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How to beat those Winter Blues

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As the summer months retire, cooler weather and shorter days can blow in those winter blues.

To enhance moods and wellbeing during the colder months,  Kohler Waters Spa at the Old Course Hotel in Scotland has launched a range of bathing treatments designed to increase mood and boost energy levels.

Research consistently demonstrates that hydrotherapy has a significant impact on mood enhancement by releasing elevated levels of endorphins, the body’s natural anxiety and stress busters. The use of therapeutic bathing also promotes a deep meditative state.

Guests at Kohler Waters Spa can achieve this heightened state of wellbeing through a range of inimitable Kohler bathing experiences employing marine-based ingredients, such as seaweed, that treat skin conditions and relieve muscle aches and stiffness, therefore improving overall state of mind.

Treatments include a relaxing, 90-minute Soak Overflowing Bath, which involves floating in a continually over-flowing bath tub filled with seaweed. The heat from the bath aids the body’s natural detoxifying process whilst the mineral rich Voya seaweed, harvested off the coast of Ireland, relieves muscle aches and joint stiffness, including rheumatism and arthritis.

The spa’s signature treatment, Lavender Rain involves warm rain pours down from the Kohler Custom Vichy shower whilst guests are treated to a nourishing body scrub using fresh lavender, marine salt crystals and eucalyptus. Lavender also works as a natural mood booster by relieving stress and helping achieve a good night’s sleep.

Guests can also make use of Kohler Waters Spa’s extensive hydrotherapy facilities including the invigorating cold plunge pool, the heated hydrotherapy pool providing therapeutic bathing and the refreshing ice fountain. There is also a steam room for deep muscular relaxation and detoxification, a Finnish sauna and a rooftop garden with hot tub.

Situated just metres away from West Sands Beach with commanding views of the Scottish coastline, the Old Course Hotel is situated in an idyllic location from which to enjoy some mind-calming walks in the fresh sea air, another natural mood enhancer. The Fife coastal path takes in 135 kilometres of stunning coastline, or guests can simply enjoy a gentle stroll along West Sands Beach. The hotel also has a fleet of bikes for hire, complete with chunky tyres ideal for a ride on the beach or the coastal path.

The Kohler Waters Spa at the Old Course Hotel is the first Kohler spa experience outside the USA. With a focus on the therapeutic benefits of water, Kohler Waters Spa offers replenishing experiences that re-create the healing properties of Earth’s natural mineral-rich waters.

For further information on the Kohler Waters Spa at the Old Course Hotel please visit www.oldcoursehotel.co.uk/spa/kohler-waters-spa or call 01334 474 371.

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Mountains bring a breath of fresh air for asthma sufferers

 

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With around 5 million people in the UK suffering from asthma and a startling rising death rate of 20 per cent in five years, cures and relief therapies are vital, especially after the 2018 summer with its heatwave, hay fever and high pollen counts.

Air pollution causes the inside of lungs to become inflamed which makes it difficult for those with asthma to breathe.  Less pollution means less inflammation making breathing easier.

Zero pollution, clean air, low levels of humidity and natural breath-taking scenery are the ideal environmental conditions for asthma suffers. And these vital statistics can be found in mountain terrains such as the Southern French Alps which offers 12,000-km² of pollution-free purity. The air in the Southern French Alps has more benefits than other Alpine areas due to its unique low humidity and lack of heavy industry and benefits from 300 days of sunshine per year, topping up vital Vitamin D.

There have also been multiple studies over the years into the effectiveness of high altitude treatment for  those suffering with lung diseases.  High altitudes allow for clearer air and are mostly free from bugs such as dust mites which can cause asthma symptoms to worsen.

High-altitude treatment for asthma sufferers is not a new concept. People with lung diseases have been sent to the mountains as treatment for over a century.

 

For information on mountain escapes ideal for asthma sufferers, www.undiscoveredmountains.com

 

 

A-list treatments at the Kenshō Psarou Spa

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Beach treatments, a yacht menu or a Quartz Sand Bed, the new kid in town is the Psarou Beach Spa in Mykonos, offering spa indulgences powered by French luxury skincare brand CODAGE.

First up is one of their signature treatments, the Kenshō Travel Detox Indulgence Treatment – a 60 minute facial treatment, combined with a leg, back and neck massage – a welcome therapy after a long flight.

The Kenshō ‘Psammo’ spa experience is a unique practice which relies on the power of the Beach Spa’s patented Quartz Sand Bed. Here the warm sand helps to alleviate pain and promote comfort.

