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Why it works … Pea in a Pod

Pregnancy can be a delicate time, when mums-to-be are in need of a little understanding and head-to-toe pampering, which is exactly why Pennyhill Park Hotel & Spa created their very own line of pre-natal organic products and exclusive treatment just for them, as Therapy Manager Kirsty Amato explains!

What does the Pea in a Pod treatment involve?

It is a 90 minute treatment, but we start beforehand with a really thorough consultation, where we talk through the three different pregnancy oils that guests can choose from - balancing, relaxing and uplifting.  We find out what the client is looking for from the treatment as well as whether this is their first pregnancy, how they’re feeling and any concerns that they have about the treatment.  The treatment is on a bed, and we make sure they are really comfy by lying them on their side with a pillow under their head, supporting their back and tummy and also between their thighs - it’s so comfortable many of them tell us they are going to try it at home as well!  The therapist then goes into a massage on the back and the legs on either side, before moving the client onto her back - supported under the knees and propped up a little as it’s not good to lie flat during pregnancy.  We then do a hand and arm massage as well as a tummy massage if the guest is comfortable with it, using a specially formulated tummy oil.  We then do an organic mini-facial - including a cleanse, exfoliation, face and scalp massage, and a hydrating moisturiser; before finishing the treatment with a cooling Aloe Vera gel on the legs and feet.

Where does it come from?

It was created by Pennyhill when we had specific organic oils made by herbalists and aromatherapists so that we could assure our clients that they are completely safe to use during pregnancy.  Then, around seven years ago I also qualified in pregnancy massage and through that experience further developed the treatment to include the more supportive positioning that makes it so relaxing.  In the same way, we are always taking feedback and new concepts into consideration to develop the treatment even further.

What is it supposed to do?

The main thing is to help the mum-to-be relax, but we also think it helps the bonding process - particularly for busy mums.  Physically it stimulates the blood supply that carries nutrients around the body, and we focus massage on the lower back, shoulders and legs which take a lot of strain and tend to carry stress and tension - particularly if the client has other young children that are always wanting to be picked up or carried.  The Aloe Vera and massage on the feet and legs helps to reduce water retention, and is very cooling and soothing, and the three oil choices are designed to cater to client’s particular requirements: the relaxing oil is lavender and mandarin and is wonderful for anyone struggling to sleep; the uplifting oil is mandarin and ginger, which is especially good for nausea; and the balancing oil contains mandarin and geranium - fantastic if you are feeling lethargic.

Is there anything you do to enhance the effectiveness of the treatment?

Women are often quite concerned about treatments when they are pregnant, so we make a point of asking if there is anything they are worried about, and also making sure they know if they need to get up for a glass of water or to use the toilet in the middle of the treatment, that’s absolutely fine - I had a customer who missed breakfast beforehand, and mid treatment was hungry so we stopped while she had a banana and then carried on!

Is there anything you recommend clients to do pre or post-treatment to get the most out of it?

Beforehand you should take time to wind down, make sure you have something light to eat, and try not to drink too much immediately prior to the treatment.  Afterwards, again, leave time to relax a little as you can feel a little dizzy - have some fruit and a cup of tea, and save your main meal for afterwards as well.

Is there anyone you particularly recommend the treatment for?

It is particularly good for busy mums and anyone with lower back pain and swollen feet and ankles, but it is really for all pregnant women.  The positioning and massage is also good for anyone who isn’t pregnant but for some reason can’t lie on their front - after a breast operation for example, it’s just a very comforting treatment.

Is there anyone who shouldn’t have this treatment and why?

If you have severe complications during your pregnancy it is always best to err on the side of caution and speak to your doctor, but the whole point of the treatment is that it is completely safe for pregnant women, and importantly we can adapt it for the individual, so tell your therapist if there is something you are concerned about.  We advise the Pea in a Pod treatment for your second and third trimester, however if a client has just found out they are pregnant and would still like a treatment we will always cater for them with either a soothing facial, manicure or pedicure - the main thing we avoid is massage at this early stage due to the body undergoing so many changes.

To visit Pennyhill Park Hotel & Spa head to or contact the team on: 0800 043 6600.

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