touch increases levels of dopamine and serotonin, two neurotransmitters that help regulate mood as well as help the body relieve stress and anxiety. Dopamine is also known to regulate the pleasure centre in your brain, which is a good counter to feelings of anxiety. Touch appears to stimulate our bodies to react in very specific ways. The right kind can lower blood pressure, heart rate, and cortisol levels and drive the release of a host of hormones and neuropeptides that have been linked to positive and uplifting emotions. There’s no doubt that the physical effects of touch are abundant.”

Her sentiment is one that rings true, time and time again, and various aspects of that are recorded in multiple surveys and studies for those who wish to investigate further. Those benefits are on top of the physical benefits that come from spa therapies, whether it's addressing tension, knotted muscles or nourishing the skin. This speaks to another important aspect of the power of touch, which is that these treatments encourage us to get out of our minds and back into our bodies, reconnecting with ourselves with kindness rather than the rigorously self-critical internal monologue that so many of us have.

Therapist appreciation

The other side of this coin that often gets forgotten when it comes to spa treatments is just how valuable our spa therapists are. Not only are many highly knowledgeable, experienced and talented, but they are enormously giving of themselves as well.

The time, the energy and the empathy that they offer in spa treatments is phenomenal. The work of therapists can be extremely taxing, physically and emotionally as they take on the weight of other peoples' worries and concerns when they enter the treatment room. The nature of most therapists is that they are giving by nature - it's often what attracts them to the sector in the first place. That's a wonderful gift to give, even within the context of your job, and it's the fundamental difference between a good treatment and a great one.

Of course, in addition to all of this, what spa treatments do is make us feel good about ourselves - or better, at least. They offer time away from our phones, our busy lives - time focused entirely on ourselves. They can be relaxing, invigorating, restorative - perhaps they are targeted treatments to address a skincare issue that we have been anxious about. All these things and more are part of the magic of spa therapies, and every single time I have a treatment I am reminded of all of that and more.

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