Energise yourself with a spa break

In Greek mythology, a number of natural springs and tidal pools were said to have been blessed by the gods to cure disease and ease people’s ailments. The ancient Greeks established bathing facilities around these sacred pools and left offerings to the gods after they bathed, in the hope of being restored to health. Thousands of years later, we can reflect on these time-honoured rituals as the beginnings of what we now know as health spas.

Though tributes to deities and hopes of miracle cures have subsided, the practice of using baths, hot springs and vapour baths to boost health continues to help people all over the world to relax, unwind and repair their bodies and minds. The benefits of spa breaks in the middle of hectic modern lives are manifold and, though the treatments people receive at spas are of a non-medical nature, they are very much endorsed by doctors as a good way to improve the general health of the body and mind.

The strain put on the body by stress and fatigue can lead to the development of other health problems such as high blood pressure, cholesterol and weight gain. A relaxing spa weekend taken three or four times a year can significantly help to relieve stress by taking a person away from their job, their daily tasks and any other factors that may be contributing to the pressure on their mind or body.

The tradition of bathing to improve health has developed into sophisticated hydrotherapy treatments. Aerated baths use heat and the release of millions of bubbles to relax and regenerate people taking spa breaks. The circulating currents allow for an immediate transfer of heat to the body, relaxing tense muscles and increasing blood flow to the tissues.

Massage is one of the most popular and beneficial treatments offered by health spas. Loosening tight, knotted muscles and increasing the flexibility of the joints is perhaps the most obvious benefit of spa massage but its stress-relieving effects are powerful and it can also promote the regeneration of tissues within the body. Massage helps to combat high blood pressure by dilating capillaries, allowing an increased flow of oxygen to the muscles and removing waste products and toxins.

Other popular treatments at modern spa facilities include hot stone therapy, in which water-heated stones are placed on certain parts of the body, relaxing the muscles and expanding the blood vessels. Cold stones are sometimes used immediately after to constrict the blood vessels again, encouraging the body to detox and heal by increasing lymph flow.

There are few parts of the body that spa treatments cannot benefit and the particular areas covered by different spa deals can vary widely. Mud baths, peat pulp baths, body wraps and facial cleansing all help the complexion as well as having a relaxing effect on the body, while spas also offer nutrition and weight guidance, yoga, meditation and heat treatments such as saunas and steam baths.


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