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Welcome to Day Spa Oracle blog for wellbeing and beauty tips

I’m Katrina from ikatan Spa in Noosa, a relaxation oasis that’s waiting for you. Until then, subscribe to our newsletter for regular self-care inspiration.

12 Things Everyone Should Know About Day Spas

dAfter visiting day spas all over the world, I constantly see things which aren’t helpful in welcoming and attracting guests. Your day spa booking and visit should be the most relaxing experience in the world but often it feels far too hard.

Trying to understand a day spa menu, working out what to wear and deciding which treatment you’ll enjoy can be frustrating.

This guide is aimed at helping you understand the protocol so you have a better day spa experience.

1. What is a day spa?

Just the word ‘spa’ can be confusing because some beauty salons, and even dentists, call themselves spas.

Traditionally, the term spa means ‘partaking of waters’ and came from ancient Roman times, when people didn’t have their own bathroom so went to communal bathing houses. The communal baths, or spas, were enjoyed by men and women with attendants on hand to care for body, hair and wellbeing. Part of the ancient experience was to enjoy the social side of coming together to relax and be cared for.

The spa was, and still is, a place where others care for you at your leisure. They’re the ideal place to practice selfcare or book a day spa retreat for a mini wellcation. Although the words ‘day spa’ suggest that there should be a spa bath, not all day spas have baths. However, all day spas should focus on caring for your wellbeing and that’s what our modern understanding of a day spa is. A day spa is simply a place where you go to relax while other people take care of you.

A day spa is simply a place where you go to relax while other people take care of your health and wellbeing.

2. What’s the difference between a day spa and a salon?

Basically, you go to a day spa for an experience and to a salon for an appointment.

Day spas are built to exude luxury. They should have a unique, professional environment which is dedicated to providing a tranquil experience.

Every day spa has its own style and relaxation areas where visitors can spend time before or after treatments.

While some day spas offer water facilities, others offer sound therapy or silent rooms free of technology. Ikatan Day Spa in Noosa is surrounded by tropical gardens because being surrounded by nature has a profound and positive effect on wellbeing.

The moment you enter a day spa you should feel calmer. It’s about being in a space where you can escape from the outside world to be silently transported to another place. The staff will help facilitate that by making sure you have a special experience before, during and after spa treatments.

At ikatan, one therapist is dedicated to looking after each visitor before, during and after treatments. There’s no chatting during treatments or selling of product after treatments to ensure a restful experience.

3. How is booking at a day spa different from booking a restaurant?

At a restaurant, you decide what to have from the food and beverage menu after you arrive. At a day spa, you need to book before hand due to restrictions on time frame, therapist availability and specialities and room allocations.

When day spa reception staff are making a booking, they’re looking for an available space or room for the treatment you want. But before they can find a booking availability they need to know when you want to come and how many people are coming with you.

4. Why are day spa menus hard to understand?

Day spa treatment menus can be lengthy and overly descriptive. They shouldn’t be hard to understand but a lot of them are. Sometimes it’s hard to know what the treatment involves.

If you’ve ever had trouble deciphering a spa menu you’re not alone. I write spa menus for my own day spa in Noosa and for other day spas, and even I find some spa menus hard to understand. Many menus read like a fairy tale story, full of adjectives to describe aromas and whimsical relaxation techniques. I find this is hard work, stressful and confusing.

If you can’t understand what the treatment involves then it’s probably because the menu is badly written.

5. What’s a spa package?

Spa packages usually consist of two or more combined treatments that compliment each other and flow from one treatment to the next, giving a longer, more relaxing experience. Sometimes other services are offered and food and drinks are often packaged up with treatments to extend spa relaxation time.

At ikatan, as well as offering set spa packages we also offer personalised bespoke packages if we don’t already have a package that includes the treatments a guest is looking for. Being flexible helps our guests combine treatments to suit their preferences.

TIP: If you can’t understand, find or decide what treatment you want, just give the spa reception staff, a rough idea of what you’d like. For example, maybe you need a massage, don’t want a pedicure but would like to try a facial. That information will help spa receptionists to recommend package options or day spa pampering ideas suit your needs.

6. How should I make a day spa booking?

Booking in advance is best, but if there’s a cancellation you’ll often get lucky by booking at the last minute, so you may as well ask. Working out a basic idea of the treatments, package or amount of time you want to spend before calling or emailing will help reception staff offer you a booking faster.

Knowing what you don’t want is also useful for spa staff. If you’re interested in a certain price, package or treatment, or want to experience something different, it will help reception staff suggesting the perfect experience for you.

Emailing your booking through an online booking system is convenient for after hours bookings or if you’re at work, but it can take time to hear back from a busy spa which gets a lot of online bookings. Even when the spa does reply fast, by the time you reply someone else may have called and taken the booking. It’s unfortunate but there’s no way around it because day spas do not hold online bookings without confirmation details. 

TIP: Phone bookings are best! Calling the day spa during business hours is the fastest way to book, ask questions and get advice as well as confirm your booking immediately. If you’re in a hurry ask the receptionist to suggest popular package options.

7. What if you don’t have time to read the spa treatment menu?

I find many people are so busy they don’t have time to read through the treatments listed on a spa menu, even though it’s available online. This in itself is proof you need to visit a day spa!

Good spas will understand that you’re time poor and need to escape a busy life. At ikatan, we’re constantly expanding our reception team so we can spend more time advising and caring for our guests from the first point of contact.

TIP:  Most day spas will be happy to block out spa time for you provided you give details to secure the booking. So don’t be afraid to call the day spa and secure a booking even if you haven’t had time to read the spa menu yet. Once you’ve booked and the date is locked in, you can enjoy looking at the treatment menu when you have a few minutes to spare and call or email to confirm the treatment you’ve chosen when you’re ready.

8. What if I have to cancel my appointment?

Read the day spa cancellation policy when you book as every spa will have a different policy.

Be aware that your treatment time has been reserved especially for you. If you need to reduce the treatment time, reschedule or cancel your appointment, you usually need to give 24 hours notice. If you arrive late or reduce the treatment time by changing your mind on arrival, then the day spa has the right to charge you the full amount.

9. What do I need to bring to a day spa?

Day spas have everything you need for treatments and time out in relaxation areas. If you go to a day spa with pool facilities, you’ll need swim wear, but towels, robes and slipper should be supplied.

It’s always a good idea to bring something warm to pop on after treatments and wear slip on sandals if you’re having a pedicure.

Some day spas like ikatan offer complimentary makeup application after spa treatments. This gives our guests sun protection as they relax in the garden with a pot of tea or glass of champagne after treatments and ensures they look their best for photos in the gardens.

10. What shouldn’t I bring to a day spa?

Leave your cigarettes, babies, children and pets behind and put your mobile devices on silent flight mode. That’s the policy at most day spas to ensure deep relaxation.

Leaving babies and children means you can relax without being responsible for a child. It’s not fair to other guests or young children to expect them to be quiet as is required at a day spa.

Day spa staff cannot act as babysit because they do not hold a blue card. Even if the children are older, day spa staff can’t be responsible for kids as they’re busy attending to guests. In any case, spa reception and lounge areas are for day spa guests to relax in and not a place to leave children unattended.

That’s why most day spas have a no children under the age of 16 policy.

The main day spa market is for busy mums escaping children, couples having a romantic escape and guests recovering from illness or stress. People visit a day spa for tranquillity without children and they’re one of the few places where you can escape your own kids without having to listen to other people’s!

Some day spas offer mums and bubs days which is a fantastic idea allowing other guests to book on a day when there are no children around.

11. What if I’m sick?

Clients suffering from colds, flu or viral infections should not have treatments at a day spa. Nor should people who are intoxicated.

It’s inadvisable for your own health to have treatments while unwell and unsafe for staff and other guests sharing the same facilities.

Please be thoughtful and cancel your spa booking if you’re ill and could be infectious as you may be sitting in reception with another guest who’s pregnant or undergoing treatments such as chemotherapy making them more susceptible to infection.

12How early can I arrive for my day spa booking?

Arrive early so you can start to relax before your treatment and leave time after treatments to allow you to slowly return to the real world that awaits you.

Give yourself ample time to drive to the day spa and find a parking space. It takes so much longer to relax someone whose mind is racing after arriving late for their booking.

It’s better to arrive too early than too late. Your spa therapist prepares your treatment before you arrive so that everything is ready for you. If you arrive late or decide to change your treatments on arrival, then your treatment will have to be cut short.

TIP: Check google maps for directions well in advance of your spa booking and allow for traffic.

I believe a day spa is also about the little things that make a big difference to your experience, from the first point of contact, during your treatments and throughout the visit. Feeling like you don’t want to leave, is the best compliment our guests give us.

Now you know the tips and tricks to getting what you want from a day spa experience.

Do you feel more confident about booking a day spa now?

7 Ways to Make Your Noosa Babymoon Special

What is a babymoon? No, it’s not the full moon shape of your tummy when you’re in your third trimester! It’s a holiday you take with your partner when your tummy is in full bloom with a baby bump.

It’s the last break you get together before your baby is born, the sleep-deprived nights stack up, and your bundle of joy needs constant care. It’s also time to relax and enjoy time together as a couple in a special place before you become three.

So what do you do on a babymoon? Here are our suggestions for how to spend your last holiday as a couple, when the mum to be may be feeling tired but you both still want to have fun.

Things to do on Babymoon

Activities that are geared around relaxation, or things you know you’re not going to be able to do together on future holidays with baby, are exactly what you should do on a babymoon.

Romantic evenings

Lingering dinners at a restaurant are one experience you won’t be having after the baby arrives, and sleep becomes more important than eating out. While your diet may be slightly limited during pregnancy, restaurants commonly cater for pregnancy requirements and it’s wonderful to have someone else cook and clean for you.

Spending time in nature

Going to the beach, swimming and walking are all perfect activities during pregnancy to help keep the body moving. If you can swim in the summertime, baby bumps love to cool off and float in the water. Fresh air and being in nature is a calming, nurturing way to unwind.

Day Spa visit in a double room

Babymoons are a popular time to get pampered with a massage, facial or foot treatment. Massages for mums-to-be are a necessity and dads-to-be need them too. It’s a stressful waiting game when the baby’s due date is coming up, and a big change for both of you. Be sure to mention that you’re pregnant when you book and request pregnancy safe massages and spa treatments.

Facials leave you feeling and looking refreshed. They create the deepest relaxation and are perfect pre-birth photo preparation for those first Mum, Dad and bub photos.

Pedicures and foot treatments are a must to rejuvenate tired feet when you’re on a babymoon as you can’t reach your toes with that baby bump in the way, and feet often swell in the last trimester. Foot treatments and head massages are popular for dads-to-be too and, if you have a treatment together, he may pick up a few massage ideas to do on you when you get home!

