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Anti-Ageing Retreats: Preparation & Expectations

Let’s face it, everyone is in search of the fountain of youth and there are plenty of snake oil salesmen that make promises they can’t keep, but there are also some revolutionary new treatments and technologies that could help you turn back the hands of time.

Anti-ageing is a broad term that is often followed by magical words like “serum”. But in reality there are many good treatments and products that are available to give your skin the appearance of looking younger.  Many destination spas have dedicated programmes consisting of a strictly detoxifying diet, pampering spa treatments, and aesthetic beauty treatments that deliver impressive results.

If you are going on an anti-ageing retreat, I recommend preparing for your retreat a week in advance to see the most dramatic benefits:

FOOD:  To look younger, you need to start from the inside out.

Before you leave –

  • Eliminate alcohol, caffeine, and carbonated beverages. The first time I went to a spa and didn’t get my morning caffeine fix I had terrible headaches and no energy for the first two days.  I highly recommend phasing out caffeine in advance so that you don’t spend your time (and money) at a spa feeling rubbish.
  • Stay hydrated with plenty of mineral water, freshly squeezed juices, and drinks with antioxidants. I’m really into my fresh coconut water at the moment. Read the labels of the juices that you buy – “juice drinks” are more sugar than juice.
  • Avoid processed foods.  Cooking with natural, organic ingredients is cheaper, healthier, and more flavourful than buying packaged, prepared or processed foods. If you can’t afford to buy organic, at least buy the base ingredients like fresh vegetables and fresh meat.

While you are at the spa you will meet with doctors and nutritionists who will put together a specialized diet for you during your stay. Some spas adhere by nutritional philosophies developed by doctors such as Mayr Cuisine or the Dukan Diet. Find out in advance if these diets are required as they are not for everyone. Most spas will offer you spa cuisine during your stay which is healthy cuisine that is calorie controlled and portion controlled.  Food at a spa is normally grown on site, organic, and lovingly prepared by top chefs. The focus of the diet is detoxification and delivering nutrients.  I was very impressed with the quality of the food, the size of the portions, and the presentation at all of the spas I have been to. Spa cuisine sounds very restrictive and basic, but I actually found myself asking the chefs for the recipes so that I could recreate the dishes at home.

SPA TREATMENTS:  To look younger, you need to pamper yourself.

Before you leave –

  • Try different types of massages before you go to find out what you like.

While you are at the spa you can expect some incredibly indulgent treatments.  I love massages and I am always fascinated at how many different types of massages are available.  Some are relaxing and some are quite intense, but they leave you feeling incredible.  Most spas have a wide selection of different temperature pools and a variety of water types including hot springs, sea water, and lap pools.  There are high pressure showers, rain showers, freezing cold showers and showers you have never dreamed of for you to unwind in.  I enjoy the dry saunas and steam rooms with aroma therapy to sweat it out and to meditate in a Zen-like trance.

BEAUTY TREATMENTS:  To look younger, you need to have beautiful skin.

Before you leave –

  • Give your skin a head start by taking Nutricosmetic supplements. These specially designed vitamins for the skin stimulate regeneration and rejuvenation from within by boosting collagen levels. Collagen is the most important protein in your skin, 65% of the body’s proteins are collagen and they are responsible for the elasticity of the skin as well as critical for the moisturising process. It is the protein that keeps skin’s tone and youth.
  • Gentle exfoliation is vital for the wellbeing of the skin, don’t go for harsh dermabrasion products as they can damage skin but look for fruit enzyme exfoliators, which will improve the structure and health of the skin. So make sure pre-retreat prep involves regular exfoliation.
  • If you can take time for a facial before you go, give your skin a deep pore cleanse. It is the best way to get rid of pollutants in advance of your trip. For an added advantage have an oxygen treatment as they boost circulation and stimulate skin cell revitalisation by 4 to 5 times normal daily rate, a great mini-work out before your full retreat.

While you are at the spa you will be given different facial and eye treatments, some even including oxygen that will reduce blemishes, even out skin tone, and reduce wrinkles. These aesthetic treatments in conjunction with a detox diet gave my skin a glow that I never had at home. I used to think they were strange but I have grown to love salt body scrubs to exfoliate your skin and body wraps.  There are mud wraps, herbal wraps, wax wraps, algae wraps and even chocolate wraps! 

So not only will your skin look younger but you will return from your spa holiday feeling stress free and utterly relaxed, which will make you feel younger!

MY RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Preparing for skin for your spa holiday - visit the skincare spa at QMSMediCosmetics at Sloane Square.  The staff are wonderfully attentive, very professional and extremely knowledgeable.  They offer any of the treatments (above) and they have travel-sized cosmetics that you can take with you.  Go in for a tester - I have never used such amazing facial moisturizer! They have product lines specifically for men too.
  • Making your travel preparations - There are some surprisingly affordable anti-ageing retreats for up to 29 days that include rejuvenating exercise regimes and classes to help you live a younger life when you return. 

By Spa Samurai


"Vana was a perfect experience in every way I would have no hesitation in recommending it most highly to others"
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