Head over to the high-tech spa corner for futuristic treatments used by the world’s elite. The Déesse Pro LED Mask uses a total of 770 LED lights to expose the skin to five clinically proven wavelengths of light, stimulating natural responses that lead to skin-rejuvenation and generating the healthiest glow possible.

There are two further menus. These include a custom menu for beach treatments where guests pitch up on Psarou Beach and have personal therapists deliver relaxing head, hand, foot and neck massages just metres from the sea. Or, for those arriving at the hotel by yacht, a decadent yacht menu offers signature treatments onboard.

The Spa Verandah serves a  specially crafted menu that includes detoxing drinks and bites and a Water Pod Experience – their pinnacle of luxury spa options.

https://www.kenshomykonos.com/kensho-psarou/

Are you a snorer or snuggler? Learn the tricks for a better night’s sleep at Somnex

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From yoga and meditation classes to napping workshops, private sleep consultations and talks from leading sleep experts, the first dedicated sleep show, SOMNEX, is on hand to help even the most troubled sleepers learn how to get a better night’s rest.

People spend an average of about one-third of their life sleeping which is essential for growth, development and psychological processing. The quality and quantity of sleep we receive impacts on our health, relationships and work. Yet, according to the UK Sleep Council the problem of poor sleep is one many of us struggle with.

Sleep Advisor at the Sleep Council, Lisa Artis, will be sharing some of her knowledge, hints and tips at SOMNEX. “Findings from a recent survey show that over 30% of the UK population suffer from poor sleep most nights. Our aim is to help the public get a better understanding of how they can improve their sleep and that’s why we will be presenting seminars and workshops at the show on life hacks designed to improve sleep.”

SOMNEX will offer practical advice on how to get a better night’s sleep so visitors can walk away from the show better equipped to help themselves and their families.

A dedicated parenting stage will feature seminars on the importance of sleep for children and how to help babies, toddlers and teens. The link between sleep and fitness & performance on the sports field as well as in the workplace will also be explored, with talks from leading specialists including those from the elite sporting world and multinational corporations.

Visitors can look forward to picking up sleep tips and guidance on all aspects of sleep, from how to reduce snoring to creating the perfect bedroom and bedtime routine. Those with more serious sleep issues can head to the sleep conditions stage where problems such as sleep apnoea and insomnia will be addressed. Visitors can also pre-book one-to-one private consultations with expert sleep practitioners to get individual, tailored advice.

A full schedule of classes will be on offer throughout SOMNEX including yoga, meditation, mindfulness, sound bath, napping and active dreaming. Treatment & therapy workshps and a spa & beauty bar will also be on hand for visitors to test out innovate products and treatments, from specialist massage to skincare solutions, designed to help get that all-important beauty sleep.

SOMNEX will feature more than 120 companies displaying their innovative products and technology, many of which will be on show at the Demo Zone. Visitors can try and buy these products, which range from bracelets that monitor sleep patterns, temperature-controlled beds, a sleep robot and even devices to stop partners hogging the bedsheets!

Sleep plays a crucial part in today’s busy world and without it we run the risk of suffering long term health problems.

SOMNEX tickets are £15 per person. For more information and to book visit www.somnexshow.com*On Friday 12th October SOMNEX is reserved for trade, corporate and press attendees only. On Saturday 13th & Sunday 14th October all are welcome.

 

An Expert’s View into Insomnia

 

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Insomnia

Having a good night’s sleep is dependent on our own individual sleep architecture but the amount and quality of our sleep is affected by a host of internal and external factors.

The Healthcare Holiday interviewed Insomnia Expert & Sleep Consultant Birgit Buenger

Is Insomnia a growing malaise?

Sleeplessness has been declared an epidemic and an unmet health problem. Based on a representative survey in the US between 1993 and 2007, the number of help seekers complaining of sleep issues was close to double. Over that same period, insomnia diagnosis increased more than 7-fold. These numbers are a good indicator to the scale of growth we are facing.

Sleeplessness can occur at any age, especially affecting women and adults from 65 years old Interestingly, those aged 18 to 44 and 45 to 64 seem to be the main groups stating sleeplessness as a health problem or who receive an insomnia diagnosis.

What are the major causes of Insomnia today?

The factors playing into Insomnia are more varied than we realise. These include:

  • Personality traits
  • Stress levels
  • Sleep environment
  • Behaviour
  • Health
  • Nutrition
  • Medication & supplements
  • Stimulants

Which specific lifestyles are more liable to Insomnia?

