Can spas benefit your health?
Risk of disease
The infamous fish pedicure (renowned for its highly squeamish procedure of fish nibbling your feet) has not only received controversial coverage in the main stream media but also accusations of HIV and hepatitis C transmission. The Health Protection Agency has yet to deny these bold claims but the Agency has identified the treatment as generally low risk. All beauty salons/spas have however been advised to adhere to pre-cautionary policies such as seeking clients’ medical records and thoroughly examining their feet prior to treatment. *These checks should be kept in mind when assessing a company’s professionalism and safe conduct competence*.
Bacteria and infection (ranging from rashes to the lethal legionnaire’s disease) can float amongst the bubbles in whirlpool baths, Jacuzzis and other water-based spa treatments. Philip Tierno Jr., PhD, director of microbiology at NYU Medical Centre, has released a book exposing the lack of regular water replenishment in some spa equipment. He mentions the use of chlorine as a cover up and its incompetency in eradicating germs. We needn't bypass all hot tub type treatments completely however as naturally there are risks associated with most pleasurable pursuits, but there is no harm in approaching this form of relaxation with caution. Overcrowded pools should be avoided and it is advisable that a shower should be taken immediately after any type of soak. Pool test strips can also be purchased online (eBay, Amazon etc.) to test disinfectant and ph levels.
Another tip to enable you to hone in on a business’s approach to hygiene is to identify if spa attendants wear gloves. The spread of disease will be significantly higher with bare hands but can be reduced through regular hand washing. A spa should always be clean with fresh towels and robes available. Health and safety standards should be shared on and offline and forms completed upon arrival to monitor each clients’ health history.
Holistic well being
Mindfulness has become a much discussed current millennial trend where yoga, meditation and even children’s colouring books are used as tools to improve mental health, combat stress and connect with the present moment. The recent holistic societal shift has resulted in an increased number of people valuing their well being and experiences over material possessions. Scientists have researched the benefits of this practice and their findings include stress relief, lower blood pressure/heart risk and improved sleeping patterns. Mindfulness meditation can also treat a number of negative conditions including depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorders.
A health spa perfectly complements mindfulness and a laid-back lifestyle as it encompasses relaxation and calm. Many spas now offer meditation and yoga packages and are tailoring services alongside the rise of alternative therapies. Other unique services which provide healing at specialist spas within the UK include Reflexology, Aromatherapy, Shiatsu, Tai chi and Ayurveda.
Steam showers, saunas and many of the other spa facilities which emanate heat have the potential to improve blood circulation and lessen aches, pains and tight muscles. People who suffer from arthritis and joint pains can seek solace from a trip to the health spa. Massages bolster immune system strength and eradicate toxins, and mineral baths are known to alleviate skin afflictions. Water immersion can also increase the heart rate and cardiac volume which makes for a healthy heart. In order to avoid any unnecessary harm, it is always best to seek a physician or doctor's advice prior to sampling the spa's vast array of options.
The relaxing spa experience can have an enduring impact upon the body and a person’s sleeping habits. Many spa regulars have reported improved sleep patterns and a better quality slumber. Weight loss can also be an achievable aim as the majority of spas offer fitness classes, personal training, sports equipment and spaces.
Spas are in sync with the soul, as states of awareness and the link between the mind and the body are balanced here. Spas can form an escape from the demands of everyday life and offer a chance to ‘unplug’ from the average digitally domineered day. Spa guests can reflect with a free head space and feel captivated by the current moment. In many cultures and religions bathing is symbolic of washing away one's sins and starting afresh. Organic spas are available for those who wish to unleash their inner green goddess. These are nestled amongst plentiful trees and foliage across the UK and all their spa products are naturally sourced with harsh chemicals avoided.
Spas, particularly weekend retreats, often come with a hefty price tag. It is therefore important to get your full money’s worth by researching the health and safety standards and range of services on offer prior to booking. Spas do provide many benefits which include bonding/connections with others and personal well being (the mind, body and soul) but the luxurious escape should always be approached with a certain measure of caution in order to decrease the likelihood of disease.
Champagne, friends, relaxation and self improvement... what’s not to like!
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