By Chere Di Boscio
Anything with the prefix DE in it just seems to imply effort. For example? It’s easy to make a false statement, but much harder to debunk it. Humidifying a room is a breeze – just take a shower. But de-humidifying? Not so much. And getting all full of toxins is simple – just stand in the centre of London and breathe. But detoxing? Ugh! That involves learning what to eat and drink, concocting some kind of body wrap or preparing a bath a certain way. With my energy levels falling as low as London’s temperatures, my willingness to make an effort to do anything beyond flipping channels or slipping under the duvet in January is around zero.
When the winter mehs kick in, I just want everything to be easy. I want things to be done for me. And I knew from the moment I stepped into the Mandarin Oriental spa in Knightsbridge, London, they would be.
My heavy winter boots were swiftly plucked from my feet and replaced with spa slippers. I was given a cup of chamomile lavender tea then was shown to my therapist, Sheila, who laid me down on a heated spa table and proceeded to explain the various ways she was going to detoxify my bod.
First, she would scrub away the dead skin cells that gave me a pallor that suggested I was made of clay. After rinsing me off, she was going to wrap me in strips of seaweed and massage me with organic oils that would, like the seaweed, penetrate my skin through to my bloodstream and start cleansing me from inside out. Finally, she would lead me to the hammam, Jacuzzi and showers in the spa, where every last toxin would be sweated out, before I l moved on to the finale: a scrumptiously detoxifying lunch.
The scrub was perfumed with natural lime and lavender oils, and felt gentler and oilier than I had expected, and once Sheila wiped it off, my skin was already baby soft. But more was yet to come: she wrapped my arms, legs and chest in thick strips of Voya seaweed – kelp, to be exact – which were far broader and thicker and smelled far less ‘seaweedy’ than you’d think. Then, I was tucked into a warming cocoon of towels and blankets and was sent into a deep state of relaxation whilst Sheila massaged my feet and applied a bit of reflexology.
After what seemed like 5 minutes but was actually closer to half an hour, I emerged from my wrap to take a hot shower and returned to the massage table once again for a heavenly full body massage with the same citrusy scented oil used for the exfoliation. Sheila encouraged me to use the hammam afterwards so the organic Aromatherapy Associates oils she used on my skin could truly sink in.
She also sent me off with a goody bag of relaxing doodles to colour in, fresh thyme, turmeric, ginger and rosemary to make teas with, a phone case with tips on how to do a ‘tech detox’, and even my seaweed wrap – throwing this into a bath for up to three soaks continues the detoxing effects.
I realised I had been in the therapy room for over two hours, and actually, I was starving. Luckily, snacks of fruit, tea and home made flapjacks were scattered throughout the relaxation area, but that wasn’t enough to really fill me up. I headed to the fitness area, where personal trainer and nutritionist Ruben Tabares put a detox menu together. I selected the vegan club sandwich, packed with avocado, pickles, sundried tomatoes, rocket and other veggies, as well as a green tea.
My experience here was impressive and thorough – I stayed at the Mandarin Oriental for five full hours, enjoying my treatment, the facilities and lunch, making this a thorough day spa experience. But the hotel has much more in mind for its clients: after extensive renovations are finished in late 2017, the Mandarin will offer not only everything I enjoyed, but full nutritional counselling, high tech gym complete with heated pool, Chinese and alternative medical consultants, a hair and beauty salon, diet plans and food delivered to your door by the Organic Delivery Company. In short, with products like Sodashi Organic, Voya, Organic Pharmacy, Aromatherapy Associates and more, the Mandarin Oriental is on a fast track to be a one stop shop for organic and holistic pampering.
Can’t make it to the Mandarin Oriental? Get a taste of their spa experience at home
Exfoliate Your Winter Skin: The Mandarin uses Voya scrub, but there are plenty of other natural brands you can try at home, like Natio or Ren. Or, just brush your body with a hard body brush, from the feet up – this helps stimulate lymph glands, too.
At Home Wrap: The Voya products used at the Mandarin Oriental spa are 100% natural and can be used more than once until their effects are diminished. Just add the rolls of wrapping kelp to your bath – there’s no need to wrap yourself up like a mummy – but the detoxing results will be the same.
Tech Detox: The Mandarin insists that a digital detox be part of your experience with them. There’s no wifi in the spa, and that’s a good thing. Why? It’s a fact that in modern society, most people actually show signs of withdrawal when they accidentally left their phones behind, or when they don’t have wifi. Feeling agitated, upset, distracted, and incredibly stressed out about the lack of connectivity in such situations is a sign of phone addiction. No wonder we get addicted — when we hear the ding of a text message or new email, we think that there’s a possibility that something great could happen, which leads to a hit of dopamine being released to your it’s basically a Pavlovian conditioning system.
Some apps, like Moment, can help. Moment tracks how much time you’ve spent on your phone, and it also lets you set a self-imposed limit for how much time you want to be spending. It’ll then send you little updates when you get close to that time limit, and gives you little nudges if you’re spending more than 15 minutes in one sitting looking at your phone.
Other tips for phone detoxing include:
- Turning off all notifications so you’re less tempted to check your phone
- Deleting social media apps from your phone, and checking them on your laptop only. Or if that’s too extreme for you, then sign out of each app after you’ve used it – that way, you can’t just mindlessly open them up and scroll through whenever you have a free minute.
- Unsubscribe to all emails. Visit Unroll.me to unsubscribe – but in order to do so from more than 5 sites, you will have to share something about unroll.me on Facebook
- Never take your phone out of your bag when you’re meeting friends for any social situation; in class; or in a work meeting.
- Ditch your phone and all electronics an hour or longer before bedtime. This will help your brain prepare for sleep, and just chill out in general.
- Remember that texting and driving kills. In fact, it kills more teenagers than drunk driving does. Never use your phone in the car.
Following these tips has many benefits. You’ll not only sleep better and feel more focused, but you’ll avoid exposing yourself to so much electromagnetic radiation (yes, cell phones DO cause cancer if not used correctly or if overused).
Make Your Own Tea: Tea bags are full of chlorinated paper and often contain basically what’s left over after prime tea leaves and herbs have been used in other products. Making your own tea is easy, and you can count on the ingredients being fresher and healthier! Get some great recipes here.
Slather Yourself in Oil: The Mandarin Oriental spa uses Aromatherapy Associates, which is not only 100% organic, but uses the power of aromatherapy oils to soften your skin, infuse it with nutrients, and change your body’s energies: it can revitalise and energise, calm and relax, or instill positive thoughts.