Hartwell House Hotel and Aromatherapy Associates – Anti-Bucket List 2015 Update

Health & Beauty, The Anti-Bucket List, What's Happening?

One of the best things about putting ‘visiting Spa’s’ on my Anti-Bucket List is getting to do one of my favourite things…. visit spa’s!

Last weekend I had the complete joy of visiting a new spa near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, at Hartwell House Hotel with my lovely friend L.J. Ross.

Our rather stunning room

Our rather stunning room

The old manor house has been turned into a hotel in the most beautiful way.  It has retained the feel of a house, keeping four large drawing rooms with fire places for guests to relax in (or read and write within as was the case with us – what can I say, it’s all rock n’ roll when two writers go away).  With such a number of drawing rooms and a library available to use, it never feels crowded.  There was more than one moment when I felt like I was in Downton Abbey, especially when walking down the engraved, ornate staircase.

The Spa is in the old stables and has been wonderfully converted, again very sympathetically, complete with the required beige stone and soothing music.  The Spa uses Aromatherapy Associates a product that surprisingly, I hadn’t tried before.  The smell was delicious, not as fragrant as other products but I think that is a good sign.  It shows that there aren’t high levels of chemical perfumes added.

Unknown-3I had the Aromatherapy Associates Essential Rose Facial with Back Massage.  Starting with the back massage the therapist focused on my shoulders after I told her it was my area of concern and then went into the facial, complete with an amazing head massage.  I honestly felt like a new woman and my skin looked so clean and radiant, wonderful.  My wonderful co-assistant reviewer had an Indian Head Massage which she enjoyed but would have liked more time spent on her head and less on her shoulders as her back is so ticklish.  Thank God I don’t have that problem, couldn’t imagine not liking back massages!

I was very impressed by the products and went on to buy the Rose Face Mask and Rose Facial Tonic, which I am enjoying using.

Overall, I loved Hartwell House Hotel and Spa.  So much so that I am planning on taking husband there and it is high on my list of favourite hotel.  An amazing big tick of the Anti-Bucket List 2015, but I think I will happily add it again and again! 🙂

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Where To Get The Best Massage in Harpenden

Beauty Treatment, Health & Beauty

People often do ask where I as a massage therapist go to get a massage and in Harpenden I truly do have one favourite place.  Sabrina.

It may not be the most flashy salon in Harpenden but they have what matters, a secret weapon, amazing therapists!  In particular the amazing Amy!  She honestly gives the best massages.  Concentrating on any areas of concern she covers the whole body, including the jaw and scalp, where I hold a huge amount of tension.  I always leave feeling revived, relaxed and like I can’t wait for the next one!

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If Amy isn’t there then you may get to have a massage from Sabrina herself, equally wonderful.

Although I am yet to try anything else, Sabrina offer a whole host of Beauty treatments, Hair dressing, Wigs, Tanning… plenty to keep you looking and feeling wonderful… what to try next?!

Happy relaxing x

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Breathing Space Spa, Harpenden & ESPA Review

Beauty Treatment, Health & Beauty

Walking into Breathing Space, you walk into a busy cafe selling delicious healthy juices and meals, with a buzzy reception desk and people heading to Yoga or Pilates in their studio but as you walk upstairs you are transported into a wonderful calming haven.  Large sofas with luxurious throws.  Dark, beautifully carved wooden furniture that looks like it has just arrived from Bali.  Dimmed lighting and  the obligatory calming music means you could only be expected to do one thing, relax.

I hunted out Breathing Space because I am in love with ESPA treatments.  I don’t mean the products (which I also love) but the actual treatments.  ESPA have very specific training and way of doing treatments they expect all therapists who use ESPA to keep to.  Having trained in them myself when I worked The Spa at the Mandarin Oriental in Knightsbridge, London, I really do know just how fantastic they are.  One of my favourite things is their philosophy that a treatments should be holistic and dedicated to you.  Their treatments are also very effective but non-invasive, a perfect combination.  I could go on and on about how fantastic ESPA is, but I think you get the point.

As with all things, an ESPA treatment is only as good as the person giving it.  I had a massage and facial and both were fantastic.  They upheld ESPA’s high standards perfectly and my skin felt and looked radiant afterwards.    The therapist took an interest in what I wanted to get from the treatment and could adapt the treatment to make sure that was what she focused on.  In the massage that was a lot of extra work around my shoulders.  In the facial, using regenerative and hydrating products and doing a lot of draining and massage on my face to help clear the layers underneath the skin and tension I hold in my jaw.

