#SpaVoice
September 2020
WELCOME TO SPAVOICE - September 2020 
 
Maximising employee happiness has become an ever more prevalent topic in today’s workforce. Many companies are placing greater focus on ways to improve workplace culture, such as flexible working hours, some continued working from home options and team building, in the hope that they will create happy and productive workers. 

However, it’s worth noting the fact that the Chartered Institute of Personal Development found that job satisfaction is at a two-year low in the UK (June 2020). With happiness having such a significant effect on staff turnover, it was wonderful to hear from some of the most well respected spa professionals, that they and their teams are delighted to be back at work. We chat to three UKSA members about the differences, the challenges and the positives of being back to work in our spas. 

With society turning to and exploring differing concepts of wellness, we also look at how crystals could play a healing part within spa treatments in the article, The Crystal Craze.

Finally we look at the real cost that unclear air could have on our long-term health, within the article, Every Breath You Take. 
 


Juliet Wheater 
SpaVoice Editor
 
 
A RETURN TO THE WORKPLACE

Thankfully many spas are now open and operational. We at the UK Spa Association, fought long and hard for this outcome so we wondered how members of our industry felt about their return to the workplace. Here we speak with grateful thanks to Amanda Hardy, Spa Manager at Seaham Hall, Victoria Rickett, Spa Manager at Rockliffe Hall and Teresa O’Farrell, Spa Director at Coworth Park. 

How have yourself and your team responded to being back in the spa, following lockdown? 

The team are simply delighted to be back doing what they love.  Initially the return to work can be very daunting for most, especially as the guidance continues to change day to day.  Throughout lockdown we kept regularly in touch with all team members via virtual sessions, providing useful links to enable them to update their skill toolbox and supporting their overall wellbeing at a very uncertain time.  Although we have not been able to welcome all team members back fully as of yet we are moving positively in the right direction. I for one certainly believe that all members of the public will be looking to boost their immunity, taking responsibility for their own health and wellbeing and that spa’s more than ever will provide a pathway for this to be achieved.
- Amanda 

It has been wonderful to return to some semblance of normality! We take for granted the psychological benefits of being around a positive team all working towards the same goal and the job satisfaction from welcoming guests back to their wellbeing journey. We are a family and the challenges have brought us even closer together (metaphorically of course in reality there is social distances being upheld) 
- Victoria 
 
I have thoroughly enjoyed all the additional learning, research and networking that helped in setting all the new standards for the spa. The team have been brilliant settling into the new normal including all the new protocols and procedures that have been introduced. During the lockdown period the team were engaged in weekly training sessions, plus we had a weekly team catch up on zoom and I arranged a full re-engage plan that included onsite training all of which prepared them for returning to work. I think that this has benefited us in such a positive way as the team knew what to expect and are confident with the new standards and new way of working. 
- Teresa 
 

Have you implemented new procedures/policies that you’ll now retain going forward? Such as booking online, consultation online etc 

The early days of re-opening for the hotel where particularly challenging.  Renowned as a spa destination we had to get creative quickly, to ensure the hotel could re-open with spa opening dates pushed back on the re-opening roadmap.  Successes included expansion of our in-room extras list, to include virtual in-room facial masterclasses with one of our Temple Spa guru’s. Also outdoor spa parties for residents, social spaced of course, as well as garden room candle light dinners, which take advantage of our acres of open space.  We quickly implemented virtual classes to allow our spa members and team members to train at home and maintain our very loyal membership base. We  certainly see a combination of onsite and virtual classes as part of our fitness offering to continue to achieve social distancing.  In terms of online spa bookings, our closure gave us some much needed time to develop this part of the spa business to enhance our guest experience, to ease the volume of calls into the reservations hub, as members of the team remain on furlough or where possible work from home.  We are now starting to see the benefit of spa bookings online and consider this as an essential procedure that can help the spa bounce back and react to demand.
- Amanda 

Prior to arrival, guests complete an online pre-arrival questionnaire and their temperature is checked on arrival. Numbers are also severely restricted to allow for social distancing at poolside.  While the close contact restrictions are in place, we are running our ‘A New Beginning’ menu which comprises of a select few treatments which are designed to boost wellbeing, while still safely fall within the parameters of the restrictions.
- Victoria 

Very early on in the lockdown period it became very apparent that we would need to rely on technology mor, in order to become a paperless spa, as part of the new recommended protocols.  I therefore, arranged for our spa soft booking system to be upgraded. This has benefitted us in many ways including; electronic health consultation forms completed prior to guest arrival, automated email confirmations for all the additional swimming pool and gym bookings, locker allocations allowing us to use zones within the changing room to comply with social distancing , plus the use of iPads in the operations which are easy to sanitise after use. This was something that was already on my list as part of our sustainability project for the spa and we were able to bring this forward so it was in place for our reopening.
- Teresa 

How are guests reacting to the new guidelines and treatment options? 
 