Sleeping in

Having a lie in sounds like something you can do at home, but not for long. When the baby arrives, everyone will be up before dawn! You’ll feel like half the day is over by 10 am when you’ve been up early with a baby.

On your babymoon, you may be just heading out for a lazy breakfast and coffee at that time. Enjoy the hot coffee as you won’t get many of them once the baby arrives… but you will get used to drinking luke warm coffee!

Shopping for baby gifts

Picking up a souvenir for yourselves or the baby’s room is a fun way to remember your babymoon together, especially if you visit a place that means a lot to both of you.

Many couples who got engaged or married in Noosa, visit again for their babymoon, and will no doubt be back for family holidays with their baby.

What would you like to do on a babymoon?

Are you planning a babymoon in Noosa?

Ikatan Day Spa in Noosa welcomes couples on their babymoon and offers special pregnancy treatments which can be taken solo or with someone else.

You don’t have to enjoy your spa treatments with the baby’s father either! Many women book a double treatment room to enjoy the experience with their mum, sister or friend.

You can even have your baby shower at ikatan if you want to share the experience with a group of friends.

To book a pregnancy treatment for yourself or a loved one contact ikatan Spa now. You can also buy Noosa day spa gift vouchers online.

5 Most Popular Day Spa Treatments

Beauty and wellbeing trends come and go, but the best day spa treatments are timeless. We all visit the day spa for different reasons. Some are looking for pure relaxation, others want a makeover that leaves their skin glowing and many need help with common overworked or stress-related conditions, sore or aching muscles or desperately need their feet attended too.

If you’re wondering what spa treatment to book, either for yourself, or as a gift, we’ve created this list as a decision-making shortcut. Sometimes too much choice can be over-whelming; if you’re suffering from analysis paralysis then just pick one of these five most popular treatments at ikatan Day Spa in Noosa. They’re guaranteed to please.

Remember! Before and or after all treatments at ikatan, guests are encouraged to relax in the tropical gardens with a glass of complimentary champagne or pot of T2 tea.

Top 5 Most Popular Treatment at ikatan Spa

1.Massage

The type of massage that people choose depends on their needs and sometimes the season, but massage is the treatment most of us need and crave. The stress-busting Chi Massage suits everyone while the Serenity Massage, for the head, neck, shoulders, feet and lower legs, is perfect for people who prefer a seated massage, where you don’t need to get undressed and takes place surrounded by nature in the garden room. Combine spa treatments with a glass of wine and nibbles, or afternoon tea, before or after treatments.

Top Tip: Book or upgrade to a 90-minute massage. The extra time makes a huge difference for the body and soul at a minimal cost.

2.Balinese Boreh Wrap and Massage

This is an energising treatment based on a traditional Balinese remedy that’s still popular in Bali today. As with all our treatments, we’ve tweaked it and improved it so that it’s now equally popular in Noosa as it is in Bali.

The Balinese Boreh (bore-a) 45 minute treatment starts with full body exfoliation using warm, exotically scented spices. This is then wrapped for warmth, which activates the spices to relieves muscle tension, minimises aches and pains and increases circulation. While cocooned in the wrap, the client is treated to a soothing scalp massage. Finally, warm coconut milk is used to nourish the body before a shower.

The second half of the treatment involves a traditional medium pressure 45 minute Balinese massage, which blends gentle stretching, with long flowing strokes. The combination of pressure techniques and warm aroma oil relaxes the mind and body, providing gently nurturing and leaving people feeling refreshed.

3.Coco-Luscious Body Wrap and Facial

 The smell of coconut and the sensation of being first exfoliated, then hydrated, make this treatment feel almost as good as a vacation. The treatment starts with dry body brushing to stimulate lymphatics and exfoliate the skin, followed by a luxurious coconut oil, scrub and milk wrap.

While the coconut ingredients in the coco-luscious wrap are working their magic, the therapist treats our guest to a 30 minute facial, personalised to suit the skin type and needs and soothing scalp massage.

This treatment ends with a warm shower and a flowing, application of organic coconut body moisturiser.

4.Anti-Ageing Facial

As we age, the skin matures and changes too, requiring more intensive care than young skin. The 75 minute Environ anti-ageing facial helps turn back time by reduce signs of ageing and is safe for even the most sensitive skin. It’s ideal for mature, sun-damaged or thinning skin, all common side-effects of ageing.

The facial includes a deep cleanse, alpha peel, relaxing facial massage, vitamin-packed serums, a soothing mask and vitamin moisturiser to hydrate, tighten and brighten the skin, leaving guests looking and feeling younger.

The anti-ageing facial treatment includes complimentary mineral make-up application to protect your skin.

 5.Deluxe Pedicure

Our deluxe pedicure is equally popular with men and women and people of all ages, from teenagers through to their grandmothers. It’s a 60-minute ritual for the feet, surrounded by nature viewed from our garden room.

This pedicure is worlds away from an impersonal quick service in a small nail salon while you breath in acrylic fumes, as found in a shopping centre and only a minimal difference in price. While drinking T2 tea or a glass of sparkling wine, our guests are treated to a a ritual for the feet.

  • Foot soak, scrub and buff;
  • Glycolic peel;
  • Full nail treatment with cuticle work, cut, file, buff and polish;
  • Soothing foot massage;
  • Hydration mask;
  • Nail polish application.
  • Take your new bottle of nail polish home.

It feels as good as it sounds and you can sit in the gardens while your polish dries. ikatan’s deluxe pedicure leaves guests feeling pampered and ready to put their best foot forward in life.

Book any of these popular treatments online or buy a gift voucher for them on our website. To make a booking contact 07 54711199 ikatan Spa today.

Bali Spa Review: Taksu Spa and Restaurant, Ubud

We regularly visit Ubud in Bali. It’s our home away from home, and we recently enjoyed a massage at Taksu Spa. I’d seen Taksu Spa and Restaurant advertised in numerous magazines and read several online reviews, so decided it was time we checked it out.

Taksu is a Balinese word for spirit and you can feel the tranquillity of this place. Taksu is a cool, peaceful oasis compared to the traffic, markets and busy streets in this area of Ubud.

First impressions

Taksu is so much more than a day spa. We called in to have a look around first because I always like to view a spa in Bali before booking since I’m a little bit fussy about cleanliness.

Walking through the main gate at Taksu, the café area before us looked like a tidy market garden or plant nursery. Tables and chairs are set amongst vegetable beds which are packed with veggies destined for use in the café. The sound of running water irrigating the plants is soothing.

We enjoyed a fresh pressed juice in the garden café while we looked over the spa menu.

The reception staff greeted us with big smiles and were helpful booking our massage treatments. There are so many massage styles to select from, I’d love to sample them all.

TIP: It’s easier to communicate your booking by visiting in person rather than by phone or email when in Bali.

Spa welcome

When we arrived for our massages we were greeted at reception by our spa therapist who escorted us on the longest walk through the garden, along a path, down what felt like 100 stairs, across a stream (where a bridge is being built), and up what felt like another 100 stairs.

I needed a massage after that epic journey. I tried not to think about the climb back after the massage.

The massage room was old, but clean and quiet, with soft music playing as my therapist, Dami, left me to pop on disposable undies and a sarong.

The disposable undies ripped to shreds as I pulled them up. I threw them in the bin, lay down on the comfy bed and put the sarong over me. The sarongs and head towel were clean and fresh and I felt ready for a massage.

Esalen Massage: Yoga for people who can’t be bothered!

I chose the Esalen Massage, which uses slow movement and flowing palming strokes that work on multiple muscles at the same time. The palming strokes move from one part of the body to another giving the feeling of one continuous movement.

The massage started on my feet, legs and buttocks with a wonderful stretching of my thighs. What I really loved was the small amount of oil used, giving a better connection with my skin and requiring less pressure by the therapist for a good, medium-pressure massage.

Soon my back, arms and neck were engaged by a flowing massage that repeatedly covered the areas I needed focused on. As Dami progressed through the flowing massage, she moved my arms and shoulders to stretch them and worked those areas at the same time. I was loving the massage and trying to stay awake, so I could fully experience it.

Soon it was time to turn over for extensive stretching to my feet, ankles, legs and hips. This felt like someone else doing yoga on my body, releasing tension with flowing massage strokes to each area while I was being stretched at the same time.

I knew the massage was coming to an end when every part of my body had been massaged, including my stomach. I love a stomach massage, as it is the area where many people, particularly women hold emotional tension, in the solar plexus area. A stomach massage is an instant boost for the digestive system, lymphatic drainage and the release of emotional tension.

Just when I thought it was all over, Dami moved to the top of the bed. After washing her hands she massaged my face, neck, décolletage and scalp. Divine, is the only way to describe how I felt when she was done.

TIP: Ask to have your stomach massaged next time you’re at a day spa because it’s so good for you and the therapist will be happy to oblige! If you’re female, the therapist will cover your breasts for privacy.

TIP: Forget your body image issues while at the day spa. Therapists don’t look at or care about body shape or size as bodies are our business. Body treatments are what we do, and life would be boring if all our guests were the same shape and size.

Day Spa Details

  • I highly recommend the Esalen massage at Taksu and look forward to going back. It was well worth the stair climb.
  • Refreshments – We also enjoyed staying on for lunch in the gardens. There are some vegan and organic options and the food and surroundings are refreshing.
  • Value for money is excellent at about $65 for a 90-minute massage

Star Rating

Definitely 5 stars for Taksu’s Esalen massage.

Can you recommend any amazing day spa experiences in Bali?

I’m a paying guest at all day spas I review for Day Spa Oracle. The spas and therapists are not aware of who I am, what I do, or where I come from. I like it that way; it’s nice to just be me.

I hope this day spa review helps you select day spas and treatments when you travel to Bali.  Experiences like these are how we get to know others and ourselves.

3 Reasons to Take Your Wedding Party to a Day Spa

People spend months planning their Noosa wedding including every detail, from where to hold the ceremony, through to what to wear. The laid back holiday atmosphere in Noosa attracts people who want a relaxed wedding, so there aren’t too many bridezillas. Still, the pressure to fulfil social expectations, please a wide variety of people and get everything organised can be nerve-wracking for the bride, groom and their families.

A day spa visit before the event can be the perfect way to spend time with the bridal party, close family or friends before the big day. It’s the best way to relieve the strain and reset the mood so that everyone can enjoy the big event.

Here are three reasons why you should make a day spa visit part of your Noosa wedding celebrations:

1. Prolong the festivities

A wedding celebration brings families and friends together for what can be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Yet the wedding day itself can feel too short and busy with so many people to entertain and so much to do, including the ceremony, formal festivities and photographs.

Noosa weddings are no different and, despite the relaxed holiday vibe, often newlyweds and wedding guests feel the big day whizzed by too fast.