I do think Breathing Space is quite expensive, but I do think that you are paying for quality and in this case, it was worth every penny.

Spring Health & Beauty Tip 11 – Sugar Scrub

Beauty Treatment, Health & Beauty, Health and Beauty Tips

Exfoliate your skin in the sweetest way

Spring health & Beauty Tip 12 – Make Your Own Sugar Scrub

Exfoliating is great for your body as well as your face.  The fantastic news is that you don’t have to spend a fortune on fancy products, you can make delicious products at home.  I personally LOVE this recipe.

Mix some Sugar with a little Olive Oil into a stiffish paste.  Add a drop of Geranium essential oil (Lavender will work well too if that’s what you have).  And that’s it, a delicious Sugar Scrub.

Warm-Vanilla-Sugar-Scrub-3

In the shower, scrub, rinse, done!  You are all exfoliated and soft, no trouble!

If you prefer a Salt scrub, swap the sugar for Salt.  I personally find that Himalayan Salt has the best result and makes the skin feel best.  But I am assuming that you already have Sugar in the cupboard so may be best?!

Happy Scrubbing x

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Spring Health & Beauty Tip 4

Complementary Therapies, Health and Beauty Tips

Help your body to rest, relax and revive

Spring Health & Beauty Tip 4 – Work Your Solar Plexus

The solar plexus is a network of nerves that is situated directly behind the stomach in the body.  Its function is a nerve centre for the abdominal area.  It is like a personal power centre, and is used by Reflexologists to calm and centre their patients.

images-1

 

Work this reflex yourself when you are feeling tired, stressed or fraught by applying some light pressure to the area shown in the picture above (in the centre, just below the ball of the foot, when the hardness stops), in small circular movements.

Working on this reflex can help relax the entire nervous system, relieve stress and nervousness, aid relaxation and deep regular breathing, and restore a feeling of calm.

Enjoy! x

Invitation to Reflexology Day!

Complementary Therapies

You are invited to come and enjoy European Reflexology Day at Inner Haven

Designed to let people find out more about this wonderful treatment and try the wonder that is Reflexology!

To celebrate this special day in the Reflexology calendar, Inner Haven have a number of offers to get you excited about all that is Reflexology and enjoy it with your friends.

Come and Try Reflexology for only £10

only on Saturday 26th April 2014

Appointments are available from 10am till 4pm

To make an appointment please call 07834789107 or email nicola.bourne@yahoo.com

Give the joy of Reflexology with a Gift Certificate

Reflexology Gift Certificates are normally £35 but between now and Reflexology Day you may purchase a Gift Certificate for only £20, to help spread the word of Reflexology.

Call me on 07834789107 or email nicola.bourne@yahoo.com to purchase yours.

Remember you only have until 26th April to make the most of this wonderful offer.

A Chance to Win a Reflexology Gift Certificate

At Inner Haven we are currently giving the chance for you to win one of 3 Reflexology Gift Certificates.  All you have to do is like our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/innerhaven and share the Reflexology Day post – good luck!

Have a Happy Reflexology Day

The Joy of Head Massage

Complementary Therapies

Commonly known as Indian Head Massage this gorgeous treatment is pure relaxation.  We hold so much tension in our heads, jaws, shoulders and neck and all these key areas are worked throughly during a Head Massage treatment.

There are a number of different Head Massage techniques but in the tradition Indian practice, you keep your clothes on, no oil is used and you stay sitting up in a comfortable chair.  The massage therapists will the massage, apply pressure and treat the shoulder, neck, jaw and head areas to dissolve knots and relax and release the muscles.  This can release headache-causing blockages and to encourage better circulation of the cerebral fluid, relax the entire head, neck and shoulder area, encouraging circulation and stimulating hair growth.

The benefits of Head Massage can include;

  • Relieve built up tension that can often result in headaches, migraines, neck and back pain.
  • Detoxify the body by stimulating lymphatic drainage
  • Boost overall immunity
  • Improve circulation
  • Promote clarity and increased concentration.
  • Boost cerebral spinal fluid circulation.
  • Relieve sleeplessness, restlessness and insomnia
  • Provide relief from stress and promotes relaxation
  • Renew energy levels
  • Increase feelings of peace, calm and well-being.

