The rise of emotional wellbeing retreats in spas
That clients now want more from their spa experience than a half-day of pampering and a glass of champagne in a hot tub is nothing new. But recently the boundaries of spa and what it can provide to guests is being explored, with forward-thinking spa specialists setting their sights on addressing clients’ whole lives, not just the knots in their backs.
Wellness retreats designed to work on guests’ emotional, as well as physical, wellbeing aim to provide a two-in-one escape and solution to the toll of the everyday on people’s mental and emotional health. The Light Retreat at Ockenden Manor in Cuckfield, Sussex, for example, is billed as a “transformational and wellness retreat” that aims to leave guests “energised, refocused and with a renewed sense of positivity and purpose.”
It’s run by holistic therapist and founder of The Light Technique Katie Light, who aims, with the retreat, to “help people get back to wellness, reconnecting with themselves, looking at the big picture of what they want to achieve and realigning their body and mind.”
Light believes that emotional wellness is becoming more of a focus for spas because of our toxic lifestyles. “These days, we are consumed by digital devices and social media and are time poor with no headspace, we have environmental concerns… I could go on. We have to make sure we are looking at all aspects of health, body, mind and the emotions,” she says.
Even more vital than the emotional wellness guests achieve while on the retreat, are the tools they learn to carry on their development. “We have three transformational workshops designed to create lifestyle goals to put all that guests have discovered into practice when they leave,” says Light.
“It’s just as important for me to give each individual techniques to use and fit into their daily lives as it is to create a safe and relaxed space to retreat into.” Check out these four spas that offer emotional wellbeing retreats:
Remedy Retreat, Lifehouse Spa & Hotel
Lifehouse Spa & Hotel created this retreat to provide two nights of “complete relaxation” for those going through stress, burnout, bereavement, post-cancer recovery or any illness. Guests have a consultation with the spa’s naturopath, as well as two 55-minute Made For Life Organic treatments, an energy healing or Reiki session, use of the spa and garden, and complimentary fitness classes. The retreat can be tailored with personal mediation sessions and other holistic spa experiences.
The Light Retreat, Ockenden Manor
Set in the hotel’s Elizabethan manor house and nine acres of tranquil grounds, the three-day programme includes a series of workshops and activities, such as classes on breathing techniques and self-massage, and a life-envisioning workshop. Guests also have a 95-minute personalised Light Technique treatment with Katie Light, which combines intuitive massage with Reiki and neuro-linguistic programming, a yoga class, candlelit meditation, an isopod floatation session and full use of Ockenden’s spa facilities.
Inner Resilience: an approach to managing stress, Grayshott Health Spa
This retreat combines talks and discussions with creativity workshops, guided meditation and tailored exercise with a focus on stress reduction. Over six nights, guests are guided to identify their own triggers and taught fresh approaches to managing stress through techniques that build inner resilience. The retreat also includes HeartMath coaching, a scientific system of tools and technologies used to help guests understand their emotions and behaviours and self-regulate to reduce stress.
Life Coaching Retreats, Champneys Health Spas
Taking place monthly at Champneys properties around the country, these retreats call on various expert practitioners to help guests build a more positive life and equip them with the confidence to reach their goals. Example retreats include Putting Yourself Back Into Your Life, a two-night break led by life coach, Reiki master and psychic medium Sandi Clark, where guests have energy healing sessions and take part in self-healing workshops such as emotion and energy management using colour.