Susan d'Arcy's spa advice
Heading for a spa? There are some things you need to avoid says Susan d'Arcy, travel writer and spa expert for The Sunday Times.
Everywhere has a spa these days but treatments are expensive so choose wisely by which I advise that you avoid the following:
Why does any right-minded woman sacrifice her privacy for him indoors? First, you’re forced to listen as he tells his masseur about his recurrent hamstring injury, aggravated recently by stretching to (nearly) score in some obscure pub-league tournament. Then, you have to endure his grunts of pain until the masseur gets the pressure right, followed by his occasional, extremely embarrassing groans of pleasure. Finally, and often ruining those precious last moments, you realise your beloved must be truly relaxed... because he’s snoring.
The Express Treatment
The 25-minute facial may be appealingly cheap but it’s like reading only the second-half of a thriller, it doesn’t make much sense without the build up. The mask will take up most of your allotted time - any idiot can slap on one of them. The most important stage of a full-length facial is the massage, this is what makes your skin glow, not the products. Guess what? This is the bit they skip in the quickie version.
This Japanese technique to “encourage the free flow of your life-force energy” can be extraordinarily relaxing. The problem is there aren’t enough experienced practitioners to go round so spas send a junior off to the University of Whale Music for a weekend course in everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-reiki-but-were-too-busy-watching-Eastenders-to-ask. Check your therapist’s credentials closely before booking.
This ayurvedic treatment involves warm oil being poured over the “third eye” in the middle of your forehead. It is said to be a cure for everything from sinus problems to greying hair, though most spas offer it more for its calming qualities. Nobody touches you or does anything that requires any skill so I’d be happy to pay, say, a tenner (because, of course, the oil is specially blended from herbs picked by a virgin at dawn). Trouble is, spas charge as much as £60 - for 20 minutes. The first word is rip, the second is....
This ancient therapy handed down from the Hopi Indians is meant to be good for sinus problems, migraines and relaxation. A hollow tube (made from cotton flax rather than wax) is placed in your ear and lit. Most spa menus make great play of the “pleasant crackling sound” as the "candle" burns. Happily, the same acoustics can be achieved by getting up close to a bowl of Rice Krispies and costs a lot less than the £45 or so spas charge for this not-even-a-candle candle treatment.