Planning a day at the spa before the wedding is a perfect way to start the celebrations and bring everyone together in a relaxed environment. Wedding party spa visits work equally well for girls only get togethers, including those looking for a more sophisticated form of the traditional hen night or baby shower, and for mixed gender parties which are becoming very popular. After all, the boys love to have a massage and relax with a glass of wine or beer before the big day too.

Spa parties are particularly successful for multi-generational parties, because day spa treatments have a universal appeal, for everyone from teenagers through to their great-grandparents. We’ve never come across anyone who didn’t like being pampered while enjoying food and nibbles in our tropical gardens at ikatan!

2. De-stress

Why wait until the wedding is over and it’s honeymoon time before you relax? A day spa visit is the quickest way to de-stress and get everyone feeling cheerful.

Many of ikatan Spa’s treatments are specially designed to help people de-stress. For instant stress relief, we recommend a spa package or longer treatments like the 90-minute Chi Massage. But even a Serenity Package massage, deluxe manicure, or pedicure in our garden rooms, is guaranteed to dial down stress and restore a sense of balance.

It’s not just our treatments that relax people either, it’s the chance to enjoy time in the garden before and/or after the treatment, with a complimentary bubbles or cup of tea, that gives people time to really unwind. There’s a wine list, including craft beers, as well as food available. So if you want to spend longer hanging out together after treatments in our garden you can.

There’s no hard sell of products after your treatment either, in fact, at ikatan, we take you away from the retail area in reception and to the gardens instead. However, reception is staffed and we’re there to help you if you need advice or wish to try or buy anything.

3. Beautification

Everyone wants to look their best at a wedding because, although the day itself will fly by, the photos will last forever. Facials, body scrubs, manicures and pedicures are essential to help you feel confident and look your best.

All too often, the bride and bridal party can be out of action the day before the wedding meeting the celebrant or florist, checking the reception venue and attending wedding rehearsals. Two days before the wedding, most guests have arrived and this is usually the best time to book some day spa time together.

At ikatan Spa, everyone can come along, with space for the whole bridal party and friends. Which means you can maximise the time you spend together, particularly if wedding guests have travelled interstate or from overseas and need to recuperate from flights or jet lag before the wedding day.

The ikatan Day Spa experience and environment is an unmissable part of any visit to Noosa and should be a prerequisite for wedding parties that want to look and feel their best. It’s the perfect group get-together location.

Find out more

To find out more about booking your wedding party treatments at ikatan Spa, contact us today. We tend to get very busy during the wedding season and over the long summer holidays, so call now to avoid disappointment.

If you need any help organising a group booking, we have group coordinators to help you plan everything.

I Was a Day Spa Model

It’s a cold, grey day, but I’m being warmed from the outside in by exotic spices. A heady fragrance of cinnamon, ginger and cloves wafts around the room as my entire body is gently scrubbed with a blend of ground spices and rice. All I need to do is relax and enjoy the experience. Honestly, it would be impossible not to.

This may seem a bit decadent for a Wednesday afternoon but today it’s my job and I’m taking it seriously.

What does a day spa model do?

While all the therapists at ikatan, the award-winning Noosa day spa, are qualified in massage, beauty and wellbeing, they’re also specially trained for each of the unique treatments on offer. With a new therapist on board, I’ve been asked to act as a ‘model’ so she can practice the treatment on a real person, with help and guidance from her manager.

My job is to act as a guinea pig for the 90-minute Boreh Wrap body treatment and it’s a role I’m happy to handle.

What’s a Boreh Wrap treatment?

With a Balinese theme, ikatan’s spa treatments are all designed to optimise relaxation, and many of them are based on traditional ayurvedic or Balinese medicines. The Balinese Boreh Wrap and Massage treatment uses warm spices to relieve aches, pains and muscle tension, exfoliate the skin and improve circulation.

Once I’ve been evenly scrubbed and coated in the spice mix, which spa owner Katrina Thorpe blends herself, I’m wrapped in a thermal blanket and towels while the spices work their magic.

The treatment is based on an ancient practice that’s still used in Bali today, both by rice farmers to soothe sore muscles after a hard day in the rice paddies, and by urban Balinese who use it to ward off colds and chills.

How does the treatment work?

Everyone reacts differently to the spice mix and, while the rest of my body feels warm and cosy, my back starts to warm up like a hot plate. So much so that I ask if there’s a heat pad under the blankets. There isn’t. It’s just the spices drawing the heat out of my body and easing away the aches in my upper back, shoulders and neck where I hold a lot of tension.

It feels wonderful and I’m amazed how much heat generated purely by my own body and the spices.

I have time to enjoy the experience before being asked to sit up so the therapist can pour warm coconut milk over my skin. As well as introducing another subtle fragrance, the coconut milk  has a cooling and hydrating effect.

After my entire body has been doused in coconut milk, it’s time for a shower before what the ikatan brochure describes as a “45 minute Balinese aroma oil massage to ease away muscle tension”.

After a shower, I lie face down on the table while warm oil is liberally poured over my skin and massaged in. It appears there isn’t much tension left; I soon start to drift in and out of sleep.

The combination of gentle music, dim lighting, a calming aroma and the therapist’s slow, flowing massage strokes have taken me from distracted rushing, to deep relaxation, in way less than 90 minutes. An hour and a half has never passed so fast.

I get to prolong the experience with a pot of chai tea in the garden afterwards while I reflect on my day spa model experience. When opportunities for deep relaxation like this come your way, it makes you realise how much we need them.

What was just another cold, grey winter’s day now feels bright and beautiful.

Guest post by Annabel Candy

Annabel is a travel writer and serial expat who currently lives in Australia. She shares travel stories and tips at Get In the Hot Spot and runs Web marketing agency Mucho. When she’s not hanging out with her husband, three kids and their tabby cat, you can find her walking, running or swimming at the beach.

5 Ways to Celebrate Your Birthday at a Day Spa

On July 15th, we’re celebrating ikatan’s 15th birthday. It’s hard to believe so much time has passed since we created our Balinese-style Noosa day spa. In that time, our garden has been transformed from Australian bush to tropical serenity, with large shady trees and authentic Balinese touches that make people feel as if they’ve just arrived on an exotic holiday.

It’s been lots of work but endless fun too. I love working with my talented team of therapists and truly appreciate being recognised as one of Australia’s top destination day spas. We’ve won numerous awards over the years and in 2017 we were thrilled to win the Luxury Travel Guide award for Excellence in Service for the Asia and Australasia region.

With ever-growing demand from people who want to experience ikatan, we’re currently expanding by adding new treatment rooms.

Our birthday celebrations will be quiet and we like to keep it that way. If you do too, here are five reasons to celebrate your birthday (or organise it for someone you love) at a day spa.

1. Go solo

Yes! You can come to a day spa for some time out on your own on. It’s your birthday, so you can do as you please, and if you just need some time out by yourself we get that.

If you have a mid-week birthday or everyone is busy, it’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy a break, destress and release tension. Your birthday is the perfect excuse to escape everyone and everything for a few hours or a whole day. This is your chance to really relax, recharge and rejuvenate.

2. Have a spa party (or sparty!)

If you have time, then organising a spa party with family or friends will be a popular birthday outing. Guests can spend time together having spa treatments then relax with high tea or shared platters including glass (or three!) of champagne or a pot of tea. Busy mums and teenagers love sparties.

3. Romance

For a special day with your romantic interest, runaway with your partner on a couple’s spa package. Relaxing together in a double treatment room will be a fine way to spend your birthday.

If your partner doesn’t book it for you, then you can always book a double package for their birthday. It’s a popular way to spoil your loved one. Plus you get to enjoy the treatments and pampering too.

4. Gift vouchers

Buying a day spa gift voucher for a birthday present means the birthday boy or girl can can book their treatment whenever they want.

Tip: Check the expiry date and conditions before you buy a gift voucher at another day spa, as some have short expiry time.

At ikatan day spa we give you a year to use your gift voucher and we’re happy to extend vouchers too. After all, it’s a gift and people should be able to use it when it suits them.

5. Surprise!

Many guests are brought to ikatan Spa not knowing they’re booked in for a spa package. While it’s nice to have a surprise, we generally find women in particular, prefer to know they’re having day spa treatments. Then they can wear appropriate clothing or sandals if they’re having a pedicure.

Unless you know exactly what treatments the birthday boy or girl likes best, they may want to swap treatments on the day, so surprising them a day early is a real surprise and helpful in giving the day spa time to change the treatments if necessary.

While we can often change treatments at ikatan Spa at short notice, many day spas can’t change as therapists or rooms are pre-booked for different treatments.

If you’d like to surprise someone, we find the best surprise is a gift voucher given a day or so before the birthday. That way there’s time to change treatments and organise food or wine. It’s still a surprise but something to look forward to and prepare for.

Would you like to celebrate your birthday at a day spa?

ikatan Day Spa in Noosa: the ultimate birthday treat

To buy a gift voucher, organise a birthday treat or find out about hosting a sparty, visit the ikatan website or call us on 07 54711199 from 9am-6pm Monday to Saturday.

Noosa Alive Day Spa Pampering Ideas

We’ve always enjoyed the Noosa Long Weekend cultural festival. Now rebranded as Noosa Alive festival, it promises to be just as much fun in 2017.

The 10 day festival spans two weekends, from 21-30 July, showcasing fabulous theatre, literature, music, dance, film, visual arts and cuisine. For those who want to get their grey matter working, there are also forums events, with art workshops if you’d prefer to get creative.

The events take place all over Noosa but much of the fun will be centered on Hastings Street and Noosa Main Beach at the Beach Club Marquee. The Broadway on the Beach cabaret,  Salsa by the Sea and Flamenco Fire events sound like a great way to let your hair down, as does the final Flying Down to Rio party.

If all the festivities prove too much and you want to escape the crowds, or if you want to schedule some rest and relaxation as well as fun while you’re here, ikatan Day Spa is an oasis of tranquility.

Set in a tropical Balinese garden, many guests like to arrive early to enjoy a pot of tea or glass of wine in the garden. Once your treatment is over, you can head back to the garden for more drinks and a cheese or mezze platter.

Everyone has their favourite spa treatment and you can choose from a massage (hot rock and chi massages are always popular), manicure or pedicure, body treatment or facial to help you unwind. Whatever you pick, they’re all carefully designed to maximise your relaxation and boost your sense of wellbeing.

You can check the ikatan spa Noosa specials on the ikatan website or see all the treatments and spa packages there too.

Here are a few pampering ideas to get you started:

1. Warmth of Bali Package

Ikatan is a Balinese day spa and many of their treatments are based on traditional Balinese medicines. This two hour package is a great introduction because it combines a chai spiced scrub with a body wrap, massage and facial.

The scrub, wrap and massage will relive anxiety and rejuvenate your body, while the facial cleanses and nourishes your skin.

2. Teman for Two Package

Teman means friend in Balinese and this package is ideal to share with a buddy, family member or partner. It takes place in a private double room starting with a foot ritual before a 60 minute Balinese massage.

