Spas are usually oases of peace and calm.
So, taking a break from a stressful environment or daily routines, by going for a vacation or spa retreat, helps to keep our stress level in check, said Ms Mah Siew Chung, a psychologist at the collaborative care department of the clinical services division at National Healthcare Group Polyclinics.
"Massages or facials are activities that can relieve tiredness and muscle tension from stress, and enhance feelings of calmness and tranquillity as well as relaxation."
If you want to sign up for a spa retreat these days, you do not have to go far to pamper yourself.
If you have ample cash to spare, Espa at Resorts World Sentosa - a luxury spa spread across 10,000 sq m of land - offers retreats ranging from a night's stay to a week.
There are, for instance, four types of one- to three-night lifestyle retreats.
But 60 per cent of customers choose the de-stress retreat, said Ms Tomoka Nguyen, director of Espa at Resorts World Sentosa.
Their stress can be traced to a variety of reasons, such as overwork, poor diet and a lack of sleep or exercise.
LET YOUR CARES FLOAT AWAY
The key ingredients in each retreat is a daily one-hour body massage or hamman treatment and a daily 45-minute treatment, such as a foot massage; three meals a day and accommodation at RWS.
All spa guests at Espa have free use of its spa facilities, such as a sauna with a full-height window that looks out at greenery, outdoor heated and cold pools and Japanese-style onsen pools.
You can also work out at the gym, chill out at the tea lounge or the relaxation lounge, as well as attend the class of the day, which could be qigong, yoga or pilates, or meditation held on Sundays.
The spa does recommend that you arrive an hour early to enjoy its facilities. And it is not just about getting your money's worth.
"If you use the heated facilities before a facial or a massage, it will help you to relax better and enjoy the treatment more," said Ms Nguyen.
To extend your state of relaxation, try Espa's Sleep Zone, where 18 sleep pods await. Plug into your favourite music, take your post-treatment nap and wake up refreshed.
However, all these facilities will not do you good if you are not in the right frame of mind to get away.
Ms Mah said: "Besides physically getting away from a stressful environment, we have to maintain a 'mental boundary' from stressors when we are out of that environment."
If you find it difficult to enjoy a massage or a facial or any type of self-care activity because you cannot keep your problems at bay, Ms Mah has this tip for you.
"When you direct your attention to a single point of focus, such as the scene of a quiet stream, clouds in the sky or your breath, while your masseuse or beautician works on your body or skin, you may further enhance the positive experience of these activities."
One thing you should not do during your time or day off is to ruminate about your problems, she said.
Prices for the lifestyle retreats at Espa start from $1,111 a night for a double room at Equarius Hotel, to $4,608 for three nights in a double bedroom beach villa.
This article was first published on Dec 25, 2014.
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