Luxury Spa Holidays that Transform
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Our Spa Blog

Our Blog

Welcome to the Essential Escapes blog, where we give you the latest from the frontline of luxury spa holidays. We interview experts in the field of wellbeing, and bring you unique first-hand reports from discerning spa-goers, covering every corner of the globe. Read our reviews from our hardworking team of spa testers!

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The science behind the massage

The science behind the massage

We don’t need much convincing to treat ourselves to our massage, whether at home or on our spa holiday in the sun. It is a wonderful way to relax, and can be very effective at tackling any niggling aches and pains. But what’s behind the feel-good glow that we all experience? A US study now suggests that getting a massage might alter the body’s immune response and lower stress-related hormones.

In a small-scale study, the blood of twenty-nine people who received 45-minute Swedish massages was tested five minutes and one minute before the massage began, then one, five, ten, fifteen, thirty and sixty minutes after the massage, using intravenous catheters. Swedish massage is a form of massage originally used on gymnasts to relax tired and tense muscles.

The blood of people who received 45 minutes of light touch massage — a much less intense form of massage — was also tested, and saliva samples were taken from both groups. The massage therapists all adhered to the same massage pattern and were taped for quality control.

The researchers, from Cedars-Sinai Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, a Los Angeles-based medical centre, found that the Swedish massages reduced arginine vasopressin, a hormone that causes the stress hormone cortisol to increase. The massages also reduced levels of cortisol itself in the body.

Study participants also saw their cytokines — proteins released by stimulated white blood cells when danger is present — decrease, indicating the body did not see itself as under attack during the massage. Light touch recipients saw their cytokine levels actually rise slightly.

The researchers believe that massage could play a role in helping people manage inflammatory or autoimmune conditions, in which the body’s immune system overreacts, attacking itself.

“This research indicates that massage doesn’t only feel good, it also may be good for you,” said Rapaport, the principal investigator of the study and the Polier Family Chair in Schizophrenia and Related Disorders, in a release. “More research is ahead of us, but it appears that a single massage may deliver a measurable benefit.” The authors believe a larger study should now be undertaken to replicate the results.

Given that modern lifestyles seem to be only increasing the daily stress we encounter, massage appears to be both an important and enjoyable antidote. So next time you feel the urge to stretch out at a luxury spa, tell yourself that it is for the good of your health, lay back and enjoy.

Weight Loss for Foodies!

 Vicki Edgson's Vital Energy Retreat is back 

We are delighted that leading nutritionist Vicki Edgson is back in Ibiza this October with her very popular Vital Energy Retreat.

Voted “Most life-changing” retreat in the 2012 Tatler Spa Guide, Vicki Edgson invites you to indulge a glorious week of healthy gastronomy, sharing her wealth of nutritional expertise, set in the beautiful northern part of Ibiza in a converted Finca.

She has helped literally hundreds of clients to enjoy healthier, happier and fuller lives by transforming their eating habits, banishing old myths, and teaching people literally ‘how to eat’!

What is different about this retreat? Putting aside the boot-camp ethos, and creating greater balance between the physical challenges and unashamed relaxation, this retreat gets into your head, showing you how to eat with pleasure, not guilt, and switching off efficiently to ensure better quality sleep.

The result? You will leave feeling fully energised, revived and revitalized, with the tools to continue the transformation at home.

Vicki works alongside local chefs to inspire you how to create simple, yet nutritious and delicious dishes, effortlessly, and in a short time. She invites you to participate in the preparation of some meals, so that you can confidently recreate these at home, fully understanding the real meaning of ‘nourishment’. Explore local markets, join in the harvest of olives and grapes, visit fishermen to learn how best to prepare those foods you would normally only eat in restaurants, and awaken the heart and soul with wine tastings in the oldest Cantina in Ibiza.

Couple that with the best yoga and Tai Chi teachers on the island, hiking, riding, kayaking and swimming, plus cranial-sacral massage to support and shift stale energy - this is the best combination retreat for body and soul you could find.

As Vicki says, it's all about ‘living to eat, rather than starving to live’.

What past guests say:

"Vital Energy is what I have been searching for, for the last 20 years - your enthusiasm, motivation and boundless energy have inspired me for the next 20!" - A.B-H, Edinburgh

"Quite simply.... life changing! Thank God my passion for food has been reinstated... with no guilt!" - L.Lee, Dorset

"If I'd met Vicki 15 years ago, I would feel, and be 15 years younger!" - E.Z, Italy

Your Stay

Ask our team about booking your stay for this October retreat in a beautiful private villa in northern Ibiza. Tel 020 7284 3344 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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