Sunday,22 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1291, (14 - 20 April 2016)
Sunday,22 October, 2017
Issue 1291, (14 - 20 April 2016)

Ahram Weekly

A pampering experience

Doaa El-Bey has a soothing and rejuvenating experience for total well-being

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Al-Ahram Weekly

A week-end break in a five-star hotel is usually a chance for relaxing, basking by the pool, enjoying the sun and probably joining a 30-minute aqua-aerobic workout. However, this time round the break also turned out to be a totally unwinding experience.

To my surprise, the hotel in question also housed a 6,000m² indoor state-of-the-art spa and health centre and included therapeutic as well as beauty services in addition to a fitness gym, nail salon and hair salon.

Naturally, I rushed to inquire about the beauty or pampering services offered by the centre. After taking its advice, I chose a few activities that might contribute to relaxing my mind and rejuvenating my body.

I started my programme by the luxurious experience pool. As the name suggests, this provides the experience of endless swimming as one swims against the current formed by powerful water jets.

“This is Egypt’s first state-of-the-art experience pool area that has five relaxation zones and an energising waterfall to massage the body and neck as well as water jets and underwater air jets,” said Sarah Kaye, a medical-aesthetics advisor.

The second leg of my pampering tour was the wellness area, which included two different temperature saunas, steam rooms, an ice fountain, experience showers and relaxation areas. This is where I enjoyed the hot and cold experience.

Before starting that experience, Kaye reminded me of a golden rule in using the sauna and steam rooms – adjust to your comfort zone. I tried to remember this valuable advice throughout my experience.

I started the experience by inhaling salt vapour in the 65-degree salt sauna, which has salt-iodine blocks on one side, for 10 minutes. Then I moved to the ice fountain, where your body is massaged with ice, starting with the arms and legs to stimulate the circulation.

After taking a 10-minute rest in the relaxation room and drinking some water, I started another experience in the dry sauna where temperatures can reach up to 95 degrees.   

“The health benefits of the sauna are numerous, including enhancing the heart, washing toxins from the skin, and contributing to weight loss,” Kaye said.

After the hot sauna, I went through another ice fountain experience followed by a much-needed rest in the relaxation room.

The third phase of the hot and cold soothing experience started with the steam rooms.

The warmth of the rising steam and the high humidity together with the refreshing scents used all have a special way of relaxing and soothing the body. They are also helpful in detoxifying the body, improving the state of the skin, and relieving any muscle or bone pain.

That phase ended by my indulging my feet in a Kneipp treatment. This treatment, named after a German priest, is commonly associated with the application of water through various methods, temperatures and pressures in ways that have therapeutic or healing effects.

The treatment offered in the spa was basically to repeatedly dip one’s feet in the hot and then the cold water in a special tub. This helps improve blood circulation to the feet and thus to the whole body.

After another rest in the relaxation area, I was supposed to conclude the hot and cold experience with a refreshing cold shower. However, I was not feeling very adventurous and preferred to finish with a warm shower instead.

My next choice was lymphatic drainage, which takes personal pampering to a new level and in which the legs and feet are covered in a body wrap like an astronaut’s suit. The wrapped parts are gently massaged by air that is gently and gradually pumped into special chambers starting from the feet.

“Lymphatic drainage aids in the elimination of cellulite, stimulates waste removal, and reduces body fluids that may cause swelling or oedema,” Kaye explained.

Pampering the face was part and parcel of the total well-being experience. On Kaye’s advice, I went for the oxygen energy treatment, which works with highly concentrated negative ions. The negative ions that are released through a hole in the protective helmet placed over the face during the treatment enrich the oxygen in the surrounding air. They have a relaxation effect that improves vitality and memory, enhances skin quality, provides anti-ageing protection, and protects the skin against harmful environmental influences.

The final touch of the programme was the beautiful lips treatment, which is a gentle method of making the lips look fuller and outlining their contours through the use of hyaluronan.

My advisor suggested that I end my visit with a light meal in a refined atmosphere, or cool off with a refreshing drink at the bar. At the centre they believe that a balance of healthy food and physical well-being is necessary for total well-being. One also cannot walk out of the centre without a quick visit to the special care centre that offers beauty consultations and sells beauty treatments.

The spa and prevention centre is located not far from Cairo and Alexandria, the two largest governorates in Cairo. It provides therapeutic services like physiotherapy, rehabilitation, and expert diagnosis for prevention and health or pampering services, including spa treatments, recreation areas, fitness services and a gym, and above all a healthy restaurant.

It has projects in other countries including Qatar, Oman, the Maldives, China, Turkey and Sri Lanka. The centre and spa also aims to become a nucleus for medical tourism in Egypt, according to Yasser Moshref, general manager of the spas in the Middle East.

“Although Egypt receives millions of tourists every year, it is only fourth in medical tourism after Jordan, Dubai and Tunisia. We are looking forward to encouraging more tourists to come to Egypt for treatment, rehabilitation or pampering,” he said.

“The combination of traditional spa therapies and fitness approaches with modern preventive treatments and exercises all under one roof makes our aim that much easier,” he added.

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