Age related natural changes which include menopause, lighter sleep patterns, health issues and increased medication

Those exposed to the “24/7″ society life are prone to psychosocial stress, an unbalanced diet, eating on the go, lack of physical activity and an excessive use of electronics

Lifestyle factors, namely smoking, drinking, weight, mental health, consistent late nights and sleeping with stress

Personal and socio-demographic factors such as income, family & financial concerns

Workplace factors which include shift work and change of time zones

What about “power napping” during the day?

Those with a healthy sleep architecture will benefit, others may suffer as it can confuse the natural sleep pattern.  A power nap should be a maximum of 20 minutes

How much sleep is enough?

To define how much sleep is enough it is important to determine daytime functioning and sleep quality. Four weeks assessment will help to get an understanding of how much sleep is needed and if corrections in the process are required.

However, ideally it is between 7 and 9 hours but this depends of an individual’s sleep architecture. There are tests which evaluate what “ideal” means to them.

Two useful resources can help:

The Stanford Sleepiness Scale helps to define day time functioning https://web.stanford.edu/~dement/sss.html to capture every day.

The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) will help analysing sleep – a GP will assist reading the results

http://uacc.arizona.edu/sites/default/files/psqi_sleep_questionnaire_1_pg.pdf

Can you sleep too much?

Yes. You tend to know if you have exceeded your limit if you feel groggy or suffer with a headache.

About Birgit Buenger

Birgit has made it her mission to change the way Insomnia is addressed through the healthcare system, medical professionals, corporations and individuals.  She has spent years working her way out of chronic insomnia and into a place of knowledge and actionable steps.

She will be speaking at Somnex, a Sleep Exhibition in London in October, addressing medical professionals as well as the public.

SOMNEX | The Sleep Showis taking place at The Old Truman Brewery in London from 12th – 14th October 2018. For further information please visit https://www.somnexshow.com/

 

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Holistic Hong Kong at the Four Seasons Hotels

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In sync with the changing world of wellness, the Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong is has launched its own Well Feeling initiative. Recognizing that the guests of today are increasingly mindful of their mental and physical wellbeing, the Hotel is taking a new approach to the guest journey, offering wellness options that holistically integrate into all phases of a stay to achieve a more nutritious, physically stronger and mentally fit lifestyle.

There was a time in hotels where wellness was something found on a massage table or treadmill. Healthy eating was relegated to a few items on a menu with vague definitions of nutrition. The traveller of today, however, is well informed and open to new experiences, making more deliberate choices in search of a healthy, balanced life.  Four Seasons recognizes the unique needs of these guests and aims to provide them with tools and expertise to achieve total wellbeing.

Well Feeling Menus: Working with the respected Nutritionist and Functional Medicine specialist Miles Price of the Life Clinic in Hong Kong, Executive Chef Andrea Accordi is helping guests to go beyond granola and rethink their definition of healthy food. Guests can follow the green leaves on all restaurant menus to easily discover tasty new creations and old favourites, nutritionist approved. From Roasted Organic Welsh Rack of Lamb to authentic Thai Blue Prawn Curry, hungry guests are spoiled for healthy choices. For guests who wish to go deeper, detailed information on key vitamins, minerals and phyto nutrients for each Well Feeling dish is also available. Well Feeling options can also be found in the Hotel’s Michelin-starred Lung King Heen and Caprice.

Mindfulness: Guests can find peace of mind anytime with a variety of mindfulness practices. The Spa helps guests to meditate at their own pace using iPad’s loaded with meditation apps and noise cancelling headphones. For those who would like to extend their mindfulness practice to a community setting, monthly Full Moon mediations led by Director of Spa Shoshana Weinberg have become a popular gathering for likeminded wellness seekers. Those who wish can tap into the creative side of mindfulness can with art therapy- adult colouring pages available to enjoy throughout the Spa or to take back to the room.

Masters of Wellness: Guests at all phases of their personal wellness journeys will have the opportunity to explore new frontiers of wellbeing with the Masters of Wellness series- a selection of visiting experts practicing a range of specialties from reiki to yoga, all curated by Director of Spa, Shoshana Weinberg.

Fit Life: In addition to the world-class gym with panoramic Harbour views and two full sized outdoor pools open year round, the Hotel helps guests to explore new fitness territories. Every weekend by the Pool, guests can explore the yin and yang balancing art of tai chi with Master Angela. For those seeking a higher-octane workout, Four Seasons has collaborated with local fitness experts Joint Dynamics to offer a new Circuit Training class.

www.fourseasons.com/hongkong


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360º Wellness Experience

 

Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort - Spa Womens PoolWellness reaches greater heights at the Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar  in Oman which brings the mountain to the Mind & Body.  This resort provides the earthy setting for guests to harness nature’s healing powers and an holistic approach to health.