The warm oil, aromatic fragrance and long, soothing massage strokes are guaranteed to induce deep relaxation and a sense of inner peace.

If you have time and book in advance, you can even follow your Teman for Two package with a high tea in the garden.

3. Signature Facial

If you want to look your best this organic facial gets results and takes you on a sensory journey. It includes deep cleansing, exfoliation, anti-aging serums and face masks as well as gentle massages for your face, scalp, neck and shoulders.

The 75 minute facial is completed with a serum, eye cream and moisturiser, followed by complimentary mineral makeup application.

4. Deluxe Manicure

Pretty hands always get noticed and our deluxe manicure will leave your hands and nails looking and feeling their best.  You’ll enjoy the 6o minute manicure in our garden room, accompanied with a pot of tea or a glass of champagne.

You’ll be indulged with a hand exfoliation and full nail treatment, including cuticle neatening with nails cut or filed, buffed and painted. The pampering continues with a hand massage and hot towel hand hydration wrap while you enjoy a neck and shoulder massage.

You can choose your favourite nail colour from a range of nail polish colours and take the bottle home with you for touch ups.

5. Essence of ikatan Double Package

This 90 minute package for two people includes a foot pamper treatment, a Balinese massage and a mezze platter to share in the garden after your treatment with a glass of champagne or pot of tea.

If you want to stick around and enjoy another drink or two, ikatan has a boutique European wine list and craft beer option. They can even order a taxi to take you back to your hotel afterwards.

Other pampering treatments available

Find the ikatan day spa Noosa specials on the ikatan website along with the full range of treatments and spa packages.

Day Spa Bookings for Noosa Alive Festival Pampering

Booking for festival events can be make on the Noosa Alive website.

For all your pampering needs book directly with ikatan Day Spa, either online through their website or by calling 07 54711199. Ikatan is open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 6pm.

Bali Travel Guide

We travel to Bali regularly to bring authenticity to ikatan, our Balinese Day Spa in Noosa and update this information each time we visit. It covers general travel tips as well as eating out, shopping, day spas and massage. I hope this travel guide helps you enjoy your time in a place we love, full of beautiful people and wonderful experiences on the island of the gods.

Download our Bali Travel Guide in PDF format if you’d like to print it or save it on your mobile device.

General Tips

On arrival at Denpasar Airport

If you’re getting a taxi it’s a set meter price which is safe and organised through a central ticket area.

If your Resort is picking you up and you can’t find them ask anyone from another hotel (they all know each other) or stand still and they will find you.

Money

The Balinese currency is Rupiah. ATMs are found at the baggage carousel area in Denpasar Airport and we always use ATM in preference to money changers. Money changers are everywhere but we don’t recommend them. The ATM offers the best currency rate and is safe. Use any Bank to change money as a safe option if you are taking cash. ATMs are readily available but the ATMs in Bali are different to Australia in that they offer different denominations of cash in 50,000Rp or 100,000 Rp notes. MOST IMPORTANTLY WHEN YOUR TRANSACTION IS COMPLETED YOUR RECEIPT COMES OUT BEFORE YOUR CARD SO DON’T FORGET YOUR CARD!

Otherwise the ATM asks if you want another transaction and the next person can press yes and clean your account out!  Use the Commonwealth ATM if possible as they carry large notes which means less bulk in your wallet and more money in one bank transaction for same bank fee. Don’t use the ATM in 7/11 stores as they are not always safe and seem to be the ones where scammers are found.

Water

Only drink bottled water and only use bottled water for cleaning your teeth. If ice is made with bottled water it’s safe.

Tip: Hang shower cap over your bathroom tap so you don’t clean your teeth with Bali tap water and get sick.

Alcohol

Can be bought in a local shop – Wine is expensive in Bali but the Two Island Chardonnay and Riesling are okay. Don’t be put off by the grape style as it does not reflect these light unwooded wines that go well with Asian foods. Some local wines are made in Bali with Australia grapes from WA and SA (because there’s no tax on imported fruit, but imported alcohol is heavily taxed).

Try Two Islands or Artisan. You can also get Hatten or Plaga wine but we can’t recommend them. Imported wines are very expensive apart from Chilean wines and are generally not well travelled or cellared – check dates and the colour of the wine before they open the bottle.

The local beer is Bintang and there are a few new local beers coming on the scene now which are cheap and popular. Spirits and cocktails are about the same price as in bars as Australia.

Do Not drink the local alcohols like Arak or Brem in bars.

You can take Duty Free alcohol in to Bali – it’s cheaper and there’s more choice when you buy it in Australia on the way to Bali and in Australia when you return. On your way back to Australia, most flights fly late at night, so eat up before you go to the airport or grab a takeaway. The Denpasar airport food is terrible and like all airports, expensive.

Tipping

It is customary to tip – there is a 15 – 20% surcharge added automatically to your bill. For example, if you see the price of a meal is 10,000 Rupiah, then add the surcharge that will be listed on the bottom of the menu to work out the real price of the meal. This is a fee for tax and also includes a service fee (tip) which will be distributed amongst the staff. However, it is good to give a tip as Balinese believe in Kharma – as you give so shall you receive – but only tip if the service is good.

Transport

Driver at $50 -$100 a day – hotel drivers are usually good, charge about the same price and your hotel will organise it.

Blue taxi – reliable and set prices on the meter. After dark – if they offer to bargain with you say ‘turn the meter on please’ as they assume you don’t know the cost and they can make more money. Or bargain and expect to pay just over half of the price they started with. Remember though that a 50,000 Rp taxi ride is only about AU$5.

Personal drivers Ubud (known as TRANSPORT) – will bargain as there are no taxis in the Ubud area and they all work together so the price will be the same no matter who you bargain with. Same bargaining rule and price applies, or use the hotel shuttle bus as it is easier.

Scooter or motorbike hire

Your hotel will organise this but wear a helmet unless you want to get fined! It’s usually $7 a day to hire a scooter but make sure you have an international license (you can get one quickly and easily in Australia at the RACQ office) or better still a bike license. Carry about 300,000Rp in a separate wallet with your license and should you get pulled over by the police get out your ‘local’ wallet. We ‘ve been pulled up often and paid 150,000- 300,000Rp in fines. A separate spare wallet with small money is a good idea because if the police see a large amount of money in your wallet they put up the fine.

Always make sure you wear a helmet as you will get pulled over by police if you don’t wear a helmet and it gives them a reason to ask you for money. More importantly helmets are a really good way to stay alive. There’s lots of crazy driving in Bali and unless you know what you are doing it isn’t worth riding a scooter as the Taxis are cheap. Denpasar hospital is not a good holiday resort!

Laundry

Local laundries can wash anything and you can collect it the next day or sometimes even the same day. Try them out first with some less important clothes. We have never had trouble with Laundry, however friends of mine have had a lot of clothes ruined. Test run the laundry first.

Fashion and shopping

There is a big French and Italian community and both have local newspapers and magazines. The European influence has bought great bread, coffee and fashion to Bali and established the beautiful clothing, handbags, shoes and homewares stores which are found mostly in the Seminyak area. Leave room in your suitcase for shopping!

Smoking in restaurants… and even dogs!

Some restaurants allow people to smoke in Bali so make sure you ask for a non-smoking area. Smoking is really hard for Australians to accept when we’re not used to people smoking around us while eating food. Dogs are also a common sight in cheaper open-air restaurants.  Air-conditioned restaurants do not allow smoking inside and some restaurants have no smoking areas. Now there are more and more no smoking restaurants each time we go to Bali.

Sickness

Bali Belly – For any signs of an upset tummy go to an apotek (chemist) for some charcoal tablets (diatab). If you need to go to a doctor there are some apotek with doctors or good clinics like Bali Clinic, SOS or BMC. The local clinics are okay for general illness but if you need stitches or serious attention go to the expat clinics. Get onto any illness early – your hotel staff can help.

Activities

Kuta – Water Bom Water Park – A good day out that’s fun and cheap. You put money on a wrist band and then you put everything in a locker and use your wrist band to charge everything then they give you all unspent cash back at the end. It’s a weird thing but works well and you don’t lose money out of your pockets. Don’t wear jewellery.

Bintang cycling tour – No, this is not a drinking tour! Bintang means star so the word is used a lot in Bali. This is a downhill 40km ride through the villages and rice paddies of Bali leaving from the volcano village of Batur. Bring: bike, gloves, camera, long shorts and a sense of adventure. We had so much fun and a great lunch at the end of the ride. Seeing the real Bali can only be done this way.

White water rafting – There are a lot of companies to choose from. Sobek is a world wide adventure sports company that has good equipment and offers a trip down the Ayung river. The company pick you up from your hotel. Wear a t-shirt with long sleeves to prevent the life jacket rubbing. Bring your bike riding gloves to help with paddling, wear shoes that dry fast like light weight runners or backpacker sandals (the ones with the Velcro straps). You can take a camera as they have waterproof bags. This is a must do experience!

Monkey Forest – Don’t wear jewellery or anything glittery or shiny!!! It’s best to stand back and watch the tour groups. You’ll be easily entertained by what happens when they feed the Monkeys!

Snorkelling Book a trip to Nusa Lembongan for the most amazing snorkelling trip. Book the Rocky Fast boat. They pick up from your hotel and it’s only a 30-minute boat trip to Nusa Lembongan. Go over early and organise a boat when you get to the island to take you to private snorkelling areas around the island. The boats have clean gear but we usually take our own mask and snorkel. Two hours of snorkelling costs $70 for the boat and driver which can take from two to six people. Take water and have lunch at one of the restaurants when you get back to the island before you get the 3pm Rocky Fast boat back to Bali. It’s like snorkelling in a fish tank of clear blue water and the best snorkelling we’ve ever done.

EAT – DRINK –  Jimbaran Bay area

Taxis are hard to get back from Jimbaran – Take a driver and have him wait for you. You’ll pay about 200,000-350,000Rp for a taxi from Kuta or Seminyak area to Jimbaran round trip. You can trust the driver to wait and meet you where you arrange. In fact they seem to just show up when you finish. Don’t worry about them hanging around as they meet their driver friends and have dinner too.

The Rock Bar at Ayana Resort – Enjoy this amazing bar on a rock in the ocean! Expensive for Bali (AUD prices) but worth every Rupiah! Take your camera as it’s the best location for sunset in Bali and allow a lot of time to get there and back in the traffic and a bit of time in line to get in the bar. We have not been since it became popular but others tell us it takes a lot of time.

Seafood at sunset on the beach at Jimbaran Bay You choose your fish, prawns, lobster and it is barbecued for you over coconut husks. Pick a good sunset night. Get there early, no later than 5.30pm. Take some insect spray.

EAT – DRINK – SPA – Seminyak & Legian area

La Plancha – One of a dozen or more bars on Seminyak beach. They’re all quite similar but this one makes a colorful picture.

