When we received an invite to review The Woodland Spa at the Elderflower Fields Family Festival we were intrigued. We travel the length and breadth of the UK in search of the spa perfection – and often much further. But a festival spa? This was something new.
Elderflower Fields Family Festival, which takes place over the late May bank holiday, is now in its third year. This year, Anna Archer from Barcombe Bodyworks in East Sussex was running the spa.
Having found my accommodation, a bell tent in the glamping field, I went off in search of the Woodland Spa. It was set among the trees at the edge of the festival and consisted of a series of octagonal coloured treatment pods. Main reception was a white marquee. Bright orange and fuchsia pink parasols and fabrics hung from the trees all around. It looked wonderful.
The proof of the spa pudding however is the treatment. I was booked in for two treatments on Saturday. The first was reflexology with Laura.
Laura met me in the main reception tent and led me along the little pathway through the woods to her royal blue pod.
The weather wasn’t great that day so it was lovely to be inside the cosy little heated pod. The treatment bed was super comfortable too, so no camping style roughing it here!
Laura made me comfortable on the bed and placed a cushion under my knees to ensure my lower back was supported. The top of the pod was made from clear Perspex and I loved my view of the leaves with sunlight flickering through. Suddenly a rain sodden festival seemed so much more appealing!
Laura began work on my feet. She used very strong pressure to work deeply into areas of tightness and talked me through some deeply relaxing breathing exercises while she worked. I could feel the tension dropping away.
Laura asked if I would like a head massage to finish, or more work on my feet. I chose the former and so Laura spent the last ten minutes working on my scalp while I continued with the breathing exercises.
I was so deeply relaxed I had to force myself to open my eyes and float back to my tent.
My second treatment was a shiatsu with Katherine. Her treatment room was a yurt which was slightly larger than the others. A wood burner made the room super cosy and the double futon on the floor was very comfortable.
For shiatsu treatments, you keep all your clothes on. The therapist works along meridian lines through your clothes. The touch is very subtle and gentle, so don’t expect a deep tissue massage.
First I lay on my back and Katherine worked on the front of my legs. She also lifted up each leg in turn and moved it into some gentle hip stretches. She then worked on my arms and abdomen before asking me to turn over to work on my back.
After an hour I was deeply relaxed and very reluctant to get up off the futon and return to the festival. However the sun had come out and I floated off to rejoin the fun feeling very light and relaxed.
So are treatments at festivals a good thing? Well, it is wonderful to have somewhere to unwind and both treatments were top-notch. The only downside is that it would have been nice to have somewhere to go and lie down afterwards to readjust before rejoining the festivities. How about a post treatment yurt next year?