Speaking at the awards, Irish Tatler editor Shauna O’Halloran said:
“This is the 10th year of the Irish Tatler Spa Awards and we’re incredibly proud to hold such an important role in supporting the wonderful spa hotels on this island. We have amazing luxury spas to offer in Ireland, and with hotel bookings and high end staycations being once again on the up, there is nothing but good news for the Irish spa industry today.”
We spoke to Rachel to find out more about her career to date and what she thinks makes an award-winning therapist…
It’s a long story, but complementary therapies are where I started. Even as a teenager I always had an interest in hands-on healing. I worked on cruise ships for a while as a therapist and I loved it. I initially wasn’t sure what side of things I wanted to go into but it was always the importance of really helping a client to de-stress that I loved.
Relaxing is not always something that’s easy to do by yourself and I wanted to be part of that process of guiding someone through. So my biggest thing is wanting clients to be able to use the time in their treatments to really relax.
For some that means talking throughout and for others it’s the space to fall asleep, but it’s always providing that space for someone and to give them what they need.
“I had never had treatments or an experience as good as it was there”
I have been there for two years. When I finished on the cruise ships I took a bit of a break as I had a couple of injuries to my shoulders and back, so I just did office work for a while and gave the odd treatment to people I knew.
I had previously trained with some of the team at Hayfield Manor and when I got back in touch, the more I spoke to them the more excited I got about the work. I had been to Hayfield Manor as a client and felt that I had never had treatments or an experience as good as it was there, so I fell in love with the idea of going back and the rest is history!
Honestly, I think it’s the team of women that I work with. We’ve all had different jobs but we’ve all come back to working as therapists, so it’s not just a job – everyone is here because they have a passion for what they do.
It’s also a team that works together in a way I have never seen before; the people are not just there for themselves. I’ve never really experienced it where everyone just wants to help one another; we’re a small team of women who love doing what we do and I think that’s something clients can tell when they receive a treatment.
“When you give someone that space you can see a real difference… that’s the biggest reward.”
I don’t think I have ever seen people as stressed as they are now in general, and when you give someone that space you can see a real difference when they leave; that’s the biggest reward.
That visible difference that means you know you’ve helped them in some way, shape or form. I will always customise a treatment for what I think a client needs, whether that’s doing a deep tissue massage or just providing a space where they can talk during their treatment.
Indian head massage! I love doing it and I love getting it as well – it’s my favourite treatment. I love doing it because it’s the one treatment that induces a different state of relaxation for people.
Most people are aware of tension in their shoulders or their feet, but they’re not aware of it in their scalp, face or jaw. An Indian head massage delivers a state of relaxation I’ve never seen in other people. I think where a lot of people are prone to headaches through stress it’s also really effective.
“I wish people would start viewing spa treatments less in the luxury line of things and more as maintenance”
The biggest thing for me is that I wish people would start viewing spa treatments less in the luxury line of things and more as maintenance.
I know they can be very expensive, but it’s more about the importance of giving yourself that space, whether it’s in a spa or somewhere else, to switch off, unwind and detach from everything that is causing you stress, and doing it on a regular basis.
Most people who come in say ‘I know I should do this more, but…’ – I would like to see people investing in themselves more because I think it’s part of overall wellbeing rather than just being a superficial beauty treatment.
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