Mud anyone? By Sara Niven
15th Nov 2018
Counsellor and beauty editor Sara Niven gets childish at SenSpa...
November isn’t one of my favourite months – is it anyone’s? After the fun of fireworks, the dropping temperatures and dark afternoons make hibernating seem a good option. Of course, there’s Christmas just around the corner to look forward to but without wanting to sound like Scrooge that tends to involve a certain amount of stress and pressure for adults. Sometimes you just want to feel like a child again; to not be weighed down by responsibilities or worries. Sometimes that may not be such a bad thing. In the words of George Bernard Shaw, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”
Plastering yourself in mud and hurling it at someone else certainly counts as play in my book and is exactly what I found myself engaged in on a recent visit to SenSpa. Generally this is somewhere that represents an oasis of calm but the beauty of their Rhassoul treatment is that it is held in a private room. You can make the experience your own, be that sedately sensual or positively puerile.
It all began very professionally. Our therapist showed us bowls set out with black liquid soap for cleansing, the special mineral rich mud itself which has numerous benefits for both skin and hair and a block of intensively moisturising shea butter. We were advised on the proper sequence of applying these which corresponds with coloured lights in the Rhassoul ‘chamber.’ Yet somehow five minutes into the treatment that fell by the wayside as my companion aimed a large handful of mud at me and I retaliated. There was the same silly sense of exhilaration I used to experience as a child engrossed in building a snowman or drenching someone with a well-aimed water pistol.
Far from wasting our treatment time, this had its own benefits as Consultant Clinical Psychologist Dr Rachel Andrew explains. She points out that play is helpful for children’s social, emotional, linguistic and cognitive development and believes it shouldn’t completely stop as we mature.
“When we think about all the benefits it seems ridiculous that play doesn’t feature more in adult life. It can still offer opportunities for us to learn about ourselves, others and the world, to challenge how we normally see ourselves and how we relate to others. When I see adults who feel low in mood and anxious, they often describe lives that are increasingly filled with responsibility and expectation, ‘What ifs’ and “Shoulds.”
“Fun and play can offer temporary space without this and however we want to do it, we can make a choice to regularly feature it in our lives. It can be helpful for us to observe children playing and to remember or in some cases, to learn anew, a sense of enjoyment and freedom in the moment – before we go back to thinking about our next task.”
In the decade or more that I’ve been visiting SenSpa, it has always represented a haven rather than a playground. And generally, I’d see mudslinging as something best avoided. But in this case combining the two was a timely reminder not to always take life quite so seriously.
Experience the Rhassoul Mud Treatment for yourself that combines the healing effects of steam with detoxifying Rhassoul clay this Winter.
“The only thing missing from this otherwise authentic experience, is the jet lag”.
Sunday Times Travel
The SenSpa Health Club has become a second home to me! The staff are really friendly and I particularly enjoy the PT sessions - the social activities make it feel more like a club than a gym!"
"Greeted with a friendly 'sawadeeka', snug white robe, slippers and a cup of hot Thai green tea, SenSpa guests are treated to an impressive two-floor hydrotherapy haven."
"Why fly to Thailand? Lose the spa miles and go to the New Forest instead. The authentic Thai influence sets SenSpa apart from other spas."
The Good Spa Guide
"We are B-I-G fans of SenSpa‘s bodycare and haircare: unbelievably good value, and performance that rivals products 5, 6, sometimes 10 times the price.".
The Beauty Bible
“The spa seems to have done wonders for my skin, which now feels fresh and super soft”.
National Geographic Traveller
“The award-winning Thai spa is the highlight, featuring what I've found to be the widest range of spa experiences in Hampshire”.