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What innovative treatments can you hope to find in spas over the coming year? Here are five to tempt you. Words: Sharon Parsons
The days of spa menus consisting of little more than a basic facial and an aromatherapy massage are long gone: now the choice is vast, sometimes bizarre, often revolutionary. “We’ve seen some huge developments in spa trends over the past 10 years,” says Cassandra Cavanah, executive director of SpaFinder Europe. “There’s an increasing overlap between medicine and spa treatments. For instance, doctors now recognise that stress can exacerbate certain illnesses and conditions, many of which can be alleviated by renowned spa therapies. And hand-in-hand with cutting-edge scientific discoveries, there’s also been a resurgence in traditional therapies — many incorporating time-honoured rituals and natural ingredients — because they’ve stood the test of time.”
But whether it’s high-tech or nature’s best, brand new or traditional, one thing we all want from today’s therapies is value for money — which means treatments that really work. So what are the new heroes set to earn their place in spas this year — and make a tangible difference to the way we look and feel?
DETOX AND DEFINE
The treatment: The Ballancer
The promise: This treatment boldly sets out to tackle a host of common problems: improving the appearance of cellulite and skin tone; streamlining tummy, hips and bottom; easing water retention, and stimulating sluggish digestion and poor circulation. Luckily, all you have to do is lie back and relax.
In practice: This compression therapy system is based on the principles of lymphatic drainage, but instead of manual massage, pump units are attached to a trouser-like garment worn during the 45-minute treatment. Its 24 overlapping air cells ensure each square centimetre of skin receives equal pressure during a choice of massage treatments. The effect, it’s said, is like 24 pairs of hands working on you at once, flushing out toxins and encouraging glow-inducing oxygenated blood to the skin’s surface. (There’s also a jacket available for top-half treatments.) What’s more, while all this is going on, you can also be enjoying another treatment like a facial or head massage.
Details: A session costs £60 at Harrod’s Urban Retreat and two or three a week are recommended to see results for cellulite within a fortnight.
The treatment: Thalgo Eye Massage Mask
The promise: This gadget, which looks a bit like a ski mask, aims to tackle a multitude of sins — from wrinkles and dark circles to puffy eyes — with its programmed, hands-free massage movements.
In practice: It targets acupuncture points with air pressure: the techniques promise to decongest, drain, plump and ease tension, while rippling and pulsing vibrations reduce dark circles and smooth fine lines.
Not least, this hard-working device also incorporates thermal diffusion, which cools or warms the eye area — working in conjunction with a gel applied under the mask, along with a cream from Thalgo’s anti-ageing range — to improve circulation, and help absorb the product’s marine-based ingredients.
You can choose to target the eye area only with an intensive anti-ageing boost, or combine with a facial or body treatment — a great option for time-poor spa bunnies. And to complete this relaxing sensory experience? Listen to soothing music via earphones attached to the mask.
Details: The treatment starts at £70 for 30 minutes. Available nationwide from January.
BRING BACK BALANCE
The treatment: Ila Marine Flora Body Renewal
The promise Get mind and body back in sync with this treatment, which — in line with Ila’s philosophy — uses ancient yogic techniques and ayurvedic science, along with natural plant and mineral ingredients, to channel the flow of healing energy.
In practice: Nutrient-rich ingredients from the sea — including sea lavender, bio plasma and seaweeds — are blended with pure Himalayan salt, known for its ionising properties, to cleanse and re-energise the biomagnetic field and lymphatic system. The 90-minute treatment kicks off using the Marine Flora Body Scrub to stimulate and remove toxins, then a nutrient-packed mud wrap is applied. While it gets to work, your therapist uses cranial sacral therapy to relax you further and rebalance the nervous system. Once the mud wrap is showered off, there’s a full-body massage using a blend of Ila’s essential oils. Want more? Follow with a lymphatic drainage massage — which should leave you feeling lighter, brighter and re-energised.
Details:The treatment launches at Chewton Glen and costs from £140. www.chewtonglen.com www.ila-spa.com
SMOOTH AWAY WRINKLES
The treatment: Vital Elastine from Yon-Ka Paris
The promise: This intensive new facial has been developed specifically to tackle deep lines and wrinkles. Initial research claims the treatment has seen smoother skin in 91% of women, while 84% reported a more youthful-looking complexion after the treatment had concluded.
In practice: The programme combines massage techniques with natural anti-ageing products to reduce the span and depth of wrinkles and regenerate the skin’s network of elastin fibres for smoother, plumper skin.
After cleansing, a mist containing five essential oils is massaged into the skin for 10 minutes using Yon-Ka’s Signature Treatment. This technique targets pressure points, and crucially induces deep relaxation so that the specially selected products then applied — all of which contain 85% natural ingredients such as boswellia, dill and yeast extract — can work to best effect, aiding wrinkle reduction and restructuring the skin.
The 75-minute treatment, which culminates in an anti-wrinkle mask, promises smoother, nourished and hydrated skin — plus significantly reduced signs of ageing.
Details: The treatment costs £90, and is available exclusively at Yon-Ka salons and spas nationwide. www.yonka.com
TURN BACK TIME
The treatment: The Sanctuary Spa Active Reverse Facial
The promise: Created by therapist and Sanctuary Spa skincare expert Nichola Joss, this new facial combines advanced skincare and hands-on techniques to give the face an instant lift and a long-lasting glow.
In practice: Specially developed for mature skin, the facial makes full use of the new Active Reverse skincare range, which includes a high concentration of Matrixyl Synthe’ 00 06, clinically proven to stimulate the production of the skin’s six key building blocks, resulting in visible wrinkle-filling and skin lifting. For an ultimate boost, the products used in the facial are combined with a unique three-step massage technique — first to relax the muscles and mind, then to lift and enhance the contours of the face, and finally to encourage lymphatic drainage and boost circulation.
Active Reverse skincare is also available for home use; soon to be joined by a range of new products called Active Body Reverse. A spa body treatment, meanwhile, is due to launch next September. Top-to-toe de-ageing — what’s not to love?
Details: The Sanctuary Spa Active Reverse Facial costs £90 for 55 minutes and is available at Sanctuary Spas in Covent Garden, Richmond, Cambridge and Bristol.
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