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Mens sana in corpore sano — a healthy mind in a healthy body. The old Latin saying was quite familiar at school but fades easily as soon as you get older and are trapped into a modern day routine.
Although most of us still care about our physical health and appearance by visiting the gym or going to the beauty salon, the most important core in life is often neglected — a healthy mind can have a positive influence on human health.
In a world like today, stress has become another part of the modern lifestyle to be dealt with and people have to find a way to put their mind at ease at any time.
More and more alternatives have been created to reduce stress levels; a healthy lifestyle has become an important choice and beauty treatments that focus on both the physical as well as the spiritual are becoming more popular every day.
“Stress is the biggest cause of disease, cancer and high blood pressure, heart disease; many things are connected to stress,” says Mary Muryn, author of the books Spa Magic and Water Magic as well as creator of Bali Temple Flower — a perfume for meditation and healing.
“When you go for a spa treatment, it definitely lowers stress as you go into a state of relaxation and the relaxation strengthens the immune system, which becomes a stronger barrier to disease, a lot of illness is due to a reduced immune system.”
Muryn explained that a spa treatment is very beneficial for the body, not only for the skin, but also for the inner organs.
If you are having a lulur treatment, for instance, it will exfoliate dead skin cells, allowing the skin to absorb more oxygen that goes through to your inner organs.
If you’re massaged, it increases the lymphatic flow in your body, allowing the removal of toxins. And if you’re having a face massage, it goes through your inner parts as well — the eyes are connected to the liver, the forehead to digestion and the nose cleanses the sinuses.
“It’s a wonderful health producing treatment. I think spa treatments are pretty critical and I think when we put spa treatments and beauty together then it becomes an indulgence. So, we have to see a spa treatment as something as important as eating properly or exercise,” Muryn said.
A former editor-in-chief of Spa Asia magazine, Judy Chapman, says there are many reasons to take a spa treatment but worldwide statistics show that 70-80 percent of all treatments sold at resort & hotel spas are massages.
“So, this shows us that most people travel to spas to receive a massage, which makes sense as there is increasing scientific evidence of the benefits of massage,” said the author of four spa books and Karma Spa curator.
She says recent studies, for example, prove that just a 45-minute Swedish massage may significantly reduce stress levels and muscle tensions, stimulate circulation and oxygen flow in the blood and improve mental and physical health as well as promoting relaxation.
The spa today is not just about beauty treatments — it goes deeper than just outward appearance.
These days, most of the prominent spas provide a nurturing environment that indulges all the senses,
where guests can enjoy various relaxing aromas, a warm environment, soothing music or sounds and therapeutic movements conducted by the therapists.
Add other activities, from yoga to complete packages, to get the utmost in balanced beauty, mind and spirit.
“If someone asks me whether we are going from simply the physical to the spiritual, well, it’s always been there.
It was never just to treat your muscle pains, it goes together with breathing or spirituality or a total wellness of the mind, body and spirit,” says Sanjay Khanzode, director of spa and recreation at Grand Hyatt.
Today, more and more treatments are being created by taking inspiration from old sacred healing methods from different parts of the world, designed to reduce mind or body-based stress using natural essences to make the body aware of its senses and adapted to nature.
Spa treatments have become very popular over the last 15 years. They have become more nature friendly, not only in the beauty products that are getting more organic, but also the small details such as drinks, bathing, and even the aromatherapy methods.
“Aromas evoke memories and change your mood. The sense of smell affects moods that stay with us. Flower essences create endorphins and that’s why we feel good. Chemical compounds and artificial scents can still affect the memory but they don’t have the same resonance for the body because there’s no cellular intelligence that communicates with each other and give you the sense of wellbeing,” Muryn says.
Beneficial as they are, some may feel confused when picking the perfect treatment from the menu.
“This is the job of a good spa manager or spa receptionist — they need to be able to guide guests into making the right choices. Just as a great chef is able to recommend the best dish or a sommelier the perfect wine, so too should the spa team be trained to understand the questions of their guests,” Chapman says.
A well-written informative spa menu should also provide proper guidance, she says, and gone are the days where you read that a treatment sends you to “heaven” or “bliss” — although they may do this temporarily.
“People want honest information about what their treatments will do for their health and wellbeing. I usually select treatments on how I want to feel. If I want to feel cleansed, energized and rejuvenated
I will often take a sauna or detox treatment or if I am feeling stressed and have computer tension then it’s a massage for me!” Chapman says.
Muryn suggests people follow their intuition.
“Any type of massage is going to be stimulating, if you feel really loaded, a lymphatic drainage massage is quite healthy, if you need to increase stimulation choose a Balinese or Thai massage,” she says.
“But I think you should use your intuition about what you need today. Massage is all therapeutic, scrubs are all therapeutic, a facial is therapeutic, but for me I like to use products that are 100 percent natural, if you can’t technically eat it you should not put it on your body.
“Use your intuition, go for something that is the most naturally available, try to find a therapist that you like and get products that are suitable for your skin type. And be willing to experiment with different things.”
A good spa treatment is something whose results should last a while.
If the massage is good, you will feel fresh for several days. Your mind clears, you feel positive and your body looks and smells better.
Sanjay Khanzode says the key to getting the best results is to relax during the treatment.
A massage, he says, is a very profound treatment, like servicing the body — a very good way to relieve pain and improve digestion.
“Relaxation is very important. I’m a very strong advocate about relaxation because if you are not relaxed or if you get a painful massage I don’t think that you’ll be happy after one hour,” he says.
“If you don’t feel pampered or happy, how can you be healthy?”