We are operating at reduced capacity for full spa day guests and evening spa guests only.  We are known for our guest experience and ‘Northern Hospitality’ so our guests have really missed this. Everyone at this moment is searching for a sense of freedom and we promote this sense of escapism and comfort to all that visit. Our guest feedback has been amazing, without hesitance to the reduced treatments and face coverings around dry areas of the spa. However, equally there are a lot of people choosing to visit us at a later date, once we have fuller facilities available in terms of heat experiences. 
- Amanda Hardy
 
 
A mixed bag! Our guests are either completely over Covid-19 and are quite cross that it is not business as usual or completely lovely and so grateful and happy we are open, we have had lots of lovely feedback about how safe they feel with us.
- Victoria 
 
We are operating on a reduced treatment menu offering a variety of 60 minute treatments. The feedback from the therapists and guests has been both positive and complimentary. Our guest are very understanding and comforted by our new procedures and the checks that we have in place. We have a turnaround time of 30 minutes between each treatment to allow full sanitisation of the room to be completed. It is certainly evident that there is a pent-up demand for treatments and we have been extremely busy since we reopened on the 1st August.
- Teresa 

It would be interesting to understand what the guest preferences are, in terms of facilities?  
 
 
There are guests pushing back their reservations until the saunas and steam rooms open, but those that are here are loving being in the outdoor pools, especially in the glorious weather we have been enjoying lately. 
- Victoria
 
The swimming pool and the spa sun terrace have been very popular with our guests as have the additional outdoor wellness activities we have introduced during this time which include yoga, chi-gong and wellness walks. Our spa members are so happy to be back and fully support us with our new polices. 
- Teresa 

 


THE CRYSTAL CRAZE
By Juliet Wheater 

People are falling in love with crystals, a trend accelerated by celebrity endorsements from the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Victoria Beckham, Katy Perry, Khloe Kardashian, Bella Hadid, and Adele.

Adele uses citrine to help combat stage fright. Victoria Beckham is said to carry a black obsidian with her for protection and Miranda Kerr is understood to keep her rose quartz next to her skincare products, in order to infuse them with energy. 

Rose quartz and amethyst are usually displayed within homes and other working and living spaces to “balance negative energy.” More latterly, such stones are also sealed into water bottles to infuse the water with their declared healing, grounding, and restoring properties. We’re also seeing a rise in the popularity of crystal skin care and crystal light therapy. Crystals are being touted as cures for stress and pain, and as having the ability to “reduce radiation” from smartphones – among other things.
But whilst celebrities may swear by crystals, can they really have healing properties and if so, how does that work on a practical level? 

Stones are believed to work with chakras, the body’s invisible energy centres, to help clear blockages in the ‘flow’ of energy. Crystal healers believe that crystals emit an energy that can work on the nervous system. They have a vibrational frequency which is said to affect human tissue. This means that many advocates, believe that they can transform and shift the frequency in our bodies, influencing change. However, you feel about the concept of positive energy, there’s no doubt that the earth’s gemstones offer a kaleidoscope of natural colour and beauty which can undoubtedly lift our spirits, especially within a spa setting. 

Healers recommend carrying them on your person, either incorporated into jewellery or simply popped into a handbag. They also suggest using them as ornaments in a space where you need a little extra help – the bedroom to improve sleep for example, or the living room to boost your mood. 

Here are 10 crystals hailed for power to help heal specific problems. 

ROSE QUARTZ – best for headaches 
The romantic pink ‘love’ stone is a winner with celebs. It’s said to ease stress and improve circulation, great fixes for a tension headache. Cleopatra is said to have used rose quartz for its beauty benefits, including clearing the complexion and preventing wrinkles. 

CLEAR QUARTZ – best for all round healing 
One of the most popular and versatile stones, this ‘master healer’ is said to cleanse, stimulate and restore you from all sorts of ailments. So if you’re looking for a good all rounder as it were, this is your go-to. 

AMBER – best for digestive upsets 
Yellow helps the solar plexus, one of the most commonly blocked chakras. It can aid with digestive system disorders. Although often sold as a gemstone, amber is actually fossilised tree resin. 

AMETHYST – best for insomnia 
The calming properties of this purple favourite are said to help beat sleep problems. Give the stone a soothing rub before bed and then pop it under your pillow for swift, undisturbed slumber. 

LITHIUM QUARTZ – best for low mood 
Stones containing natural lithium can be helpful for symptoms of depression. The mineral is used in psychiatric drugs as a mood stabiliser for mental health conditions such as depression and bipolar disorder. 

BLACK TOURMALINE – best for anxiety 
Tourmaline comes in an array of different colours but it’s the iron-rich black one you need for stress relief, as its purported to soak up dark energies. Try holding it in your hand when meditating to super-charge the effects. 