More than one-sided wellness, the Al Hajar Mountain Range provide a natural and rugged backdrop, heightening the effect of yoga practice. The freedom and  space exuded from the canyon below, the unpolluted mountain air and the restorative powers of nature combine their powers collectively to realign chakras.

The resort’s Three Village Hike leads guests on a high altitude journey, stepping through mountain history, spotting fossilised coral, and looking out to terraced farmland, early falaj irrigation systems and even a working rose distillery. The mental effects will clear the mind and physically will energise the body,

Located on the very mountain that the hotel sits on, various creative activities challenges guests who want to push their boundaries. This exhilarating approach to health involves various climbing routes, including a Via Ferrata steel cable and abseiling down a sheer ledge.

Wellness at the Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar  in Oman  fuses mind, body and mountain into one and two-day packages.

Visit http://jabal-akhdar.anantara.com/

Conrad Algarve Tailors Wellness Programmes

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This September Conrad Algarve is offering its guests personal fitness journeys with its seven new spa and fitness programmes using a holistic and innovative approach to help develop new lifestyle habits

Whether individuals are looking to improve their mind and body balance, prevent future illnesses or enhance sporting limits, the programmes, which last between two and seven nights, will enable guests to do this whilst maintaining performance at a high level, strengthening physical energy and preserving their mental edge.

Programmes include a 2 night Relax & Pamper, a  5-night Yoga Retreatwhich includes two workshops teaching the art of mindfulness. Three to seven night programmes include De-Stresswhich indulges in pure relaxation, Detoxwith the assistance of nutritional consultants and reflexology. With the aim to enhance fitness levels to new levels of endurance, the Bootcampprogramme is designed around 5-7 nights while the Weight-Lossis offered on a 7 -night stay. Alternatively, guests can have a tailor made programme to suit their individual wellness needs.

The Conrad Algarve is built in the style of an 18th Century Portuguese palace, with 154 guest rooms spread over six floors.
www.conradhotels.com/algarve

 

Virgin Voyages Prescribes ‘Vitamin Sea’ Experiences

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Virgin Voyages has revealed plans of its new ship’s transformational and rejuvenating well-being experiences for its sailors on board The Scarlet Lady.

Its ‘Vitamin Sea’ ideology has been inspired by the oceans and their importance in the health and well-being for our planet and our daily lives. The approach also places healthy travel at the forefront of the delivery of its ‘Adult by Design’ experience for the 18+ sailor.

The ship has been designed with ample outdoor and outward-looking spaces to include The Crow’s Nest sundeck for sunrise and sunset yoga, a Virgin signature running track and an Athletic Club complete with a boxing ring, gymnastics equipment. There are cabanas for relaxation, a well-being pool and Gym and Tonic bar. The B-Complex features the ultimate well-being and fitness experience with strength, spin, yoga and cardio in its Build, Burn, Bike and Balance rooms, all with dramatic ocean views.

Inspired by an underwater cave, Redemption, the well-being Spa, will serve as a mermaid and merman hideaway complete with hydrotherapy pool, mud room, salt room, cold plunge pools, quartz beds, and rejuvenating spa treatments.

‘Vitamin Sea’ is intertwined throughout the ship with a wide variety of planned complimentary group fitness classes on board. The concept is also about being pampered and well-groomed. The Scarlet Lady will offer a menu of personal treatments in different spaces across the ship, from a standalone blow dry bar called the Dry Dock salon, the Stubble & Groom barbershop with a male pedicure spa overlooking a porthole ocean view and a mani- pedi spa.

More details on the new travel brand’s onboard features and experiences will be revealed throughout the year, with its first voyages expected to go on sale by the end of 2018.

Keep up to date with developments at www.virginvoyages.com

River Cruising to Health

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A flute of sparkling wine or a glass of healing gemstone water, circuit training, yoga flow or afternoon tea? Tricky decisions. A fast-paced Vienna walking tour, a castle hill hike in Passau, an 18-mile bike tour to Durnstein, a gentle evening stroll with wine tasting in Krems or a Vilshofen Organ Concert & Beer Underworld Tour. These were the choices I faced on my first wellness river cruise through Germany and Austria on the AmaSonata, one of 19 ships belonging to AmaWaterways.

Wellness is the new wave in river cruising and floated into creative itineraries with a dedicated wellness host at the helm. The preconception of a sedate meander along the river has long passed by and washed ashore. Today, this trendy mode of holidaying involves daily visits to interesting places and cities interspersed with optional wellness activities onboard and indulging in fine wines and gourmet cuisine.

