Lie back and relax...

PUBLISHED: 23:03 14 February 2010 | UPDATED: 15:50 20 February 2013

A little me time goes a long way

A little me time goes a long way

Spring into summer and indulge yourself with a little me time WORDS BY JULIE PENFOLDAs life becomes ever more challenging, finding some 'me' time to relax and unwind is something not many of us can do on a regular basis....

Spring into summer and indulge yourself with a little me time WORDS BY JULIE PENFOLD
As life becomes ever more challenging, finding some 'me' time to relax and unwind is something not many of us can do on a regular basis. And not everyone manages a constant regime of healthy food and exercise - it's easy to succumb to lethargy, snacking and stress. Of course, this impacts heavily on our skin, leaving it dull and lacklustre and attacks our energy reserves until we start looking far from the glamour pusses we know we can be. Determined to seek some respite, I sampled a few of the region's wonderful array of body treatments. Body treatments are physical, non-medicinal holistic procedures aimed at helping you achieve something specific with your body. This could be detoxing, rehydrating, beautifying, moisturising, exfoliating, slimming, rejuvenating - the type of treatment is chosen in accordance with the results you desire. Treatments come in many guises, from wraps, massages, scrubs, brushes and external body aids, to cold or heated applications. And all involve lying back and totally relaxing as the world outside continues to spin while the experts get to work on making you feel great.

Natures Ways, a wellbeing and beauty centre situated in the quaint market town of Stokesley, was the first stop on my body treatments journey of discovery. Following an introductory telephone call with practitioner Karen Owens, we had decided a deeply relaxing Aromatherapy Massage would be perfect for me to sample after a hectic day of travelling, meetings and stress. Before beginning the massage, Karen conducted a consultation to discover any ailments, allergies, and medical conditions I may have which would enable her to choose the most appropriate essential oil blend for the massage treatment I was to receive. The essential oils of Palma Rosa, Moroccan Camomile and Niaouli were blended with the safe carrier oil of Grapeseed, as my nut allergy had rendered the more nourishing Almond Oil out of bounds. The oils were chosen specifically for their intense moisturising properties - perfect for my dehydrated eczemaprone skin. As soon as the invigorating woody scent of the massage oil blend hit my senses, I felt myself instantly begin to unwind and had to focus to not drift away completely into a relaxing slumber.
The Full Body Aromatherapy Massage includes face, neck, shoulders, back, legs, scalp and the further option of having your tummy treated too. This wonderful treatment rids the body of toxins, improves skin condition, treats ailments and promotes a relaxed stress-free state. I left Natures Ways with a firm promise to myself to make more time for body massages. Eager to continue my quest to improve my severely irritated, inflamed, dehydrated skin condition, my next body treatment was a Thalgo Micronized Marine Algae Body Wrap, courtesy of the experts at Skin Philosophy, on Elvet Bridge, Durham. This marvellous treatment carries a medical patent in France for its excellent results with treating skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. I began by filling in a skincare questionnaire, providing details on my current beauty regime, how I find my skin generally, how I currently feel within myself and how I would like to feel by the end of the treatment. I was feeling a little sluggish when I arrived and, as it was late afternoon, I dearly hoped by the end I would feel revitalised and brimming with energy for a night out. Director Jan James began my pre-wrap preparations with a stimulating body exfoliation which left my skin feeling nicely polished. Featured Salons: Natures Ways, High Street, Stokesley, North Yorkshire. Tel: (01642) 710145/ Skin Philosophy, Elvet Bridge, Durham. Tel: (0191) 3757755 / Park Grange Beauty Clinic, Grange Terrace, Sunderland. Tel: (0191) 5102299 As Jan began applying my Marine Algae Wrap, a natural seaweed fresh ocean smell infused the treatment room, providing a healthy detoxifying aroma. As the treatment was fully applied to my arms, legs, back, tummy, and neck area, lavish amounts were applied to my more eczema-prone areas. Following this, I was wrapped in foil and lay on a heated bed, relishing the intense feeling of total relaxation. The Marine Algae Wrap is rich in minerals, vitamins and micronutrients and is fabulous for melting away tension. The pick-me-up element of the wrap had firmly worked its magic; my skin felt calm and I felt revived. My final stop on the body treatments trail was to Park Grange Beauty Clinic, in Sunderland, to work on my problem body areas - my thighs and bottom - via an Ultratone Inch Loss Treatment. The Ultratone system is an intense muscletoning treatment which works in harmony with your body's own energy. Following a pre-treatment chat with clinic owner Paula Vipond, we decided to concentrate solely on zapping my fatty areas trying to encourage my lazy bottom and thighs that they too need to shape up. This treatment is perfect for those (like myself ) who would like to be more toned but hate the idea of going to the gym. Electrical charge pads are strapped to the motor point of the muscles adjacent to the problem body areas. This clever machine sends an electrical current that contracts and releases the muscles and at the end of a 40-minute session, it is the equivalent of doing 500 sit ups. The treatment is not designed for burning off fat or calories; instead it works by reshaping, shrinking, defining and contouring the body and is excellent for those who need that little extra lift to tone up stubborn areas. The sensation of my muscles contracting can only be described as a warm pins and needles feeling to which I quickly adapted and felt completely at ease. Although a course of treatments is required for full effect, I ached like I had experienced a strenuous workout after only one treatment and I felt great post-session. Take back some vital precious time for yourself, and indulge in a treatment that invigorates body, mind and soul and reap the wellbeing rewards.

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