THE BARS ON THE BEACH – This used to be the cheapest sunset but on our last visit we found it to be expensive for the quality of alcohol. Still, it’s a great experience to sit on the beach so just drink Bintang beer which is still reasonably cheap. Wine and spirits are not good quality and not very cold.

Ku de ta – For sunset: Get there early around 4.30pm, find a lounge and order a cocktail then move on to tapas if you like Japanese food or pizza. Watch the sunset while people watching and listen to the DJ spin the latest release music through the garden. If you don’t come to Bali often it’s a must.

Cocoon Bar and Restaurant – At Double Six in Legian – Two for one drinks at sunset for really good quality cocktails and a nice bar.

The W Resort – Jl. Petitenget in Seminyak – You’re welcome to visit if you are not staying in the hotel provided you are dressed appropriately (smart casual or evening elegant). The latest new resort that has to be seen to be believed for its style, opulence yet comfort and service is amazing. Get a cab as the driveway is hard to walk down. Not good for kids.

Potato Head Beach Club – Jl. Petitenget in Seminyak – This place is an architectural masterpiece using 10,000 antique Javanese Shutters as the exterior curved wall. We don’t go often as we don’t like to line up to get into a beach bar and restaurant with great cocktails but average food. It’s just the latest craze.

Sarong – Jl. Petitenget in Seminyak – Cheap food and expensive wine. Three chefs (Indian, Indonesian and Australian) combine the most amazing flavours with an extensive menu. Food is on the spicy side so let them know if that’s not your preference. Large meals, amazing décor, dress up, have a cocktail when you arrive and enjoy. This is a must eat at restaurant. Have a few drinks before you go as their wine list is pricey although the wine is good. You will have to book ahead as it is always booked out. A bit spicy!

Mama San – Restaurant in Seminyak – Indoor air-conditioned NO SMOKING except upstairs in the bar. Modern Asian food with traditional inspirations from Vietnam, China and India. Great food to share, amazing decor and good wine list. Open for lunch and dinner. Not Suitable for little kids.

Tiger Palm – Another new restaurant by the Sarong Group which should be great. It’s opposite Sister Fields and open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Chandi Restaurant – Jalan Laksmana (eat street) Seminyak – Fabulous food which has its origins in Bali with a modern style. Great hot stone meals served at the table. Leave room for the chocolate fondant – Indonesian chocolate is so good! Not a great restaurant for little kids.

Ginger Moon – Jalan Laksmana (eat street) Seminyak – A cross between tapas style and pizza all of which are fantastic as a great way to try a few dishes. We love this for casual dining. Okay for kids.

Bamboo – Jalan Pettigenet – Upmarket Balinese Food in a beautiful setting surrounded by water but with no fencing so don’t take kids here. Adult only restaurant with no kids meals. They have a great bar area for pre-dinner drinks. Need to book.

Biku book store and cafe – Jl Petitenget – Great casual food, antiques and books. Specialising in teas and high teas. May need to book in busy season or eat early or come for a late lunch. Also open for dinner. Kids like it here.

Sardine – Kerobokan – Not far from the jail! A beautiful restaurant overlooking the rice paddies. Upmarket and close to Seminyak and Petitenget reasonably priced for excellent food. Not Suitable for kids.

Champagne Bar – Jalan Laksmana – Very small bar that plays old music clips which keep you guessing who’s singing. This place is different and fun. Quirky (big kids love it) but no good for little kids.

Lacalaca Mexican restaurant – Jl Drupadi – Flavoursome, fresh and cheap food with a selection of margaritas. We suggest you work your way through the menu as tapas, like all good Mexicans and add your own spicy. Good for kids

La Luciola – Around the corner from Ku de Ta – Fantastic Breakfast from 8.30am. Two storey restaurants on the beach serving excellent western-style food and wines. They have a great bar surrounded by frangipani trees so arrive early for a drink first. You need to book. Okay for kids but better for a romantic dinner.

Merah Putih – Seminyak near W hotel – Upmarket Indonesian and Balinese food with the most amazing decor. Good bar. They advertise no children but we’ve seen lots of tables with kids even though the food is not kid friendly. Baby sitters are so cheap in Bali so why would you take the kids to an exquisite restaurant like this? Mid to higher price.

Sea Circus – Jl Laksmana – Opposite Samaya Resort – the BEST COFFEE and GELATO. we love breakfast here and a late afternoon Gelato. Lunch and Dinner is good too for a casual cheap night out. Good for big kids, too small for prams.

Barbacoa – Opposite Sardine in Kerobokan – Brazilian BBQ with a great menu that’s perfect for shared dishes. Leave room for the chocolate truffles! Air-con inside and a few tables outside for smokers. Book and go early before the fire roast of the day sells out, especially if its pork. Friday and Saturday is Lamb nights. The octopus salad, and pork sliders are also amazing. Great for big kids

Hotel Mexicola – Opposite Body Works Spa in Seminyak – Mexican restaurant with amazing crazy décor. Great drinks, average food but go for a drink to check it out. Big place and good for kids of any age, especially a group of adult ones!

Day Spas and Massage

SEMINYAK DAY SPAS

Jari MenariTHE BEST MASSAGE in Bali and the only place we get a massage in Seminyak. A MUST HAVE!  Katrina used to teach massage at Jari Menari so we know the massage therapists are well trained and respected in this clean, relaxing massage centre. The therapists are all male so they can be strong. Try the favourite massage for a good stretch or the singing bowl massage for a different experience. Book online at www.jarimenari.com.

LEGIAN  DAY SPAS

Spa Bali in Legian – On Jalan Dhyana Pura or Drink Street. Hygienic, efficient and air-conditioned. We found them great for pedicures, manicures, crème head massage and hairdressing but not massage, facials or body treatments.

Body Works – Cheap but mass production. The pedicure and crème hair massage are okay but we can’t recommend the massage, facials or body treatments.

A lot of clients that come to ikatan say they go to Body Works but we have no idea why! It’s cheap and that’s exactly the type of treatment you receive from therapists who seem overworked, tired and not at all interested in you or what they are doing! Body Works is like spa therapist slave labour and I don’t agree with it. Hygiene standards are not as high as other spas.

Spring Spa – Opposite the Potato Head drive way in Jl Pettigent – A contemporary day spa with a great vibe that offers all day spa services. I thought the massage was very good in a clean professional spa. Inexpensive treatments.

The Shampoo Lounge – Seminyak end of Jl Legian – Good hairdressers and beauty services such as pedicures and crème hair bath. Have a cream hair bath while in Bali – they are everywhere and a MUST HAVE treatment you’ll find at day spas or hairdressing salons. It’s a conditioning treatment for hair with massage of head, neck shoulders, arms and hands included.

SPA Ubud

Taksu Spa, café and restaurant – In the heart of Ubud. A great way to spend some time as they offer yoga, spa treatments, a big massage list and you can stay for an organic lunch after your treatment. You can also go just to eat or drink in their beautiful edible garden.

We’ve tried a lot of spas in Ubud and only go to the four mentioned below but spas are everywhere with new ones opening all the time. Ask to look at the spa treatment rooms and check if they are clean before you book.

Bliss Spa – One of our Balinese friends works at Bliss Spa. Will pick you up from your hotel. Set in the rice paddies with spacious treatment rooms. Try the Shirodara 90-minute massage. A cheap spa with well trained therapists that charges in Rupiah. Excellent value and a very special location in a rice paddy! Don’t have a facial. Located past Naughty Nuri’s on the way to Sayan or Kedewatan Ubud.

Dala Spa –  Very different concept. Located in a resort but outside guests are welcome. Excellent treatments and experience. Reasonably priced and they will pick you up. The resort restaurant is also very good.

Spa at Uma by Como – This is where we like to have a massage in Ubud. Its more expensive than the spas on the streets but, as with most things, you get what you pay for!

EAT – DRINK – Ubud

Organic and health food cafes are everywhere in Ubud in and around the central shopping area so just ask anyone in the area. The main street to find these cafes is Jl Hanonman and Dewi Sri.

Café Lotus – In the grounds of the temple on the main road in Ubud. Cheap food, popular location for a casual meal and pretty setting. Kid friendly.

The Bridge Restaurant and Wine Bar – A beautifully restored art deco building overlooking the river. Excellent food and great wine cellar. Ideal for a romantic night with good food and wine. Higher price range. Great if you’re on your own as you can eat on the bar level where you walk in. Worth checking out this beautiful building. Not Suitable for little kids.

Chinta Grill – Jl Monkey Forest – Half way down the on the left about 500m after the football oval. Love it here for a cheap, quality meal with good service and good size serve. Great for kids of all ages.

Glow restaurant – Como Shambala Health Retreat. About a 20-minute drive out of town. Exquisite food, totally healthy in a magical setting. Quiet and relaxing with excellent service. Upper price range. Adult only resort, not suitable for kids.

Cucina at UmaOut of town at the top of the hill on the way to Sayan. Very good Italian food and quality wines. Mid to high price range.

Hujan – Another restaurant by the Sarong Group with Asian sharing food but different to Sarong and Mama San.

Balinese Warungs and cafes – Too many to mention, but you can tell how good they are by how busy they are.

Final word on Bali

Have fun, be sensible and stay safe. Most of all be polite to the Balinese as you are on their Island and they take their traditions, culture, religion and customs seriously.

In Bali, you are on island time, which is slow, and can be frustrating at times so I recommend going with the flow.

Enjoy Bali!

Katrina and Nicholas
Owners, Ikatan Day Spa Noosa

Grab this guide!

Download our Bali Travel Guide in PDF format if you’d like to print it or save it on your mobile device.

Have you got any travel tips for Bali or any suggested updates? Please share them here in the comments below. 

Make Mother’s Day Memorable

Mother’s Day is promoted as a chance to give your mother flowers, chocolates or take her out for the obligatory Mother’s Day lunch, as if it’s the only day she gets a chance to get out of the kitchen. I think it’s time we put some thought into making Mother’s Day more meaningful, rather than just following a Mother’s Day routine.

Where Mother’s Day came from

I was born in the UK where Mothering Sunday is celebrated in March. I also have a heritage from Europe where Romans and Greeks worshipped mother figures and goddesses. How time has changed for us mothers! But it was an American, Anna Jarvis, who named Mother’s Day as a remembrance day for her mum who was a peace activist.

Mother, Nonna and Daughter

This year I became a Nonna and I am now in the middle of the mothers in my family. This has inspired me to think outside the square about what I can do for my mother and my daughter this Mother’s Day.

I started by writing a list of things we love to do, such as relaxing, reading, nature, cooking, sewing and anything creative. I want my daughter’s first Mother’s Day to be special, personal, memorable. My mother, now a great grandmother, likes the simple things in life, while I love thoughtfulness.

