The humble sauna and steam room need no introduction, but heat rituals from around the world are becoming more commonplace in UK spas; Stylish Spy gets hot under the collar.
Picture the scene: you’re sat in a hot sauna breathing in the gentle scent of frankincense when a Sauna Master enters… their aim: to whip a towel around their heads with gusto until warm air circulates - and the heat intensifies. Despite being introduced to spas by the Germans; the concept is now a leading wellness practice across Europe; it’s so popular in the UK that Rudding Park Spa will host the inaugural UK Aufguss Championships this April. Towels at the ready…
Try it at: Rudding Park Spa, Galgorm Resort & Spa and Low Wood Bay
When a felt hat is needed to prevent your head from - well, melting – we’re taking about some serious heat. The Parilkas (steam rooms) used in a Parenie Ritual are heated to a brain-melting 72 degrees. The idea: to lie face down on a bed in one of these rooms – felt hat firmly on head – and allow a therapist to push the steam into your skin using a Venik (a bunch of birch, oak and eucalyptus leaves). Benefits include deep relaxation and improved immunity.
Try it at: The Bath House and Banya No. 1 Hoxton
Common in Victorian times, Turkish Baths are growing in popularity due to their attractive Moorish design and health benefits, which include improved circulation and skin tone. Visitors make their way through a series of rooms - including a eucalyptus-infused steam room and several chambers heated to varying degrees - before cooling off in a cold plunge pool. The journey begins and ends in a Frigidarium (pictured above), a warm relaxation room adorned with loungers.
Try it at: Turkish Baths Harrogate
A traditional Arabian treatment using steam and mud, the benefits of a Rhassoul are well documented with more new spas adding a Rhassoul chamber to their initial blueprint. Using a natural mineral clay sourced from Morocco’s Atlas Mountains, spa goers slather the warm mud over their bodies, sit in a steamy chamber for around 30 minutes and wash it off using a hand-held shower. The result: clean, silky-smooth skin.
Try it at: just about anywhere
Hot Stone Massage
A specialist massage from China using smooth basalt stones typically found in riverbeds. The rich iron content in the stones retains heat, making them perfect for releasing tension in the body or encouraging deep relaxation. The stones are positioned along the spine, in the palms of the hands, along the legs or even between the toes. If the stones are too hot (and they can be), ask your therapist to leave them to cool for a minute before placing them back on the skin.
Try it at: Lifehouse Hotel & Spa
Introduced to Thailand by Indian Ayurvedic Practitioners, a Warm Poultice Massage uses heated, herb-filled, bulb-shaped bags (known as Poultices) to release tension in specific areas of the body. The herbs used can vary according to the complaint, with plantain traditionally used to treat insect bites or stings, lemon balm for headaches and lavender for insomnia. This is a good option for spa goers that find a hot stone massage too intense.
Try it at: Champneys spas and Aria Spa
Heat and salt have long been a happy partnership in the spa world, with benefits ranging from softer skin to improved breathing – fighting off a cold? Give it a go. The heat in a Salt Sauna tends to be cooler than traditional versions, meaning spa-goers can endure it for longer than a Finnish Sauna or hot steam room, say. Attractive Himalayan salt blocks are often used to get salty particles into the air, forming an attractive backdrop as well as doing good.
Try it at: The Spa at Manor House (Alsager)
18th January 2023
Minimalist lines; organic products; facial massage; tranquillity; interesting people-watching.
Discarded towels on loungers; steam rooms that aren't steamy; mobile phones.
Behind the scenes