Humans are all about touch – we need it to survive. Physical touch stimulates the release of the cuddle hormone oxytocin that in turn triggers our happy brain chemicals. Putting value on yourself and ensuring enough nurture and ‘me’ time in your life goes a long way to maintaining a good sense of positive self-esteem. So, it stands to reason that a regular visit to the spa will enhance your happiness levels as well as engender a better self image.
did you know?
Missionaries working in an orphanage in Sudan, where conditions were less than optimal, found that babies having been deprived of touch, were listless and unresponsive. After just one hour of being cuddled and held, babies began to respond with more energy and vibrancy. They also seemed to enjoy their feeding time the next day far more.
DO IT FOR YOU
We chatted to a few people about their favourite mood-lifting spa experiences.
"Although beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, the feeling of being beautiful exists solely in the mind of the beheld."
- Martha Beck
For 60 year old Julia, it’s all about giving herself a pat on the back. “For most of my life, I believed that only bored, rich housewives went to Spas. I thought it was a waste of time and money to spend time being pampered. But, I’ve learned to value myself more now and I regularly go for Spa treatments as a way to treat myself for being me. One of my favourite treatments is an hour-long pedicure. I think women put all their effort into their faces but ignore their feet. As a busy entrepreneur, I’m on my feet often and with South Africa’s glorious climate, I usually wear open-toed shoes. Keeping my feet looking beautiful gives me greater confidence in business and the foot massage that goes with the pedicure is pure heaven.”
Sophie’s mom wasn’t a traditional beauty, but she knew how to make the very best of herself and people always commented on how attractive she was. Her secret, she says, “is regular visits to the beauty salon. I believe good grooming is vital for everybody.” Every Friday she went for a treatment, whether a manicure or facial, she chose various different treatments each time. So, going to the spa has been ingrained in me as part of everyday beauty. I always make sure I have at least an hour every week for a Spa visit.” Sophie’s favourite quick treatment is a mini facial, but when she has more time, she opts for a full body massage, specifically the Hot Stone treatment. “I feel more beautiful when I’ve spent time being pampered.”
James has unabashedly become a Spa junkie after his partner insisted on taking him along on a day Spa experience she’d won. “I was completely sceptical about the whole thing – I really didn’t want to sit around in an oversized dressing gown all day with people poking and prodding my body.” But, after being treated to everything from a pedicure to a full body massage, as well as a mud wrap, James was hooked. “I was actually a bit irritated that nobody had ever told me about this before. Since that day, I can’t wait to book time in my favourite spa. My absolute best is a full body exfoliation treatment. It’s completely relaxing and my skin feels totally energised for days afterwards.”
New mom Sarah says her best friend booked her in for a ‘mommy massage’ a few weeks before she was due to give birth. “The last few weeks of my pregnancy really exhausted me and my feet and legs were so swollen. I felt fat, ugly, depressed and didn’t want to get off the couch.” Just one massage session completely revived Sarah and she felt it was a life-changing experience. “With a new baby in the house, it became difficult for me to find time out for myself and trying to get enough sleep and get back to my pre-pregnancy weight took its toll. But, after that first luxurious massage, I was determined to make some kind of Spa treatment a regular part of my life. Now I go at least twice a month, even if I only have half an hour to spare for a quick head massage. It’s more than just the therapy, it’s a moment of peace in a frenetic day and I find I have so much more physical and emotional energy afterwards.”
did you know?
The placebo effect refers to the phenomenon of people feeling better or being cured of a malady with no actual intervention bar a sugar pill or something similar. Booking a massage or another treatment actually has the same effect – the anticipation of the session is mood lifting and stress reducing.
Senamile first experienced a ‘day of beauty’ when her best friend was getting married. “I’d never considered going to a Spa before, it was just so far out of my range of experience that it never crossed my mind. But, when my best friend was getting married, I thought a whole day of pampering would be a great way for us (including her mom and mother-in-law to be) to spend some quality time. We were pampered beyond our wildest dreams and when I was looking through the Spa menu, I discovered that I could actually have a head, neck and shoulder massage and a facial in the period of an hour. That day I decided I would treat myself at least once a month. Now, whenever I’m feeling a little down or need a stress-busting moment of peace, I run straight to my Spa. It’s certainly less expensive than retail therapy and it quite simply makes me happy.”
Even if you only have enough time for a half-hour massage, the benefits of being completely cut off from technology, noise, chaos and stress are worth it. Learn to truly appreciate yourself and enhance your natural beauty by taking more than just a moment for yourself.