What are the real health benefits of a spa visit?
Everyone knows that a trip to a spa is meant to be “good for the soul,” but to some cynics that sounds a little too fluffy. Most would agree that a day at the spa is an enjoyable experience, but is there any real evidence to back up the idea that it’s actually beneficial to our health? Or is it all a bit of a ruse to encourage us to part with our hard-earned cash in order to let strangers rub strange oils into us? Francesca Lynagh went to one of Joburg’s most renowned spas, Mowana in Fourways, to find carry out some extensive research on the matter.
Mowana doesn’t even really call itself a spa, it’s described as a “wellness sanctuary” instead. And it’s easy to see why. All feels “well” there. Amidst the sounds of birds chirping and drums banging to signify that it’s time for your next treatment, it’s remarkably easy to forget you’re in Johannesburg at all.
So what are the real wellness benefits of a day of massages and an open bar? Well, Francesca argues that it’s not only the treatments themselves that are good for you, but the environment is equally as important to your health.
Mowana has quite a strict “no phones in the treatment rooms” policy. In an age where we’re all constantly connected with the rest of the world, our trusty iPhone’s pinging relentlessly, it’s so refreshing to not even be allowed near your phone. A whole afternoon with no contact with the outside world is not only liberating, but it also does wonders for the mental health of any tech-addict.
We all know that massages are meant to de-stress us. But a doctor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences from Atlanta, US, DR Mark H. Rapaport, recently conducted deeper research into the health benefits of massage. His findings revealed that many people experience positive short-term effects post-massage. After a Swedish massage people tend to feel less fatigued than they did upon arrival, and they often develop improved “measures of quality of life.” Not only that but the increase of blood flow around the body can ease symptoms of anxiety and depression too.
Massages aside, there’s yet another health benefit to discuss. Alone time. Although going to Mowana as a group is equally welcome, for the sake of truly unwinding a solo spa trip might better. Some people can’t bear the idea of being totally alone, just with their own mind for company, but for others it’s a rare treat. You might even leave with a new perspective on life’s trials and tribulations.
So next time you’re feeling guilty for wanting to indulge in a spa day, just remember that there is cold, hard, and genuine proof that it’s likely to improve both your physical and mental health. At least it will give your poor iPhone a break anyway.