The Joy of Reflexology

Complementary Therapies

Over the years I have trained in a number of treatments but Reflexology always remains a firm favorite of mine.  As well as being the most wonderfully relaxing treatment, it is truly Holistic, which means that it treats the Mind, Body & Soul at the same time.

Reflexology is an ancient Chinese therapy that works on the principle that nerve endings and energy pathways all travel down to the feet and present a map of the body on the feet. By massaging and stimulating these areas, Reflexologist are able to assist in treating the body internally and removing any blackages in the body’s energy.  Reflexology is a very individual treatment that is tailored to you and your needs & current health.

reflexology

What Does Reflexology Do?

Reflexology increases movement in the circulatory (delivering blood, oxygen and nutrients to the cells and organs) and lymphatic (removing waste and toxins from the cells and organs) systems on a very physical and cellular level – you are basically flooding your cells with the good stuff and encouraging the removal of the bad stuff. Reflexology is a natural treatment that encourages your bodies own systems to work more effectively. Having said that you need to do your bit to help. Drinking lots of water being step number one to keep flushing the cells clean.

Another effective function of Reflexology is that it balances the endocrine system which is in charge of all your glands, hormones, mood balancers, stress, which can go into overdrive when stressed or run-down. Balancing the glands again, can help with that lethargic and de-motivated feeling and can help to calm you and give you more energy. You will also feel like you have more energy once you body starts to detoxify…. another massive benefit.

As part of the balancing effect on your hormones, Reflexology can be very effective in regulating ladies menstrual cycles, something I have found Reflexology particularly helpful for in my clients.

As Reflexology is primarily a holistic treatment that looks to being about reducing stress and aiding relaxation this can have a wonderful effect on any stress induced conditions in the body such as headaches and sleep problems.

On top of all this Reflexology is a very relaxing treatment that also offers wonderful pampering – heaven! 🙂

reflexology 1

What Can I Expect From a Reflexology Appointment?

On your first appointment, your Reflexologist will take a brief medical history and make sure everything is OK for you to go ahead with the treatment.  You will remove you shoes, socks and pull your trousers up so everything below the knee is exposed then, sit back and get nice and comfortable.  The Reflexologist will apply gentle pressure to the feet, ankles and lower legs.  This pressure shouldn’t be painful, but not so gentle it will tickle either.  I Have the most ticklish feet in the world but I am fine, it is a very different sort of pressure to someone tickling you.

How Will I Feel After My Reflexology Appointment?

You should very relaxed and calm.  Most clients also tell me that they sleep better and their general feeling of well-being is improved after a Reflexology treatment.

Reflexology During Pregnancy

Reflexology is completely safe during pregnancy as long as you have passed the 12 week point (which really is only advised to be an extra precaution) in fact I would go as far to advise it as strongly as is possible!  I had Reflexology religiously through both pregnancies and I couldn’t recommend it enough.  It helps with your energy levels as well as your general well-being.  Towards the end Reflexologyists can start working on reflex points to assist the body in getting ready for labour.

Are There Any Times I Shouldn’t Have Reflexolgy?

  • During the first 12 weeks of pregnancy
  • Any contagious skin disease ie. impetigo, scabies, chicken pox, mumps etc.
  • Any untreated severe medical condition, or acute pain (Reflexology may hide a condition which needs medical attention)
  • Severe varicose veins i.e. phlebitis (Reflexology may increase pressure of blood to veins)
  • Any form of infection, disease or fever (can make client feel worse and spread infection to the therapist)
  • Diarrhoea and/or vomiting
  • Cuts, grazes, open skin, rashes, bites, burns, severe eczema or psoriasis, fractures, athletes foot, verrucaes, inflammation or bruising on the feet.
  • Cervical spondylitis
  • Haematoma
  • Epilepsy
  • If you have any condition, disease or illness that you are currently visiting a GP or specialist for, you should get written consent from them that you are able to have Reflexology treatments before you begin.

 

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Treatments are based in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, close to the station. To purchase a Gift Certificate please call 07834 789 107 or email nicola.bourne@yahoo.com

What’s the Deal With – Aromatherapy?

