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Open Features: Wellness Is The New Buzz Word

"Wellness spas are all the rage,'' writes Mary Pilfold-Allan "or should that be, a sign of the age?''

Wellness spas are all the rage, or should that be, a sign of the age? Where they were once known simply and separately as beauty salons, health clubs or hot spring spas, as in the type our Victorian forefathers enjoyed for ‘taking the waters’ or bathing in because they surely did them good, concoct all of them altogether and you have a current ‘buzzword’.

One could be forgiven for challenging the definition of the word ‘wellness’, what exactly does it mean and does it mean different things to different people? Let’s face it; one person’s meat is another person’s poison. Personally, whilst I am quite happy to be pampered within an inch of my life, I am just as happy to have time beside a blazing log fire, armed with a cup of tea and a good book. Simple pleasures are sometimes the best tonic for a sense of well-being or if the modernists prefer, wellness.

You can hardly move into the sphere of a good hotel (and some not so good ones) now without a slick brochure (for a wide range of treatments available at the in-house spa) being stuck into your hand. Accept the welcome free drink, you will need it when you read the price list.

And hotels are far from the only advocates; package holidays are being advertised, not for their great locations but for the facilities of various spas, the Far East being high on the most sought after list.

During a look around one of these luxury spas in an exotic destination – and it was only a look around – I was shown a series of steel and glass mud rooms, hammam detox chambers and salt baths, the latter I always naively assumed you got when you swam in the sea. There were rooms for facials, pedicure and manicure, plenty of places to take cleansing tisanes and ‘chill’ out – another buzz word - and as for massages, the selection was endless but I suspect boiled down to two or three types with add-ons, mainly to do with the oils used and the prevailing breeze. I am not entirely sure that being massaged in an open-sided hut, under a sugarcane roof, on a couch covered in fake fur, is my idea of luxury for the best part of £100.

Foolishly, or perhaps I could palm it off as in the course of research, I once handed over my body to the administrations of a young lady who, for the cost of a second mortgage, agreed to provide me with a relaxing yet invigorating 45 minutes of massage. I should have known better; relaxing and invigorating do not belong in the same description. The first few minutes were fine, warm clothes lulling me into a false sense of security. Was that was the relaxing bit? Next came the invigorating, with what I can only call, a thorough going over. I might have fared better had I been attacked with a meat tenderiser. The outcome was…I crawled from the couch, fled from the spa and will never go back.

I understand that it is not just the fairer sex that is out to spend money on the holistic approach these days. Treatments and cosmetics especially for men are big business and the male of the species is falling for the hype hook, line and sinker. I never believed this until I went to buy some moisturizer from a well known range in Boots and my husband who was with me, came away with a more expensive product than mine!

Christmas is coming and we are into the final few days. Present buying is at its peak and there will be some people for whom the opportunity to purchase a gift on line may well include a ‘Spa Day’ for their nearest and dearest. How nice, how thoughtful, how luxurious …perhaps?

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For more of Mary's articles on a wide variety of subjects please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=mary+pilfold-allan

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