At the end of the day, crystals are a tool that reminds you that you can find peace even in the midst of chaos. A touchstone to get grounded, balanced and cantered. And when we are in this state, we can make better decisions.

In a spa setting, having crystals under the massage or treatment tables is amazing! Place a smoky quartz underneath the table where the client’s feet would lay, Rose Quartz under where the heart would be and Amethyst under where the head would be. In a wellness setting, I love Black Tourmaline in the four corners to seal in the room with the energy of protection. Also, selenite to clear and cleanse as well as fill the room with light energy to raise the vibration.

It's interesting that more and more spas are integrating crystals into their beauty products, treatments and environments. Jade and rose quartz rollers are having a moment right now; with  many spas, using such tools within in their facials currently. Such spas, emphasise the fact, that clients can take such tools home with them and then they are able to use them to keep that spa treatment energy alive until their next session. 
 
 


EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE

By Juliet Wheater 

It was reported back in April, that the Himalayas were visible from India , amid the government’s lockdown to fight the corona virus, allowing residents to see the towering peaks 125 miles away from Punjab for the first time in 30 years, indicating cleaner air. 

However, as life begins to get back to normal, clean air is once again, increasingly hard to come by, so what we can do to stay healthy? 
According to the Royal College of Physicians, air pollution is responsible for around 40,000 deaths a year in the UK. Air pollution is a known cause of lung cancer and is connected to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and changes in the brain linked to dementia, says Professor Stephen Holgate, RCP’s adviser on air quality. Other chronic health conditions, such as asthma, bronchial diseases and skin problems, are also triggered by exposure to pollutants. And for children, the elderly and those with existing respiratory conditions, pollution is a major concern, states Dr Nick Hopkinson, medical director at the British Lung Foundation. (Source: Woman & Home magazine). 
With pollution levels in many parts of the country regularly exceeding the World Health Organisation’s safety guidelines, it’s time for all of us to make some changes and not just temporary ones, during a pandemic. 

So what is it about air pollution that’s so toxic? 
Gases and particle pollution, known as ‘particulate matter; or PM, is the issue. This airborne material is a mix of carbon emissions from vehicles and the burning of fossil fuels, soot, windblown dust, sand and sea salt and tiny specks of rubber and metals. PM10 is large particular matter and the finer, more harmful particles are measured as PM2.5. These can penetrate deep into the lungs and potentially enter the bloodstream. Breathing this on a high pollution day has a short-term impact but it’s possible to be affected by low levels over a long period of time. 

As air pollution often can’t be seen, many people are often unaware of its dangers. There’s growing evidence linking it to more common conditions, such as: bronchitis and pneumonia. On days when air pollution levels spike, so do the number of people seeking medical attention says Dr Hopkinson. In pollution hotspots, shut the windows when indoors or driving. An air purifier will clean up the immediate air that you inhale. The most effective ones have a HEPA filter to remove PM2.5 particles but using one with a carbon filter will combat vehicle gases too. Track the pollution levels in your area, visit uk-air.defra.gov.uk or call Defra’s air pollution hotline on: 0800 55 66 77. 
Known as the ‘Big Smoke’ its little wonder that London has the highest concentration of PM in the UK. Vehicles are a significant source of nitrogen oxides, so higher concentrations of it are usually found in urban zones. However, PM levels can also be high in rural areas along busy commuter roads, especially when congested. Interestingly, ozone pollution levels are often higher in rural areas too. Warm and wind-free weather conditions, also seem to make it worse. Urban planners are now creating green zones, tree avenues and hedge walls which act as vegetarian barriers, to block the flow and speed of noxious gases from vehicles. 

Many parts of the world experienced the joys of cleaner air during the COVD-19 lockdown when human activities were restricted by the lockdown policies. Sadly, but not unexpectedly – as cities and countries begin to ease these policies, air pollution is bouncing back. According to the recent analysis, air pollution in China has already hit pre-pandemic levels around the end of April to early May, and the Philippines appears to follow suit. (Source: Greenpeace). 

Every year, around 4.5 million premature deaths are linked to air pollution from fossil fuel burning. In 2018, it has been reported that the global cost of air pollution reached US$8 billion per day, which is roughly 3.3% of the world’s GDP. And according to the WHO, 91% of the global population live in areas that exceed the WHO air quality standard.

The UK government’s Clean Air strategy aims to slash air pollution by 46% in the next 10 years and we can all do our part in our own small way. If possible, opt to either walk or cycle instead of using the car and if you do drive, choose a clean model. 

Recycling and composting food minimises emissions and make sure that your home is well insulated and as the nights begin to draw in, wear a jumper rather than turn up the heating. 
 
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY . . .

 

 
SPA LIFE IRELAND ONLINE EVENT
29th September 2020




 
SPA LIFE INTERNATIONAL
24th & 25th November 2020
now at
Wyboston Lakes Resort
Great North Road
Wyboston
MK44 3AL

 
 

 

 coming this November!
 
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