Complementary Therapies

We hear the word Aromatherapy and Essential Oils quite a lot nowadays.  From shower gels to washing powder everything seems to have the words ‘contains essential oils’ or a list of plant extracts on it.  It can seem a little confusing when we are talking about true Aromatherapy and Essential Oils.

What Exactly Are Essential Oils?

The oil (it’s not always an oil to start with) is extracted through various methods from different parts of the plant.  This could be the leaf, bark, petal, twigs, roots, leaves, seeds, any part.  Different plants keep their life force in different places.

Some would consider essential oils the ‘heart’ or ‘life force’ of the plant.  The reason being that it is this special part of the plant which has the ability to change the chemical compound of the plant, telling it when to drops its petals and grow new leaves.  When these essential oils interact with us through our senses, they have the ability to alter our chemical make up too.  It truly is all very clever!

Lovely Lavender Fields

Lovely Lavender Fields

What Exactly is Aromatherapy?

Directly translated ‘Aroma’ means pleasant scent and ‘Therapy’ means treatment.  Aromatherapy it the name for the application of these essential oils, through a variety of means, letting the essential oils promote health and wellbeing both physically and mentally.

Essential Oils

Essential Oils

How Can I Use Aromatherapy?

You can absorb essential oils through the skin or by smell.  The most common way is Massage and most Aromatherapists will be qualified in Massage, which is fab because then you get all the benefits of the massage as well.  You can also put the oils in burners or vaporisers, a couple of drops on a hot or cold compress, or a few drops in the bath.  If you are adding oils to the bath, you can dilute then into some full-fat milk as essential oils don’t mix with water.

Pop 3 drops of essential oil onto a cotton wool pad & place on a warm radiator. The heat will cause the oil to evaporate and fragrance the room.

A Few Things to be Aware of;

Aromatherapy is generally a safe treatment but there are things that you should be aware of and certain conditions that you should not have Aromatherapy treatments…

  • Essential oils should never be applied directly to the skin & should be diluted into a carrier oil such as Sweet Almond Oil or Grape seed oil.
  • Essential oils are highly flammable.
  • Always keep away from animals and children.
  • They can be highly toxic if ingested.  They should never be taken orally.
  • If you have highly sensitive skin or allergies you should carry out a patch test first.
  • If you are pregnant I would always recommend seeking advice from a qualified Aromatherapist.
  • Aromatherapy is best avoided if you have epilepsy, high or low blood pressure, diabetes, spastic conditions, dysfunction of the nervous system, recent operation, varicose veins, fever, infectious disease, cancer, thrombosis or embolism.

If you are unsure you can always contact an Aromatherapist and ask for advice.

Reflexology for Lovers

Complementary Therapies

Happy Valentines Day!

If you’ve forgotten to get your loved one a gift don’t worry you can still buy a Gift Certificate from me today & I can drop it round (Harpenden and surrounding areas)

Reflexology Gift Certificate £35

Treatments are based in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, close to the station.  To purchase a Gift Certificate please call 07834 789 107 or email nicola.bourne@yahoo.com

Gift Certificate

Reflexology works on the principle that nerve endings and energy pathways all travel down to the feet and present a map of the body on the feet. By massaging and stimulating these areas, we are able in turn, to treat the body internally and removing any blackages in the body’s energy.

reflexology

Reflexology increases movement in the circulatory (delivering blood, oxygen and nutrients to the cells and organs) and lymphatic (removing waste and toxins from the cells and organs) systems on a very physical and cellular level. You are basically flooding your cells with the good stuff and encouraging the removal of the bad stuff. Reflexology is a natural treatment that encourages your bodies own systems to work more effectivly. Having said that you need to do your bit to help. Drinking lots of water being step number one to keep flushing the cells clean.

Another effective function of Reflexology is that it balances the endocrine system which is in charge of all your glands, hormones, mood balancers, stress, which can go into overdrive when stressed or run-down. Balancing the glands again, can help with that lethargic and de-motivated feeling and can help to calm you and give you more energy. You will also feel like you have more energy once you body starts to detoxify…. another massive benefit.

On top of all this Reflexology is a very relaxing treatment that also offers wonderful pampering.

0_0_0_0_245_245_library_115852[1]

Treatments are based in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, close to the station.  To purchase a Gift Certificate please call 07834 789 107 or email nicola.bourne@yahoo.com