Spas have been around for centuries! OK maybe not the type with the fluffy robes & flip flops but some version of them has existed – well I believe – for a fair few thousand years now.
Given how quickly things come & go out of the public psyche nowadays, it’s surely a testament to how beneficial a spa is to our well-being that these wellness institutes have stood the test of time.
Yes, the benefits of spending time at a spa have long been known, but in case you weren’t fully sure…
Here are the most important reasons why spas are so beneficial to our well-being:
Spas are a fantastic stress management tool. Yes, one of the significant benefits of a spa day is the opportunity to relieve some stress!
Spas offer relaxation and rejuvenation, plus the regular use of spas has been credited with improving our quality of sleep. All important factors in maintaining and increasing your well-being.
Studies have shown the use of spas can help to lower blood pressure & alleviate pain.
Steam rooms can help to clear our skin, remove toxins & some even claim, improve our cardiovascular health.
If you can stretch to it, book yourself a massage. Massage has proven benefits such as calming the central nervous system and improving blood circulation to name but a few.
Time to switch off
You are encouraged to switch-off from your phone/tablet/laptop whilst using the facilities.
Taking a spa day is perfect for when you just want to get away from it all for a short period and enjoy some uninterrupted quiet time. I definitely cherished a spa day post-baby.
It’s so cathartic just to be for a while, no demands on your time.
It’s a great exercise in self-care
Nothing says I’m worth looking after quite like a pampering day at the spa.
How to get the most out of your spa day
So now you know the benefits of a spa day, here are some tips to help you get the most out of your time there:
Get a treatment
Granted this is where the money mounts up. But if you can, book a treatment. Adding a treatment is like adding another level of pampering to your experience. Be sure to book it in advance to ensure you get the time and treatment you want.
Always check beforehand whether there will be any post-treatment rules. For example, after a facial, I was informed not to use the spa facilities (other than the relaxation area) as it would not be good for my post-facial skin. It wasn’t an issue for me as the facial took part towards the end of the day. However, it wouldn’t have been so great if it had happened earlier. So check and schedule appropriately.
One final point about treatments… If you’re going for any sort of relaxation treatment, such as a massage, try to spend 20 minutes or so beforehand relaxing and quieting your mind. By doing this pre-treatment, you’ll already have done the groundwork to switch-off during treatment.
Before I started doing this, I used to spend the first 20 minutes of a full-body massage overthinking. Then the next 20 minutes actually relaxing. Before spending the final 20 minutes wishing I hadn’t spent the first 20 minutes overthinking! So learn from me and start to switch-off as early as you can.
Take two swimsuits and always ask for two towels
The key to a good spa day is getting a good balance between using the facilities on offer and spending time sitting (or laying) relaxing. But nothing kills relaxation time like sitting in a wet swimsuit with a wet towel keeping you company.
Use one towel to dry-off and the other to relax with. Plus packing an additional swimsuit gives you the opportunity to switch into something nice and dry. Very handy if don’t want your spa treatment conducted with you wearing paper pants! Or paper pants aside, it’s never nice putting on a wet costume after a relaxing treatment now is it?!
Take a tote
My husband laughed at me on our last visit to the spa when I left the changing room sporting a cotton tote bag. But he soon stopped when he realised how helpful it is to carry all your stuff around the spa in!
I pack my Kindle, magazine, lip balm and bottled water. Everything I need to keep me happy.
The tote can easily be hung on the hooks outside the sauna/steam room etc with your robe. Simple.
It’s really easy to become dehydrated at a spa. Especially if you’re using the sauna/steam rooms and partaking in the odd glass of bubbles! Often spas will provide free drinking water, so be sure to make use of this. Alternatively, carry a bottle of water around with you. Or, if you’re not a fan of water, pack a bottle of something you do like to keep hydrated throughout the day (I’m not encouraging alcohol here!)
Dates & times
Aim to visit spas on weekdays when they’re quieter (annual leave & childcare allowing). That’s not to say you won’t reap the benefits of a spa at the weekend, you can – and will – but there will be more people milling around. Sometimes, more people means more noise, fewer loungers and less switch-off. So if you can, try to visit on quieter days. You can always phone the spa for advice on when this is.
Finally, use the whole of the time available to you. If you’re allowed access at 9am be there a bit earlier to potentially fill out forms, get changed and even take a tour of the spa. Nothing grates on me more than wasted spa-time spent filling out forms in reception. Ask my spa buddies* if you don’t believe me!
Side note: If it’s your first visit to the spa, do ask a member of staff to give you a short tour of the facilities, explain the etiquette and ultimately help you settle more quickly.
Yes, spa days can be expensive, but they don’t have to be extortionate. Here are some ways to keep the cost down:
- Book a spa day package. This will often include spa access, a small treatment (or 2) and maybe even food. Check out the spa’s website for offers.
- Sign up to spa newsletters. They’ll email you directly as deals arise.
- Remember you don’t have to book a treatment to have an enjoyable time at the spa. Making use of the facilities and time spent relaxing is a treat in itself.
- Look at discount sites such as Groupon and Wowcher who often offer discounted spa days.
- Use collected loyalty points such as Tesco Clubcard points in exchange for Spa vouchers.
- Include a spa day on your birthday, Christmas, whatever gift list!
- And don’t forget easily accessible plus more affordable spas are popping up in leisure centres across the country! You can find out more about them (and my experience) in The rise of the Leisure Centre Spa
Armed with the knowledge of all the many benefits of a spa day- plus tips on how to make the most of them – I hope you’ll feel encouraged to find (or make) opportunity to relax & rejuvenate at one of the many spa facilities across the Country.
Whether you’re visiting a spa for a few hours, a day, a weekend or even a week (you lucky devil!) know that you’re doing something really positive towards your self-care and overall well-being.
You might also like to read: The rise of the Leisure Centre Spa
*I really want to dedicate this to my favourite spa-partners Jo & Stacey who introduced me to all the benefits of a spa day when I needed it most (but didn’t realise it). I would like to credit Jo in particular with the towel & tote tips, she’s taught me well.
So do you enjoy a spa day? Did you realise there are so many benefits to it? Do you have any top tips to add? Where is your favourite spa? Or maybe you don’t like the idea of them? Have you got any general spa questions you’d like to ask? Whatever you’d like to say, I’d love you to get in touch – just leave a comment in the box below!