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Ireland’s best spa therapist

When you speak to Gráinne Furey, Irish Tatler’s winner of the best therapist award in 2016, you can’t help but feel good about the world.


A lilting voice and an effortless air of warmth and undeniable capability, she is everything you could wish for in your spa therapist and more. Having been at Castlemartyr for six years, she started out as a freelancer and joined the team full time just over a year ago.

Now in her 40s, this is the career that’s clearly her calling, having changed from a life as a bar and restaurant owner in 2004.Judges at the Irish Tatler awards commended her “welcoming, down-to-earth manner”, and her holistic approach, but in addition to that, it was her multidisciplinary approach that really shone.

Qualified in reflexology, stress management, diet and nutrition and sports massage as well as being a Reiki Master, all of which she uses to really care for her clients, it’s this extra layer of expertise that she brings to her role, which is really valued by her clients.

Do you think a multidisciplinary approach to spa treatments is important?

I do, people are a lot more savvy about their treatments and they are coming more for experiences and looking for full body treatments than they used to. Spas aren’t just about superficial treatments. We’re very massage and therapy driven. To give a better treatment you have to work on yourself as well. We see a lot of progression when therapists train with ESPA. If I was to go to another spa as a treat I will seek out an ESPA spa because I like their ethos.

What do you mean about working on yourself?

which does also mean that you need to know what you’re doing for your own benefit as well as that of the client, otherwise you will burn out. To help prevent that it helps to have had holistic training rather than just beauty based training, fortunately ESPA is very good about the training - it’s very holistic and they’re very much about advancing therapists.

How does holistic training help the therapist?

It’s an intense thing in a treatment room, so it’s important for therapists to protect themselves. There are techniques you can use from when you get up in the morning so that you don’t get drained. It’s about being mindful of what you’re doing.

What’s your favourite treatment to give?

I just came out of a Hot Stone Balinese treatment and I really enjoyed giving that. It varies to be honest, and that probably depends on my own needs. I do a lot of bespoke elements for clients because I don’t believe one size fits all and sometimes when you come in you don’t even know what you need, that’s why you need a therapist to facilitate that. It’s important your therapist scans you and feels where your tensions are.

The ESPA Lift and Firm Hip and Thigh Treatment at Castlemartyr was recently voted Best Treatment at the Irish Tatler Spa Awards - what makes it so special?

It’s an amazing treatment. It’s extremely detoxifying, focusing on the hips, thighs and stomach. If it’s a course of treatments over six weeks it’s fantastic for cellulite. We incorporate hot and cold to shift and move the lymph and is so important for circulation. The first time I had it done, my legs felt feather light. It’s brilliant for tired or heavy legs.

It’s for detox, cellulite, heavy tired legs, postpartum, I personally think it’s a great sports one as well. I have a lady come to me regularly and she finds it really helps her after marathons. Fantastic for anyone who runs and aids recovery.

What happens in the treatment?

We have a little consultation to make sure it’s suitable for you, because we use seaweed in it and with people with thyroid issues we have to err on the side of caution. We do an exfoliation of both legs, using hot mitts and ice cold mitts, and ice for circulation. We do some deep massage on the legs, and then some very gentle lymphatic drainage, which is a very light movement.

We then finish on the legs with warm towels to dry them off. Then we move on to the front of the body and finish with the stomach. To drain the lymph from your legs you need to get everything moving from your stomach. Afterwards we recommend you eat light and drink lots and lots of water. It’s great for constipation, moving everything along and finish with lymphatic drainage. It can help to lose weight


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