Sometimes picking one treatment just isn’t enough, and if you are new to the whole spa experience, a little guidance is often welcome to get the most out of your day … which is precisely what makes Imagine Spa Thames Valley’s Around the World Rituals so special, as Spa Manager Emma Rudd explains …
What does the ritual involve?
It’s a half day experience – a personal one-to-one journey through the spa with a therapist. It starts with a foot soak and exfoliation before a 60 minute VOYA Seaweed Body Wrap which starts with a full body exfoliation using our Peppermint Sugar Glow, then we envelope the client in hand-harvested seaweed while they have a face and scalp massage. That acts as a pre-cleanse before a 45 minute journey through the thermal suite, where the therapist guides the client through the hydrotherapy pool, sauna, ice fountain, steam room, and tropical feature shower. After that we offer a Khanya of Africa back massage using Babor products and marakkas at the end which are traditionally used in Kenya to ward off diseases and negative energy – it’s a nice way to finish the treatment.
Where does it come from?
The VOYA brand that created the seaweed wrap are based on the West coast of Ireland where they harvest the seaweed by hand – it’s 100% organic, and is freeze dried to retain its nutrients – it has been used for years for its healing properties. The Babor range is a prescriptive brand using natural, herbal ingredients from around the world – specifically Brazil, Africa and Asia. In this case their massage uses Marula oil which has a legendary healing reputation in Africa. The ritual as a whole however was designed specifically by the Imagine Spa at Hilton Thames Valley.
What is the ritual supposed to do?
The exfoliation and seaweed wrap at the start of the experience cleanses and detoxifies the body (the seaweed is renowned for this) before going into the hydrotherapy suite which continues that process and boosts circulation as well. The Khanya of Africa massage is wonderful for relaxation, but the key ingredient is the Marula oil which is extremely high in Vitamin D and is very hydrating as well. So you start with a cleanse and finish by moisturising the skin.
Is there anything you do to enhance the effectiveness of the treatment?
We tailor the experience to the individual by asking if the client would like to feel revitalised, relaxed or restored and we add a herbal tea that links with the rest of the treatment.
Is there anything you recommend clients do pre or post-treatment to get the most out of it?
It’s quite an all-encompassing ritual that takes you through the whole spa experience, but afterwards we like to recommend taking some of the VOYA seaweed (£16) home to use in the bath. It will help to prolong the detoxifying effects of the wrap. Of course, we also advise that you drink lots of water and rest!
Is there anyone you particularly recommend the treatment for?
It is great for someone who is new to spa because it takes you through lots of different aspects and advises the best way to go through the thermal suite. Most people have more than one concern when they go to a spa – whether it’s stress, detox, dry skin – the different elements of the ritual mean that several of these are targeted. Of course it’s great for detox because of the VOYA seaweed, it’s good for stress because it’s a total body experience and the combination of Merula oil and seaweed are extremely good for skin conditions including psoriasis and eczema.
Is there anyone who shouldn’t have this treatment and why?
The seaweed contains iodine, so anyone with severe allergies to shellfish should avoid that element. It is also unsuitable for anyone who is suffering from cancer, an under or over active thyroid, pregnant women and anyone under the age of 16 years old. If you have any infectious skin conditions advise your therapist to make sure it can be adapted for you as well.
What we thought of the Khana of Africa massage …
Despite only being half an hour, the treatment really targeted areas of tension and knots and we could not help but appreciate the moisturising effects of the Marula oil, which having been heated was a bit like being doused in warm honey. Our lovely therapist even apologised when the treatment came to an end! … That’s OK, we will come back again soon for another one!
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