Take a Spa Break to Rejuvenate Your Mind, Body and Spirit

Collage Cheltenham 2014
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late evening snippets …

MONTPELLIER, Montpellier is known as one of the most attractive and fashionable areas of Cheltenham. Its distinctive architecture and many café’s and bars has gained Montpellier the reputation of having continental flavour. In the 18th and 19th centuries the name of French spa town of Montpellier had been a byword for a pleasant healthy place – and that name was chosen in 1809 by Henry Thompson for his newly established spa.
Montpellier Gardens

It was laid out in the early 18th century with attractive villas and terraces surrounding spacious ornamental gardens, now known as Montpellier Gardens. In the 1830s and 1840s specialist shops were built and Montpellier developed as a specialist shopping area, the character of which it still retains today. Most picturesque is Montpellier Walk, where shops are fronted by 32 caryatids.

Montpellier is home to famous Cheltenham Ladies’ College, which was established in the mid-19th century for the daughters of Cheltenham’s gentlemen.

Since prehistoric times, man has known about the therapeutic benefits of going to a spa. Early Celtic kings have been credited with discovering the hot springs in Bath, England and archeologists found Bronze Age weaponry and oblations near the hot springs in France. Believed to provide physical healing and spiritual purification, people would travel for miles to soak in a sacred body of water.

Today, spas have evolved into wellness centers that provide an assortment of hair, facial and body treatments that promote beauty, health and wellbeing. But with so many spa options available, it can be difficult to figure out which one is right for you.

One way to narrow things down is to figure out if you need a spa break or a spa holiday. A spa break is a brief hiatus from the stress of everyday life. Ranging from half a day to an entire weekend, spa breaks can be taken at a day spa or hotel spa and are usually limited to treatments that pamper you such as massages and facials.

A spa holiday, on the other hand, can last anywhere from one week to several months and are for those times when you need more than just a break from life. Facilities that specialize in spa holidays fall into one of the following categories:

Destination Spa

The focus of a destination spa is to help you live a healthier life. Exercise programs, healthy cuisine, therapeutic treatments (such as massage) and educational lectures are provided as a means to help you turn your bad habits into healthy ones.

Thermal Spa

A thermal, or mineral springs, spa uses the water from a local hot spring for baths and showers as well as in beauty and hydrotherapy treatments to help you relax and relieve general aches or pains.

Ayurveda Spa

As the oldest known health care system in the world, Ayurveda is an ancient system of disease prevention, care and healing that focuses on balancing the different energies in the body. Spas that specialize in Ayurveda treatments use massage, hydrotherapy, yoga and meditation in conjunction with herbs to detoxify and reduce the symptoms of disease.

Thalassotherapy Spa

These spas use the products of the ocean to help clients relax and detoxify. Algae, seaweed, alluvial mud and saltwater are all used in beauty and body treatments to provide relief from insomnia, cellulite and general aches or pains.

Medical Spa

Medical Spas specialize in providing medical treatments such as laser hair removal, microdermabrasion, Botox injections, chemical peels and skin tightening. These spas have a more clinical atmosphere than traditional spas but some also offer consultations with naturopathic doctors.

Cruise Spa

Cruise spas combine the excitement of traveling on the water with invigorating and healing spa treatments. Most offer the basic pampering services such as massages and facials. However some take advantage of the sea water and also offer seaweed wraps and Thalassotherapy.

Choosing the best spa for you will also depend on what you want to achieve. Do you just want a break from the hustle of life? Then a manicure and facial at a day spa may be the thing for you. Are you trying to make a complete lifestyle change? Then a week or two at a destination spa will get you off to a good start.

So whether you just need an hour or two to catch your breath or spend a month detoxing at an Ayurveda spa, taking time to rejuvenate is a guilty pleasure that is 100% good for you.

Sally Burns loves to take spa breaks and likes to visit a spa resort a couple of times a year.

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