Spa experience & a few useful tips!

So, as promised, this post will be all about the actual spa experience on my previous little mountain trip!
Now, I'll have to admit that it was my very first time in a spa, so I really didn't know what to expect, which of course meant that I had to try everything!!! The facilities included a heated pool, a jacuzzi, a hammam, a sauna and there were also massage sessions available as extra treatments.
Obviously, this isn't your average women's spa with the fancy mud baths and (overpriced) facials, but rather the more basic approach, which is a lot more fitting to the surroundings and the activities that those offer (who wouldn't want to relax in a sauna after hiking or rafting anyway)!

The very first thing that I tried was the heated exercise pool. The water was set at a comfortable 27 degrees Celsius, which seemed little at first, but only took a few seconds to get used to. Being an exercise pool meant that you had the option of swimming against the push of a water current created by a pump at one end - now this proved to be a little too demanding for my build, so I just went the old school way. You can use the pool before the rest of the relaxing facilities, if you want a bit of an exercise first, or after a round in the steam room or sauna as a way to relax - I would do a bit of both.

The jacuzzi was pretty basic and honestly did not impress me by itself. Out of everything, it was the most obvious relaxing choice, no doubt about it, but I didn't really notice see any of its benefits on my body other than a general feeling of relaxation, almost enough to fall asleep to! The placement of the jacuzzi in the room added to that effect: it was right under a huge window with a direct view of the high rock mountains right across (rough idea on the last photo on my previous post)!

The hammam (or steam room) was an interesting experience: you sit in a room filled with steam of high temperature - the second time I went in, I noticed it was set at 44-45 degrees Celsius (about 112 F). Steam baths are particularly beneficial to the respiratory system and the added eucalyptus scent (apparently frequent in steam rooms) aids to that effect. What I can personally say about them, is that it might take a bit getting used to (hey, you're in a small fogged up room), but you can relax and stay longer in it compared to the sauna.

Now, the sauna, is exactly the opposite: an extremely hot (I'd estimate the temperature was in the 70's?) but dry atmosphere, yet oddly pleasant and addictive! Now, you will sweat in the steam room too, but if you're looking for an extreme detox, then the sauna is your obvious choice, simply because the extreme heat will completely open up your pores and the sweat will rid your body of many nasty toxins - your skin will feel younger too! Hands down, my most favourite thing to do out of what's mentioned so far!

Another thing that impressed me was the muscle massage. Now I was lucky since my masseur guy was a trained chiropractor too, so I was obviously in excellent hands, but even if that wasn't the case, I know I would still see a huge difference in my body, especially my back. I would strongly suggest if anyone is suffering from bad posture or sore muscles to go book an appointment now - you'll thank me later. Makes one think that with our crazy rhythms, such treatments aren't really a luxury, but more of a neccessity, really...

Now, if you're going to visit a spa with similar facilities, here's a few important things to keep in mind!
You need to:
- start with a shower (it's pretty standard procedure anyways).
- have a warm shower before entering the sauna or steam room to make the transition to the hot environment easier for your body and to get rid of the chlorinated water sitting on your skin.
- relax in the sauna and steam room and take slow, controlled breaths - otherwise the heat will burn your nostrils and the humidity will put a bit of stress in your respiratory system respectively.
- don't just sit anywhere in the sauna: remember that the lower benches are generally not as hot as the higher ones.
- take note of the time! Don't sit in the sauna for more than 10-12 minutes at a time, unless you know very well what you're doing and been doing it for a long time. It's not a competition!!! In the steam room you can generally sit in for a bit longer, but still, listen to your body: if you're starting to feel lightheaded, it's time to get out!
- finish with a cold shower. This is key, as it will help close your open pores, cool down your body and decrease your elevated heart rate. It will also give an extra kick to your neuroendocrine and immune systems and will reduce muscle recovery time.
- lie down for a few minutes before you do anything else. You're probably feeling a bit tired by now, and your body is still warm, so give yourself some time to just relax and help your body settle into normal temperatures again!

And lastly, don't treat the spa as a...water park or the beach - it is meant for relaxation, so respect that it should be a fairly quiet place for everyone (cos, yeah, I witnessed that too).

I know guys, bit lengthy, but hopefully informative - kudos if you made it this far!!! So now, if you're a first timer like I was, you'll have an idea of what to expect and how to make everything work for you in the best possible way!

Sooo, have you been in a spa and what was your favourite thing to do/felt the most beneficial to your body? :) Do share!

What's your opinion?

  1. Ok I really envy and hate you!!!Just kidding!! I'm so happy you had a relaxing time at your trip and obviously you loved it so much to share with us!!And thanks so much for the wonderful tips!!Now I 'll know what to do when I'll go at a spa..and propably I'll be thinking of you too!!hahaha!!
    many kisses&hugs!!


  2. Oooh the hammam sounds so nice right now. I've been missing steaming these last 6 months. It's probably the first thing I'll do (spa-wise) once the baby comes!

