One of the common misconceptions about going to a spa is that it is solely about indulgence, which of course, is the overriding reason most of us go along. 

However, perhaps one of the best things about them, particularly now that the term encompasses so many different facilities, is that they are an enjoyable gateway to addressing all sorts of health concerns and learning new ways to tweak our lifestyles to be happy and healthy in the long term. So here is just a soupcon from a diverse range of complementary therapies which can help with everything from stress to coping with cancer.

The Menopause

For some women it’s a life event that has very little impact, while for others menopause leaves an indelible and often intolerable mark on their day-to-day lives.  However, while it often remains a somewhat unspoken trauma, an increasing number of experts are working on holistic methods and lifestyle solutions with long-term effects. 

At Grayshott Hotel Spa, their team have extensive knowledge about nutrition for women and the symptoms and holistic solutions for women both during and after they reach the menopause, to make the transition as seamless as possible, or even to improve your health afterwards.

Eczema and Psoriasis 

Anyone who has a skin condition, whether it’s severe dry skill, eczema, or psoriasis, will know that treating them is an ongoing battle. Often creams, lotions and potions seem to initially treat the surface but don’t have a long-lasting effect either on discomfort or appearance. 

At Donnington Valley they offer an Aqua Sun Mineral Treatment which sees you soak under a UV canopy, in a bath containing 21 minerals and organic plant extracts from the Dead Sea. As a source of Vitamin D, it has a particularly positive effect on soothing skin conditions, while also countering Seasonal Affected Disorder, acne, and aiding detox.  

Insomnia 

Insomnia, and sleep problems can affect us at any age but particularly so when we are changing routines, perhaps as a result of retirement or going through life changes such as menopause or bereavement. It is common practice to believe that most sleeping problems are the result of an overactive mind, but according to sleep specialist, Tej Samani, there is a whole catalogue of reasons as to why people can struggle to sleep, many of them physical.

Another specialist now running his clinics through Grayshott Hotel and Spa, Samani’s programmes are accessible with the wider support of the venue’s health and fitness facilities, adding a concentrated healing dimension and a kick start to change. 
The World Health Organization recognises the use of acupuncture in treating a wide range of medical problems. Fatigue

As an offshoot of insomnia, stress, or dietary imbalances, chronic fatigue can really have an impact on your quality of life. Osteopathy, and in particular cranial osteopathy, can not only help to induce a better night’s sleep, but also provide a prescriptive element, helping to identify concerns across the body that might be causing fatigue or contributing to it without you realising. 

Thanks to their recent introduction of ESPA Life however, Gleneagles can help. The advantage of these treatments being delivered at a spa is there are so many other surrounding therapies available in the same place to add support; here, the on-site naturopath, who oversees ESPA Life, offers lifestyle and nutritional advice to help ensure that the effects of the treatment are ongoing.

Osteoarthritis

While acupuncture is often associated with pain control, it has much broader applications. The World Health Organization recognises the use of acupuncture in treating a wide range of medical problems from digestive disorders to respiratory disorders, skin disorders to neurological and muscular disorders, including osteoarthritis, which is a particular issue when we get a bit older. 

As a specialised treatment it isn’t available at all spas, but combining acupuncture with a luxury holiday, The BodyHoliday in St Lucia, includes acupuncture among its collection of holistic treatments, delivered by Taoist practitioner, Toby Maguire.

Back Ache

In its 21st-century guise, Shiatsu can incorporate a number of variant practices, but at its core it is therapeutic body work that can include osteopathy, acupressure points, stretches, and joint mobilisation. The effects vary as it is very much a practice that is tailored to the individual, but it is often used to help ease back problems, particularly if it is followed up with regular yoga and other recommendations that therapists may advise. 

It has also been used to help reduce tension, and many therapists use it as a way of helping to relieve the psychological stress of illnesses including Parkinson’s Disease and cancer.  Penha Longa Hotel and Golf Resort is amongst the many venues that offer Shiatsu, in the glorious surroundings of their Six Senses Spa … and yes, they do offer yoga by the pool as well.

Bonnie Friend is the editor of Spabreaks.com. For more information visit www.spabreaks.com or call 0808 163 3056