A Fortress Hike in Durnstein, a bike ride along the Danube, a resistance band or Zumba class. Active or gentle, competitive or a complete beginner, from early morning stretch, posture workout, to laps around the jogging track, activities have been designed for all age groups and fitness levels. If classes don’t appeal, there’s a gym, compact as it may be, Nordic sticks for hiking trails ashore, walking tours at paces to suit, a spa offering a handful of massage treatments and lectures on lifestyle wellness. But it was cycling that won the popular vote. Many of my fellow sailors chose rides along the Danube’s river paths,  the more adventurous cycling the cobbled streets and  narrow passageways on guided city tours while the longer rides haloed the fittest amongst us.

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Ashore, it was culture in abundance. History echoed through stone passageways, etched on walls, recalled in painful truths and humbling stories, crafted in statues, exposed in Baroque and Gothic architecture, shrouded in monasteries and celebrated in jaw-dropping cathedrals. Our route along the Danube cruised from Nuremberg to Vienna, each port of call having a narrative to tell. The Nuremberg trials and Courtroom, the countless listed buildings and commemorative stumbling stones in Regensburg, the world’s largest pipe organ in Passau’s St. Stephens Cathedral and Richard The Lionheart’s imprisonment in Durnstein.  We visited Mondsee, famous for its appearance in The Sound of Music, Linz, the UNESCO city of media arts, the awe-inspiring Benedictine Abbey in Melk ending in Vienna, the capital, personified by the Blue Danube waltz, gilded palaces and gold statue of Strauss, its state opera, rich chocolate Sachertorte, The Spanish Riding School and St. Stephens Cathedral cradled in its centre.

Quietening the mind is an easy pastime on a ship which glides along calm waters bordered by lush green river banks  – silent, still and serene. Relaxing on the sundeck, roads track us from the side, trains play hide and seek as they hiss between trees and hills, speed boats whizz pass and barges lug past dragging  their heavy cargo.  Pressures of everyday life drift downstream.

The scenery from a river cruise is just as one imagines and vibrant in sunlight.  Paths zig-zagging across the mountainside, boats moored onto private jetties, villages centred by steepled churches and families waving as they share picnics and homemade lemonade.

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The commentary along the Danube adds a historical date or two, dotted with colourful myths and fables. We see castles still standing, reminding us of Rapunzel-like fairy tales while others lie in ruins. Terraced grooves folded into the landscape define the Wachau Valley wine region complemented with a climate ripe for harvesting  apricots. The secluded inlets carved into the riverbed provide sanctuary for wildlife from river traffic while the locks and low bridges offer a different dimension to our voyage.

Dining is another attractive pursuit offering a good variety of fine dining menus for lunch and dinner with a guide to healthier options. Local and regional dishes are integrated into daily choices with some themed events to add a little theatre to the experience. The Chef’s Table boutique restaurant offers a taster menu, all complemented with wine recommendations. The waiters, as with most of the crew are eager to serve, some with distinguishable personalities, all with an appetite for high standards.  Post dinner, the entertainment takes to the floor with renditions from a West End singer, melodies on the piano, costumed operatta  and jiving into the early hours, offering music for all palettes.

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On board, the atmosphere is convivial and with 160 passengers it’s easy to forge friendships in a short time. Conversation centres around cultural experiences ashore while wellness activities draw individuals together, motivating and sharing achievements. Dotted with miniature orange trees and table orchids, the AmaSonata is tastefully decorated and contemporary in style.

Before disembarking, we are informed of the launch next year of the AmaMagna, a revolutionary new style double-width river ship, with a Zen Wellness Studio and water sports platform. So, with more wellness activities, more choices,  I decide to be better prepared for my next wellness cruise as I enjoy a farewell glass of healing gemstone water.

For more information about AmaWaterways or to book go to www.amawaterways.co.uk, call tel: 0800 320 2335 or visit your local travel agent.

About AmaWaterways:

Family-owned, AmaWaterways is headquartered in, California with offices in Switzerland and the U.K. It provides river cruise holidays on 19 ships, sailing along the waterways of Europe, Africa and Southeast Asia.

Next year the company will launch three ships. The AmaMora, will offer a choice of itineraries on the Rhine, while the smaller, more intimate AmaDouro makes her debut on Portugal and Spain’s Douro River.The revolutionary AmaMagna will also enter service in May 2019. She will offer an unprecedented range of facilities including a choice of restaurants, Zen Wellness Studio and water sports platform as well as offering far more personal space than traditional river cruise ships.

From  Summer 2019, the Wellness Programme will be offered across the European fleet (excluding Douro).

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