    What a nice was probably the perfect place to end (or start) each day! x

  3. Hey Hun! Great post :) And WOW look at the facility! OMG I would love to hop into the jacuzzi with the view of the mountains!!
    I have a sauna room where I live in my condo building....and it's not a dry sauna, it's the wet hot steam one. I have been in dry saunas before and I know you said they are your favourite but I'm not a fan. Evgueni told me that in Europe almost everyone covers their head with a towel (or cap) while in the sauna and that helped me feel a little less faint even though I don't think I've ever stayed in a sauna for a full ten minutes even. I'm more of a massage kind of girl - I love love a good massage at a spa. You just walk out of there on clouds - it's not the same as a friend/your spouse giving you a massage, that is for sure LOL
    I haven't been given a chance to go into a heated exercise pool before and actually this is the first time I heard of them! The things I learn from blogging :) It sounds sooo cool! I would love it for the warm temperature and I'm probably just laze around in it. But the idea of exercising near a current is neat. I haven't taken any exercise class in a pool but I heard it's fantastic because it's not hard on the joints.

  4. I really enjoyed reading this post..!
    Very helpful!

    Δεν εχω επισκεφτει καποιο σπα μεχρι τωρα..
    Εχω μπει μονο σε σαουνα που ειχε το γυμναστηριο που πηγαινα..

    Οταν παω (γιατι θα παω σιγουρα!) θα ξαναδιαβασω το ποστ σου..

    Πολλα φιλια!

  5. Great post... now take meeee!! :)) xx

  6. That was good to know, I've never been in a spa before so now I know what to expect! I've never even been to a sauna room, somehow I don't feel very comfortable sweating together with other people... Although that massage session sounds nice and relaxing ;)

  7. loipon ekei pou les you weren't impressed by the spa, skeftomouna is she crazy??? fainetai poli oraio/katharo...hammam poli oraio. koimasai san poulaki meta.

    poli kali i idea sou.

    exo paei se spa sti notia gallia, alla distixos mou fanike ligo 'clinical' medical. itane kalo alla pistevo oti to spa prepei na einai kapos pio friendly kai welcoming se vibe (alla taftoxrona super katharo kai clinical on the inside). pantos kali protasi gia weekend away.

  8. Oooh... This looks great, I feel jealo. But tempurature in the 70s does sound a bit too hot and sweaty for comfort.
    The Hammam and the massage sounds great though. Mmm! :)

  9. @Blushingloves Irene Greece: LOL!!! :DDD Well, just performing my duties as a blogger, nothing more...! But it's nice when my readers think of me I guess... in the sauna or not, lmao!!! :DDDD Kisses darling! xxx

    @fantastic: I know you love a good steam bath...! Are there good enough places there near where you live? Cos the only in-town spa here has a white marble steam room, feels...less cozy than I'd like (omg, nth like the huge hammam rooms, I've only seen these in movies)!!!
    The spa treatments are best left for the end of the day for me... all the stress and fatigue from the daily activities go away just like that!!! ;) xxx

    @Karen Law: Well, I'm sure we all have our preferences, but the dry sauna was unlike any other experience for me, you sweat like crazy and you could actually feel it work!!! Cathartic experience for sure, not just physically, but mentally as well! And I totally second the proffessional massage, it surely makes you convince your partner to go take lessons, at least that's what I did, hehehe (still convincing him tho)!!! I need to check on Evgueni's method, havent heard of that before!!! Thanks doll! ;) xxx

    @Artemi: Thank you Artemaki mou!!! Σου ευχομαι παντως να πας συντομα!!! ;) Φιλιααααα!!!! xxx

  10. @Tali: Omg, we need to plan this eventually! No boys aloud either, lol! xx

    @cbsg5861: Thank you girl! Somehow the sauna does sound a bit intimidating indeed, but it's actually a great conversation place as it turns out, as weird as that may seem...! Lol! Perhaps it's just sth for two to try together at first! xxx

    @λειντι ντι: Omg, nooooo, that was only for the jacuzzi, hehe!!! I'd almost kill for a repeat weekend for sure!!!
    Συμφωνω με την αποψη σου... ολα λευκα κ inox κλπ κλπ, πολυ νοσοκομειο φαση, οχι ευχαριστω δεν θα παρω ουτε εγω! Το ξυλο κι η πετρα ειναι αλλη φαση (αν κ μαλλον στην συγκεκριμενη περιπτωση το επελεξαν για να ταιριαζει με το τοπιο...)! xxx

    @su-pah: Well, that may be an estimate, but it was sure very hot to the point where you had to control your breathing, otherwise your nostrils would feel like on fire!!! But that's the idea, that comfort comes with/after sweating, I think that's the whole philosophy...! Hope you're doing well girl, we haven't spoken in a while! xxx

  11. Well, the spa I normally go to has one that i used to use a few times a week...I joined for the steam room specifically! But apparently I'm not supposed to spend time in them right now..maybe the idea that I could heat internally too much? Not sure, but I miss it :(

  12. @fantastic: Well, it wouldnt be wise to heat up your body that much, I think it would put a lot of stress on your body at the moment plus I believe your heart rate would go crazy!!! So, pretty soon then missy, patience, lol! ;) xxx

  13. I need to go to a spa STAT!

    or maybe i'll start with regular sauna, didn't know sauna is that beneficial! i've always done it just for relaxation, but now i know that it's beneficial, i'll keep on doing it.


  14. @SmolderPhloof: Oh, it's definitely very beneficial, I'd would be there every other day if that was a possibility!!! ;) x


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