I came up with some thoughtful ways to celebrate Mother’s Day with my daughter and my mum and share them here for you if you want to create a memorable Mother’s Day too.

Mother nature

One of the first inspirations that came to mind was Mother Nature and with a love of gardens and anything organic or natural, as well as a passion for fresh organic ingredients and cooking for others, it’s the perfect combination to work with.

Make a basket of her favourite, homemade or fresh market food and take off to a place surrounded by nature for a picnic.

Handmade with love labels would be a nice touch. You could write a little note about the food and why it’s a family favourite and memorable to you or your mum.

Write a letter

I love collecting beautiful paper and this Mother’s Day I will use it to write a letter to my mum and daughter to tell them how I feel about them and what I am grateful for. As I remember what mum has taught me, I must promise to teach my daughter what I have learnt. My mum has always been creative; it was a matter of having to be in the sixties and I have embraced everything she taught me.

My daughter is part of the retro revival generation who loves my handmade knitting and sewing for her family and puts in the orders for what she wants as fast as I can make them. But I make everything for her instead of teaching her. I think there will be some lessons promised in her letter.

Promise your mum a date

I talk to a lot of mums, I am a mum and know that it’s the thought that counts. When you live too far away and can’t be with your mum on Mother’s Day, simply organise something you can do together at another time and tell her you’re taking her on a date.

Mother and daughter days at ikatan spa are very popular. While some people like to buy gift vouchers to give their mum on Mother’s Day, others book to come later in the year when they can organise the time together and make a spa date. Pop a gift voucher or note in a card to tell your mum “we’re going on a spa date together”.

You may prefer to take your mum on a date for a walk together in a place she wants to explore or to a special restaurant together. Take her on your own. Mother’s day is a perfect time for a son to organise a dinner or lunch date with his mum for another time. Most restaurants have gift vouchers or just write a promise in a card.

There’s chocolates and there’s thoughtful chocolates

My son usually buys me chocolates. It’s a quirky thing that started when he was 16 years old with the smallest box of Ferrero Rocher bought with his own money. The more money he earns, the bigger the box he gifts me on Mother’s Day. It’s become a tradition I love. What I makes this special is the smile on his face when he gives me the unwrapped chocolates, as if to say ‘I have so got this mothers day gift nailed’.

While my son loves me to cook for him, he would prefer for us to go out to eat and chat on our own. Or he would promise to organise a trip to the snow together because he likes snow boarding and I ski, but I’m not sure he would be paying for that trip!

Home delivery

I’m the eldest of four kids and we used to buy mum a combined present, which was a great way for my brother to let us, his sisters, organise something for mum. You may want to stand out from the other kids by doing something more personal for your mum and it can be as easy as making her a delicious meal so that she has a night off cooking! Every mum loves someone to cook for her.

There are some fantastic home delivery meals available now, direct from local restaurants and they are as easy as a phone call and credit card to organise. No matter what age, any mum would love to have dinner delivered.

It’s the memorable thought that counts

I hope my ideas help you to make her Mother’s Day memorable, I can’t wait to be with my grandson for my first mother’s day as a nonna.

I’m no different to any other mum. For us, it’s the thought that counts, but mums are also happy to have a memorable Mother’s Day surprise, a thoughtful, personal gift that is more than just part of that old routine second Sunday in May we call Mother’s day.

7 Feel Good Thing to Make you Happy.

1.Contact ‘old friends’ for your soul connection.

Find that time! Call them and say hello. The people that have been in your life for a long time, are important to you. It will give you a feel good boost to speak to them, if you can arrange to meet them as it will be even better for both of you to meet face to face and embrace.

Conditions apply.  No relying on social media or text after initially contacting your friend, as that’s not a good enough soul connection. Bluetooth in the car is allowed as you actually speak and perfect for a chat on a drive somewhere.

How it helped me. I used to call my Nan (97 years old) using Bluetooth in the car, she was always home alone and she loved the thought that she was ‘on the radio’ in my car. It was a special time that I often miss now and I am so glad I made the time regularly to call her to chat about anything or nothing, because it was everything and now just a beautiful memory for me that makes me smile writing about it to you.

2.Retrospective therapy.

It’s called retrospective therapy and it’s all about looking back on or remembering things that made or make you happy. It’s also where the term or word where retro comes from and it means to be imitative of a style or fashion from the recent past.

It’s why people love and appreciate old cars, clothes, movies, tea sets and why the second hand shop is always a great place to appreciate the eras of antiques, vintage and retro items. Take note of what happens to you when you see retro things, what your reaction is and how you feel when you look at them. Guaranteed to give you a smile, take you back and your bound to tell or hear a story.

I have a vintage champagne glass collection and they are so pretty I can’t possibly use them, they are for looking at because they make me happy.

me-aerobics

yes, that’s me in the 80’s

3.Old photos to remember the good times.

Yes, look at the printed photos in the shoe box of photo album. hold them in you hand while they bring back memories that warm your heart. Put up some favourite old photos where you can see them, admire and remember those times with a smile on your face.

You will be sure to find the silly things like I did of my babies in the 80’s looking so beautiful but what was I wearing in those photos! Oh the 80’s of G-string leotards, the big hair do’s and shoulder padded clothes all so significant, I hope they don’t come back as a new fashion trend, it all makes you smile.

4.Print your Selfies.

Selfie photos have only been a thing since we started taking photos on our phones.

A few years ago there were no such thing as a selfie, apart from having a camera with a timer so the photographer could run from the camera set on a tripod or wall into the scene for the photo.

I love taking a selfie that is a bit random, because while we are in in image, it’s usually only just, as we love the place where we are to be the feature, or telling the story of where we are, who we’re with and what were doing. I

believe selfies are going to be the photos we keep, the ones we will love to look back at and smile because we are usually smiling in a selfie or we delete it.

5.Let’s start a picture print movement.

Let’s get some photos printed this week so that we can laugh at life caught in that moment in years to come.  If you’re like me all your photos are in your mobile phone and if you back them up and store in cloud someone might hack your password one day and find a cloud full of random people that no one knows.  

6. Laugh.

It doesn’t matter who with, family, friends or work colleagues, find something funny to share, maybe it’s at your teenage pictures or something you saw happen.  Laughter is great medicine, research shows over and over again that happiness and laughter is imperative to our wellness.

Go see a funny, feel good movie. A happy cry can do you so much good, releasing all the stress, sadness, anger and pent up feelings even if they don’t relate to the movie.

There are laughter therapy groups you can join where people get together and well, they just laugh.

7. Write down a few things you are grateful for.

leave your grateful list where you can read them regularly. I have a blackboard in my kitchen that I write motivational quotes etc, you know the ones people put on social media. I like them they make me stop and think. There is always something to be grateful for no matter how bad you feel or what you are going through at any given time.

Some people live without clean water or a roof over their heads and don’t know how they are going to eat their next meal. Even the smallest things we sometimes take for granted but recognising that we are grateful for the things we have or in some cases don’t have, is good for the soul. 

I hope this gives you a few ideas of how you can de-stress, laugh, relax and add some happiness into your life.

What are you grateful for?

Day Spa Review: La Perla San Sebastian

Donostia/San Sebastián Basque country.

Sebastian is a bucket list travel destination. If you’re into food, wine and scenery San Sebastian has it all and it’s been a popular destination for recuperation and beach holidays since the early 1900’s.

San Sebastian has an average rainfall of 222 days a year, which makes it understandable why La Perla Beach Pavilion was built for visitors and locals to enjoy the water and spa facilities in all weather.

Built in 1912 on the beach, literally rising out of the sand as if it were an elaborate sand castle, La Perla Talaso is a stately beach pavilion building on the shores of one of San Sebastian beach. Royal Queens spent months convalescing here and returned each summer to spend time in this picturesque area of Basque country for health and relaxation.

What goes on in a 1900’s beach pavilion in San Sebastian?

La Perla beach pavilion is a dignified, well kept beach Pavilion facility focused on health and fitness which encompasses a day spa, swimming pool and talaso therapy, which means medicinal use of seawater as a form of therapy and involves hot and cold water pools where some pools also have jets of water.

When I visited La Perla, unfortunately the swimming pool and most of the talaso therapy area was closed for renovations however it looked traditionally 1900’s style, which was well kept and very impressive.

The day spa La Perla Saud Estetica  in Spanish means, cheers and/or used to refer to good health as in Buena salud: good health. Estetica means the study or place of beauty and it was open. I was excited to experience some spa treatments from this region as I am always searching for spa ideas to introduce to ikatan Spa Noosa.

First impressions of La Perla Saud Estetica Ocean Day Spa.

La Perla Day Spa was exactly as the name suggested and understandably about the ocean, sea, sand and any thing that mentioned waves or water. One disappointing aspect was that the day spa was underground therefore no view of the beautiful beach it was designed around. I often find day spas are built in the worst areas of a building.

Apart from the waft of chlorine from the pool areas as we walked down the stairs to the spa, the treatment rooms were quiet and the aroma of essential oils was in the air throughout the change rooms and reception of this large underground labyrinth of hallways, doors and rooms.

The products used in the spa treatments were Thalgo and Spanish brand Natura Bisse and while I have worked with Thalgo, which is the perfect choice for a water themed day spa, I had read great things about the Spanish brand Natura Bliss but had not tried them.

I like to book spa treatments I have never experienced before.

On arrival at La Perla spa reception we were show to the change rooms to put on the proverbial white spa bathrobe, which are always one size fits no one and this robe was so heavy I felt like I was piggy backing someone down the hallway to the waiting room.

I dislike wearing bathrobes in public spaces and I despise how they don’t fit or cover people properly, it’s embarrassing and an uncomfortable start to a relaxing experience.

The robes are way to big for me and yet my husband who is a tall, well built man looks like he is wearing my clothes! The robe gapes open if he sits down, so he usually has to stand up, which is not conducive to comfort or relaxation.

ikatan stretch underwear or ill fitting paper pants

Under the robe is the ill-fitting disposable undies that seem to have two backsides and the smallest leg holes. This makes me feel like I am wearing granny bloomers from the 1900’s, maybe it’s part of the theme, but no, lots of day spas buy these bulk, cheap hideous underwear.

Day spas should give guest comfortable disposable underwear, it’s important for us to give ikatan spa guests appropriate stretch, boy leg disposable underwear for spa treatments. Our guests love them so much they wear them home and buy them from ikatan Spa to wear on long haul flights.

Communication charades about a spa treatment.

There are no client history details required prior to treatments at la Perla and I’m wondering how I am going to let my therapists know I have a back problem. My Spanish vocabulary is limited and a the few words I know only relate to ordering a wine, shopping prices or directions to the bathroom, so how will my therapist know I have a back problem?

Luckily my Therapists understands my Spanish greeting of ‘Hola’ as we are taken to our separate treatment rooms, but now she thinks I speak Spanish! Once in the treatment room the game of charades to explain my minor back issue seems to be understood.

