As someone that spends a lot of time on a computer, drinks too much wine, has an addiction to coffee, probably could do with a bit more exercise and is intolerant to gluten, my body takes a bit of a battering. Although there’s never been anything glaringly ‘wrong’ with me, I do suffer from tiredness and have a lot of issues with allergens irritating me inside and out. My three-day trip to Gleneagles in Scotland wasn’t just to encourage some time out, but it was to take full advantage of their specialist expert advice and treatments available following a multi-million pound investment in the hotel facilities. Espa Life is a new approach to health and wellbeing, with a hand-picked team of alternative health and fitness specialists offering treatments and personal programmes with the aim of helping you feel good, inside and out.
The highly qualified and experienced team is led by Louise, a skilled
naturopathic practitioner, and includes osteopaths, traditional
Chinese medicine acupuncturists, herbalists and personal trainers.
After an initial consultation with Louise (which involved me divulging
every aspect of my life, from eating and sleeping habits, to periods and
bowel movements!) she was able to develop a tailored programme of
treatments to allow for my specific needs to be met. Knowing my main
issue was the negative impact of allergens and irritants on my body, a
programme of massage, acupuncture, osteotherapy and colonic hydrotherapy
was recommended to help me get back on track, (as well as a cheeky
facial thrown in for good measure.)
I’d had acupuncture before, but never had I had such an extensive session of Chinese medicine. My treatment started with my therapist Ailsa fully getting to know me and my body, having had extensive conversations with the rest of the team prior to my arrival. She decided on acupuncture to relieve the stress on my adrenal glands and lower back, which took about thirty minutes to complete. The needles are applied so precisely that they’re completely painless, only occasionally causing a slight stinging sensation which fades after a few seconds. After the needles were removed, Ailsa massaged my back using significant force to further relieve tension and relax the muscles. This was one of the most intense and satisfying massages I’ve ever experienced; although it was quite uncomfortable in places, Ailsa’s hands really worked their magic and left my back feeling like new. To finish the therapy and work on the final knots, traditional cupping was used – a complete new experience for me that I can’t even really put into words! This kind of treatment is great if you’re suffering from body pain or if you’re feeling a bit sluggish; it’s great at kick-starting your body and getting you back on track.
This was a new world to me, not really understanding the role or application technique used to target specific body concerns. After getting me to stand and move about in front of him like a loon, Osteopath Bradley miraculously rectified my difference in leg lengths in only a few seconds. All he did was push against my leg in various positions and ‘kapow!’ they were back to being the same length. (Apparently the difference was causing excessive pressure on my lower back, as my pelvis was tipped and compensating for one leg being shorter than the other.) This was a sign of the magic to come, as he spent the remainder of our session delicately massaging my head and neck in order to kick-start the body’s own repairing mechanism. I can’t even begin to explain how this works or feels, but suffice to say a little head massage went a long way in helping to repair other areas of my body: I felt massaging and tingling movements in my lower back, legs and stomach area when nobody was touching me at all! Osteotherapy is great if you’re really struggling with back, neck or lower body pain and have tried everything else. It doesn’t use any magic potions, but just relies on Bradley’s knowledge of the human body and how it’s able to repair itself.
I was most looking forward to this treatment, but found myself equally as terrified. I have a huge issue with my stomach and gut, finding myself reacting to all kinds of food that sees me look about five months pregnant. I struggle with going to the loo and recently have found excess gas was making me feel excessively uncomfortable. I’m going to go into more detail on this in a seperate post as it’s something I truly believed helped me, but it’s safe to say this wasn’t anywhere near as uncomfortable or terrifying as I had led myself to believe. If you struggle with eating, irritant foods or going to the loo properly, then I couldn’t recommend undertaking a few sessions of colonic hydrotherapy more.
Espa Hydrating Facial
I’ve had my fair share of facials (probably close to 100 in my lifetime,) but this was possibly the best I’ve ever experienced. The Espa facial firstly involves smelling various oils and products to enable your therapist to tailor make an experience for you, followed by the use of a UV lamp which gets deep under the surface to see what issues need tackling. Luckily for me, my skin was in pretty good nick and just needed a boost of moisture and a little pamper. The facial consisted of cleansing, gentle exfoliation, a radiance mask, massage and hydrating products to finish. After the hour long session my skin felt great, reinvigorated and plumped, ready to face the day ahead. Like everything at Espa, treatments are developed to target your individual concerns rather than simply following a step-by-step guide. What’s even better is that you’re left in the spa’s relaxation area with a gold glass of elderflower water to let the products sink in and enjoy the amazing environment.
The key element of Espa Life at Gleneagles is the communication between the entire team, ensuring that all individual treatments form part of a much bigger whole. The purpose is to provide an entire body ‘overhaul’ to ensure you’re getting the treatments you’ll truly benefit from. I loved the fact that I didn’t have to repeat myself at the start of every session, knowing that every treatment built upon the last. After my three day intensive programme of treatments I was given a herbal remedy, created for my individual needs and handblended by Louise, to ensure the progress I’d made was maintained over a longer period of time. I’m taking the concoction twice a day and continue to feel like my body is working more effectively.
I loved my time at Gleneagles from start to finish. I spent a lot of my time in a bathrobe, in a swimming pool or in a sauna, but I came home feeling refreshed and revitalised, ready to kickstart a new healthier routine. Everyone in the Espa Spa (and within the Espa Life team in particular) made me feel comfortable, at ease and confident that they’d be able to help fix my little niggles. Although the treatments aren’t cheap, you’re getting real experts looking after your every need and developing a tailored programme just for you. What’s even better is that the care and concern doesn’t finish when you leave; Louise and her team are on-hand for follow-up calls and consultations, ensuring a few days at Gleneagles is just the beginning of a whole new you.
Find out more about Espa Life at Gleneagles, the practitioners and treatments available here.