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How to maximise winter wellness and indoor fitness

Top tips from the RE:TREAT spa at The Lowry Hotel, Manchester.

Over the summer, the fresh air, time outside, and hopefully a holiday or two help us all to feel our best, but how can we retain that feel good factor in the chilly winter months?

The RE:TREAT spa at The Lowry Hotel in Manchester has a forward-thinking and holistic approach to health and fitness, which resulted in a renovation last year. They wanted to create a concept that offered something for everyone - an incentive to explore different wellbeing opportunities and optimise your health on every level.

Natasha Bowles, Spa Operations Manager, says: "We wanted to create a space that focused on four wellness pillars. Wellness is about looking after yourself spiritually, mentally, physically and socially. In this day and age a lot of people are stressed and we can help with that by creating an environment for fitness, diet, socialising and exercise. When these pillars are nurtured, a person can experience ultimate fitness and feel like a better version of themselves."

As a result, they now combine different spaces including:

  • A Wellness Studio with yoga and guided meditation.
  • A Somadome - guided meditation pod for mindfulness and relaxation.
  • A cryotherapy chamber to release anti-inflammatory hormones, reducing inflammation and pain.
  • A floatation tank to restore peace and tranquillity.
  • A VR Experience to transport yourself to a destination of your choice for total relaxation.

They also have a gym, two PTs, a colonic hydrotherapist, IV drips, B12 injections, ultrasound, Botox - everything under one roof.

The idea is that you can combine any of these experiences with a workout and spa treatments for a complete wellbeing experience tailored to what you need that day. For example, you might do a fitness class followed by meditation with binaural beats and light therapy. It's perfect for replenishing the mind and body.

Cryotherapy chamber

The cryotherapy chamber is particularly good for people with specific fitness goals. You have a three minute session at -110 degrees celsius, and it helps with more effective healing injuries, quicker recover times, it's anti inflammatory, helps with lactic acid, but it's also good for easing anxiety and depression and sleep problems - after all, if you're not sleeping well you won't perform well.

Sensory deprivation floatation tank

The sensory deprivation floatation tank removes all of the 'white noise' of life so you can properly relax and heal. It's time on your own in a tank full of water set to body temperature, and Epsom salts which make you float. When you are deprived of all sense stimuli - sight, sound, touch, smell - your mind switches off properly. In that state, your body can start healing itself - it's not using any muscles to hold itself up and you're not thinking about anything. You just drift in and out of consciousness for between 30- and 60-minutes.

Virtual reality experience

The VR headset is a pioneering treatment with 14 high quality videos of real-world locations from the beaches of Seychelles, to the Great Ocean Road in south east Australia. You select your destination and a guided meditation will help you to relax and unwind. It also releases pure essential-oil blends uniquely crafted for each of its virtual landscapes to give the mind that additional sensory association with relaxation, so the next time you smell that scent, your brain is instantly transported to a place of calm. You can use the VR experience on its own, or having a manicure, for example, combining that meditative experience at the end of a workout or a spa day to embody the different elements of wellbeing.

Natasha says: "A lot of people find they can't switch off and meditate on their own as they get too distracted thinking about work, what they're having for tea etc., but when you have someone guiding you through you're more likely to stick with it."

A social space

Completing the space is RE:TREAT's spa lounge, for teas, coffees, smoothies and juices, designed to be a sociable space, where you can chat with the friends you've made in a class, for example.

Natasha says: "It flips the idea of spa on its head because it's not just about the quiet, it's also about making friends and reducing isolation. Isolation can be a problem in cities where lots of people come to live without knowing anyone. This is a safe space to come and make friends, which really helps with mental health."

Indoor fitness tips for winter

Like we said, it's hard to stay motivated when it comes to fitness in the winter, but what The Lowry is setting out to show is that if we reframe a workout as going out to enjoy yourself and relieve stress, then you're more likely to stick with that journey, even when you'd rather stay in bed.

Natasha says: "We want people to feel like the best version of themselves and being able to switch off is becoming really important to us. Peoples' mental health and having the right tools to be able to look after ourselves mentally and spiritually is a fundamental part of fitness. We wanted people to have a space where they felt comfortable and safe to explore different wellness pillars and focus on the journey they need."

Book a spa break at The Lowry Hotel

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