A model, writer and lawyer as well, there are very few things that Shannon Murray can’t do, but without the right information a spa break can prove a tricky business … she explains why Spa for All has changed her spa experience!
I’ve been a wheelchair user since an accident when I was 14 years old, right around the age that a girl becomes a young woman and wants to start engaging in the indulgent pampering on offer at beauty salons and spas. My first spa experience was when I was 16 and on holiday in California: my aunt took me to a spa near Palm Springs, it was fairly accessible (most of the USA is much more accessible than the UK) but there was no ramp or hoist access into the natural mud baths. Though this was disappointing, the other patrons were more than helpful, lifting me in and out of the mud baths so I could reap the benefits of the glorious hot mud.
In general spas don’t always have the greatest access for wheelchair users, it means I rarely indulge in a spa weekend, not because I don’t want to but because the access to facilities is so limited that there are only a few treatments that I can fully appreciate. There might be a misconception that people with disabilities aren’t interested in using spas, but I believe that the lack of access is what deters many disabled spa goers.
Obviously as a wheelchair user my upper body takes quite a thrashing and I hold most of my tension in my overworked shoulders, so a good massage helps me maintain muscle condition and alleviate the pain caused by overworking them. Aside from the maintenance aspect however, the sheer pleasure of a head massage or a good facial is an indulgent treat that everyone should be able to enjoy regardless of their physical ability.
The little things that make a difference for me are height adjustable beds in the treatment rooms, a hoist or a ramp into a pool or hot tub and a roll in shower, these little adaptations enable me to be independent in a spa environment. Though time in hospitals has left me with little concern over modesty I do attempt to maintain some dignity in spas, and anywhere that shows a little thought has gone into the design is more likely to get my custom.
That’s why I think that Spa for All is such a brilliant initiative, knowing which spas are accessible as well as welcoming would make me much more keen to spend a day or weekend relaxing and enjoying treatments. Carer goes Free is also a great idea; some people with disabilities just need a little extra help with the physical aspects of treatments but paying for another person can make the experience financially prohibitive, Spa for All is just what we’ve been waiting for, thank you Spabreaks.com!
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