Before me is a bed set up for my Polynesian Sandbag Massage with what looks like plastic blue heat packs at intervals along the bed and on the bench sits some cloth filled sand bags the size of a tennis ball, of course I squish them when the Therapist leaves the room, we know clients do this.

Polynesian sandbag massage in San Sebastian.

I lay on the bed and the warm bags feel nice but the one under my tummy makes it wobble, is that me or is it all the wine and food? As the Therapists starts the treatment she sprinkles sand over my skin then applies oil over the sand creating an exfoliation which is massages in a learnt, set pattern to replicate the waves washing on to the shore came to mind.

The sand is then brushed off, unsuccessfully; as you would brush yourself down to remove sand after being at the beach. Next the sand bags are used like a heated ball as the therapists rotates them awkwardly over my body which doesn’t achieve a lot but feels nice a warm.

The massage to my head, neck and shoulders finishes with some sand bag work around my neck area, this was my favourite part of the treatment and a nice way to finish.

I went to the beach on a spa treatment bed.

I give this Polynesian Sandbag Massage ten points for imagination but two points for effectiveness as there were far too many gimmicky aspects for it to be a of any benefit, but I got the concept of making me feel like I had been to the beach without going there. Though this concept didn’t really work as a spa treatment, it was a fun experience for a day spa owner but I would not recommend this treatment for a paying client wanting results.

South pacific spa treatments in a Basque 1900’s beach pavilion.

My husband enjoyed his Massage but we both thought it strange to have Polynesian treatments at a 1900’s day spa in San Sebastian.

Over lunch at the La Perla Beach Pavilion restaurant overlooking the beach we discussed and creatively invented spa treatments that would really embrace the history of San Sebastian, the spectacular beach area before us and show case the Basque culture rather than offer south pacific spa treatments in a cool, wet climate on the west coast of Spain in a grand beach pavilion.

We enjoyed the experience at La Perla and hope to return to San Sebastian where I will book the Natura Bisse facial and enjoy the Talaso therapy and I would recommend you do too if you ever go to San Sebastian.

I am always interested in other day spas and their treatments and sometimes it make me realise how loved our authentic our Balinese treatments at ikatan are and that we don’t have to have new treatments just the same great ones done exceptionally well.

We won’t be introducing a Polynesian Sandbag Massage to ikatan Spa, even though Noosa beaches are only a few minutes from ikatan Spa.

I am a paying guest at all day spas I review as Day Spa Oracle and the spas I visit are not aware of who I am, what I do or where I come from. I hope this helps you select day spas and treatments when you travel to the same places I do.

Experiences, it’s how we get to know others and ourselves.

Chi Massage for Stress

It seems only fitting, in the first month of the Chinese New Year, to tell you about the ikatan Spa Chi Massage Treatment because this massage has Chinese origins, hence the use of the Chinese word chi meaning energy.

I discovered the benefits of chi massage after experiencing an amazing transformation from feeling burnt out to chilled out after a 90 minute massage in Malaysia. The massage was supreme in so many ways that I booked in for two more chi massages and stayed awake so I could understand the entire concept and introduce it at ikatan Spa.

What is chi massage?

Chi massage is based on the Chinese elements of wood, fire,  earth, water and metal. Each of these elements has characteristics that become unbalanced when your body is suffering from stress, fatigue, mental or physical burn out, a depressed or overactive mind or a combination of these things.

More about the elements and essential oils used

We learn what your Chinese element influences are on the day of your chi massage treatment by asking three simple questions when you arrive at ikatan Spa. Your answers, and a special chi chart, allow us to work out the main imbalances, in your chi elements. We then prepare the appropriate essential oils for balancing the elements you specifically need help with.

What happens during a chi massage?

By preparing and using particular essential oils which balance each off the four elements, a natural shift comes about in your mind and body while we use a herbal compress and combination of massage styles during this treatment.

The herbal compresses are specially created to ikatan Spa requirements in Bali using natural dried herbs gathered into a cloth ball and tied with the extra cloth making a handle for us to hold when we apply the oil.

We start the Chi Massage Treatment by using a warmed herbal compress ball to apply your elemental aromatherapy oil blend in a slow rhythmical motion. As the oil goes on to the skin, the herbs in the compress ball work on body fatigue.

How does chi massage work?

Your Chinese elements also relate to a dominant meridian that’s also depicted on our chi chart. During the foot massage, which is included in the Chi Massage Treatment, we can then focus on massaging the governing reflex points in your feet. Along with your element essential oils being absorbed though the skin, inhaling their aroma and the soothing massage moves we use to calm your body and mind, you will feel yourself de-stressing, if you’re not already asleep.

Chi massage is unique to ikatan Spa

The massage moves and techniques I put together for our Chi Massage Treatment are different to the massages I experienced in Malaysia because I’ve studied many styles of massage, so this was an opportunity to combine the best of what I’ve learnt from different modalities.

Our chi massage incorporates the concept of Chinese elements with massage moves and techniques based on aromatherapy, Balinese and Hawaiian massage and Chinese reflexology with integrated chakra moves which I feel offer the best of each style for de-stressing.

When you’re exhausted, your body needs nurturing therefore this massage is slow, soothing, with light to medium pressure, and carefully structured so one move flows into another.

Why gentle massage is best for stress relief

We continually educate our clients to understand that when your body is under stress the last thing you need is a firm massage. I’m not sure where the concept of having a firm massage to relax came from but I wish it would go away!

Think about it like this; if your body is under stress of any kind why would you want to send a message of more stress to your body? When experiencing a firm massage your body responds to the pain caused by sending internal stress signals to your mind telling your body to prepare for more stress.

A gentle massage is definitely the best way to combat stress.

How long does a chi massage take?

The Chi Massage is popular and one of our favourite treatments to give clients but we prefer to have 90 minutes to perform this massage. There is a 60 minute Chi Massage available although we feel a little rushed. Part of Chi experience is the calming tinkle of Chinese medicine balls along with the smell of your balancing chi oil and if you have time to enjoy our 90 minute Chi Massage Treatment we’ll finish with a meridian scalp massage.

However long the massage lasts, the oil needs to be left on your skin for lasting benefits after your treatment, so ideally you’ll, have time to enjoy a drink prepared by your therapist and relax in our tropical gardens after your massage.

To prolong the feeling we also make and sell our Chi Massage aroma blends so clients can continue to use them at home.

Would you like to try a chi massage?

We find it interesting and rewarding seeing how our Chi Massage works on clients and are often amazed at how positively the Chi massage treatment effects us too as we breathe in the aroma of the essential oils and work to a slower rhythm, or even have a Chi massage ourselves!

If you’d like to book a Chi Massage for yourself or a loved one contact ikatan Spa now. Does this sound like the type of massage you need?

鸡年大吉 – Jínián dàjí – Lots of luck in the year of the rooster.

Where To Go in Paris for a Facial

I’m in Paris!

I’m in Paris at 8am after a long flight from Australia, it’s cold, wet and not the weather we had hoped for on our first visit to Paris. I was looking forward to the facial booked for later that day at a Spa by Biologique Recherche skincare. I was invited to visit this French anti-ageing skin care Spa as a proposal to take on the brand for ikatan Spa Noosa.

A bucket list for beauty therapist.

For many years French skin care products have been viewed as the best available and I had been contacted, chosen to experience an exclusive Parisian anti-ageing skincare range. This is a beauty therapist bucket list type event.

The Biologique Recherche Day Spa is on the Champs-Elysées in Paris and when I researched their skincare, Day Spa and location I was so excited to see the Parisienne heritage building where I was invited to experience an anti-ageing, French skincare facial.

First impressions.

The greeting I received on arrival at the Biologique Recherche Spa was a little blasé and unfriendly, considering I was invited to trial their skincare and had numerous emails back and forth to their head office to organise the booking.

I don’t speak French apart from a few food related menu items or ingredients, a few words relating to beauty treatments and the odd greeting phrase. So I put the lack of interest in me down to my lack of French, however it only takes a smile, which speaks a lot in any language.

Seated in the reception I look up to see a Therapist coming down the sweeping stairs as if entering a grand ballroom (that’s how big the reception was). In a smart white uniform comes my Facialist, Daniela, with a big smile, while saying my name ‘Katrina, nice to meet you, please come with me’ (to be said with a French accent).

The scary skin analysis

Biologique Recerche image

Daniella explains that she is going to be analysing my skin then explain the skincare needed, how it works and then the facial. I’m so looking forward to laying down during the facial, jet lag is kicking in by 4pm.

Most beauty therapists love and hate (at the same time) their skin being analysed, while we want to know the technical data we hope we get a big tick for caring for our skin correctly. It’s kind of a scary thing for most of us.

I use  Organic Nation and Environ skincare and know they are very good brands (as I selected these ranges for my day spa). I am diligent with twice daily skincare routines and really practice what I preach when it comes to looking after skin but I am still scared of what Daniela is analysing with the Skin Insta Lab.

I am tested for hydration of dermis, elasticity levels, sun damage and pigmentation plus epidermis texture and tone. Daniela is very happy with this Australian skin and tells me I score better than most French women…….for my age, is this a compliment or not?

Having a treatment is also about learning for spa therapists.

So excited to learn all about Biologique Recherche products as Daniela explains what each apothecary looking serum is going to do for my skin but it’s almost as if she is disappointed that she can’t make a big difference in my skin as she puts away another serum I was willing to have on my skin even though I don’t need it.

After I peel off the layers of clothes from the cold Paris day outside, I lay on a heated bed of white towels and think to myself ‘I am never going to stay awake’. While the treatment room is small for the size of the Day Spa, it’s white and clinical as I had expected of a Day Spa clinique that offers no massage but only anti-ageing face, thigh, arm and hand treatments.

Let the treatment begin.

Daniela tucks me in with towels and a blanket only exposing my décolletage and begins to cleanse my skin with her professional sweeping, thorough touch of a Facialist. I am in good hands as Daniela works her magic with sweet aromas of concocted cleansers and serums.
Before I start to drift in and out of blissful sleep, (as only a facial can deliver) I noticed she cleansed not only my face and neck but between my breasts and down the side of the breast near the armpit, which is often part of the procedure during a European style facial.

I believe you should receive thorough cleansing to this area of the chest as it’s an area that needs it. However it is not considered acceptable by a lot of Australian clients, who feel uncomfortable with this area cleansed during a facial, so you won’t find this practiced often in an Australian  salon or Spa.

I also think that educating clients with what we do during their treatments is very important so clients learn how to care for themselves at home and also what to expect from a professional experience from a Spa Therapist performing a facial.

My facial helps my jet lag symptoms.

facial paris

Biologique Recerche image

Facials are particularly good for calming stress, anxiety and in my case jet lag as the touch is working over the peripheral nerves around the face which is extremely calming.

If you can imagine the way a forehead is palmed when someone is sick or as we often do to a child. It’s instinctive to brush the forehead and face to calm someone or show affection and a facial gives the same calmness and sense of caring.

TIP: For quick fix calmness – If ever you are stressed or overthinking, try a facial as a way to calm the mind. Clients generally fall asleep in facials quicker than they do in a massage and we can see by the colour of the client’s skin, slower breathing and a softness on the face that your mind is at rest during a facial.

Daniela applies a delicate oil before she massages my face and décolletage, one of French word I can pronounce and understand. This sends me into a deep sleep. Daniela brings me back to the world with a cooler product on my skin before finishing my facial with eye serum and moisturiser.

I’m so relaxed I can’t move.

I don’t want to leave this white cocoon I am in with my near perfect skin, (for my age) as Daniela smiles at me and says ‘take your time’. I manage to sit up and slide my feet to the floor to get dressed into all the layers of clothes piled high on the chair.

I look in the mirror and like most women see all the faults in my skin but also see improvements of hydration and the traces of tiredness from a long flight and jet lagged eyes have gone. But, did Daniela really see what I can see, as my skin analysis report didn’t match the face in the mirror?

Thanks to my Jane Iredale mineral makeup I apply before leaving the room, I now look like I wear the skin Daniela’s analysis report showed about my face, but mostly I am extremely happy with knowing the skincare we provide for ikatan Spa clients is excellent.

The proof is in the skin.

Daniela reports, that I am living proof of the fact that the Environ skincare I use, along with the daily routine I give my skin, is why I have good skin, woohoo!

It also teaches me that we don’t need a French skincare product at ikatan Spa to be offering the best available skincare. The Environ and organic range we use for facials are fantastic, results driven products, because my skin was better than most French women of my age!

Don’t you just love people watching in Paris?

Sweeping down the ballroom stairs to reception with my near perfect skin, my husband is waiting for me, relaxing in one of the plush, oversized arm chairs. He looks up and smiles at me as if he has just seen the love of his life looking 10 years younger, but then I notice he was shifting his eyes from me to the reception desk at the same time to let me know to look at the reception desk. Well I did feel 10 years younger until I saw the other clients at reception, where my husband was trying to get my attention towards.

They had to be famous models or ‘kept women’ was a more likely scenario, as their style was not what I would call French, overly understated as stylish Parisians wear, it was more dare to wear, but why not, it’s Paris after all. With their leather mini skirts and sleek over the thigh suede boots to keep them warm. Versace style scarves under the perfectly, bouncy locks hanging down their backs and high end designer brand handbags, they were like a movie scene, (not movie stars). Then I realised my husband was trying to let me know the ladies also had minders outside waiting for them.

Personal receptionist.

While waiting to pay €125 ($180) for my 1 hour facial, I stood behind the designer ladies paying over €1,500 each for their treatment and bag of skincare, and heard the blasé receptionist speaking Russian and smiling at the designer ladies as they handed over their credit cards. Obviously the blasé receptionist was not there to greet me but a personal receptionist for certain other clients as she opened the door for them and their minders took the bags of shopping as they walked on to the Champs-Elysées.

I paid without the receptionist speaking to me, but Daniela popped out to say ‘au revoir Katrina’ as my husband opened the door for me to walk out on to the Champs-Elysées, as I didn’t need a minder or bodyguard.

biologique Resernche

Biologique Recerche image

I would have a facial again at Biologique Recherche if I go back to Paris and can recommend this Spa to you or to have a facial the day you arrive somewhere after travelling.

Book before you fly.

I realise after this experience how important it was to book ahead to enjoy this when I arrived after a flight. I found it to be a great jet lag remedy, plus, I looked and felt relaxed and so ready to enjoy the next three days in Paris with my near perfect skin.

At ikatan Spa Noosa we find a lot of people book treatments towards the end of their holiday but it is far better to have treatments at the beginning of a holiday as it helps you to recover and relax so that you can enjoy your holiday or business trip. Quite often people miss out on having treatments as Day Spas are fully booked on the day people had hoped to have treatments.

If you are travelling or in transit for long layovers at a hotel or airport, why not book in for a facial at an airport or Hotel Spa for a treatment and sleep at the same time? At least find a foot massage place for a recline in an armchair and a power nap while you have your feet massaged as it really helps your recovery time when you arrive at your destination.

I am a paying guest at all day spas I review as Day Spa Oracle at the spas I visit. I hope this helps you select day spas and treatments when you travel to the same places I do.

Experiences, it’s how we get to know others and ourselves.

 

7 Simple Ideas for Selfcare

Sometimes it’s you who deserves a little tender loving care or something to make you feel good, so that you can care for others. Of course you can book yourself into a day spa and we would love to see you at ikatan Spa, Noosa where you leave feeling and looking rejuvenated but there are also a lot of simple things you can do at home, between visits to the day spa or salon, that will give you almost the same feel good vibe.

1. Create some new routines to care for your body, mind and soul

We should all treat our body as if it’s the only one you have, because it is and for this reason we need to create some new things to benefit our body and it may be as simple as change of routine.

Walk a different way to work when you get out of the car, bus, train or tram and you will see new things and increase your walking.

Remove one thing each week which you know is of no benefit to your body, mind or soul and replace it with something that nourishes you. It might be something you drink or eat, a habit you know is toxic for your body or mind and it may even be spring cleaning friends that drain your energy. You’ll be surprised how easy this is to do and how good you feel.

2. Give your mind a rest

Meditation comes in many forms and is a very personal practice, know that you don’t have to sit cross legged on the floor to meditate. You can find your own way to ‘still your mind’ and the benefits are numerous. Switching off your busy brain is not always easy but you could try some of the following suggestions:

Light candles, play soft background music and soak in a warm bath, with or without wine, you can get organic wine if that eases your conscience. This allows both your mind and your body to relax and rejuvenate.

TIP: I love to soak in a bath where I have added 1/2 a cup of pure magnesium flakes as the benefits of magnesium absorbed through the skin is beneficial at a cellular level for general wellbeing. About 30% of magnesium you take orally is absorbed through the gut so bathing in it gives me greater benefits than what I take in a vitamin.

3. Walk in a place you love to be

Noosa Waters Canals

Go with your dog or listen to music. If you walk the same place often you will meet the same people, they will smile at you, then say ‘Hello’ to you and you may even meet new interesting people and become friends.

You will be amazed at how like minded people tend to hang out in the same places for the same reasons. It’s part of belonging to a community and humans have better quality of life when they are part of a community. It’s a great way to meet people if you’re new an area.

4. Creative arts such as painting, drawing, colouring or knitting

They say ‘knitting is the new yoga’, well I saw this post on Facebook so it must be true, I knit most evenings, which started out as helping a charity project and while it relaxes me I am also being creative and productive, which kind of sums me up and I love it.

Maybe you’re you into colouring in, it’s seen to be a type of meditation because it takes your mind somewhere else, which is therapeutic and also creative.

5. Dancing releases happy endorphins

You don’t have time to think about anything else except your next steps when you dance and it releases happy endorphins while being great exercise, plus it’s an opportunity to throw on a special outfit and go out and dance with others who love to dance. Why not stay home to dance to music you love, songs that just sings to you that instantly takes you to a place, time and memory as if it were yesterday.

6. Be unplugged

Switch off your phone, computer and TV and have a techno free day. Oh I love this, permission to checkout of the online world, it’s  guaranteed to give you a feeling of amazing freedom.

Did you know that there are places that advertise ‘no wifi’ so that people have permission to switch off. Best recommendation I can make, from experience, is to go on a cruise ship as they have such bad wifi, you give up trying to use it.

There are some cruise ships which are total Retreat Cruises with no technology and all about being on a floating Retreat. I would love to review a Retreat Cruise.

7. Focus on the breathe, deeply and slowly

I know everyone says it and at times I feel like shouting out in the yoga class “I am breathing but not in, when you say in, and not out, when you say out”. You can deep breath anywhere, anytime and I prefer to do it, not in a yoga class where someone is telling me to breath because I am trying to stay in the yoga pose not think about breathing that I do all the time easily without being reminded.

I can highly recommend slow deep breathing while waiting in a line and feeling frustrated, driving or waiting in the car or train and it’s fantastic to do on a flight. Try deep breathing when you feel stressed as it’s the quickest on the spot, de-stressing solution when you’re in a situation that puts you under stress. There’s always a positive side to anything and treating your breathing as some ‘me time’ is really positive, try it. If I can do it you can.

What can you change today about your routine, rest, walk, creativity, dance, unplug and breathing to help you destress anywhere anytime?

Bali Spa Review – Maya Sanur, where I discovered…

I am often asked by friends and ikatan Day Spa, Noosa clients to recommend ‘good’ day spas. They ask for recommendations in Bali particularly, since ikatan is a Balinese day spa, but also in Australia and around the world.

What defines ‘good’ is hard to determine and I’ve always been reluctant to recommend day spas because they change frequently and everyone has a different expectation and budget for their ideal day spa experience.

However, my recommendations are based on quality, service and experience. I hope this helps you find a ‘good’ day spa.

Booking treatments at Maya Spa

We booked a couples massage in a double room for our first visit to the spa and when we arrive for a couples massage they only had my husband booked! (maybe they thought he wanted a couple of Therapist)? We then had to wait 30 minutes for my Therapist to arrive. Apologies were made and accepted as we were in no rush and happy to wait.

Welcome drink – a delicious lemongrass iced tea, little if any sugar. Big tick for this one as most spas in Asia serve up a sugary concoction that is not drinkable.

I had a female therapist and my husband was given a male therapist. Sometimes male Therapists are booked for male clients in Bali, if you’re male and prefer a female Therapist, request a female therapist at time to booking. In Australia we find that most men prefer female, but in Asia, particularly Japan, male Therapists care for men.

Before we left the Maya spa I booked for a spa package a few days later, planned for when my husband was booked to play golf.

Selecting treatments

I like to select treatments that we don’t have at ikatan Spa, always in search of inspiration for something new or a different.

At the Maya Spa, Sanur I opted for putting together my own package as I could not understand what was included in the package descriptions, full of fluffy and vague text with no mention of a massage or facial. My pet hate for spa menus, is confusing the guest as I think the customer should understand what they are booking, paying for and receiving. I selected a Rejuvenating Anti-ageing massage, Organic facial and a Citrus Body Polish.

Service with care and a smile

After a welcome drink my friendly Balinese therapist escorts me upstairs to a nice treatment room and explains to put on the disposable undies, sarong and hotel slippers.

The spa undies in Bali always make me smile as they fit no-one but are meant to fit everyone. I must remember to bring a few pairs of the boy pant undies we use at ikatan Spa, they are so comfortable that ikatan guests wear them home or buy a few pairs for travelling after their massage.

After I show off my sarong skills with a stylish twist and wrap and put on the enormous slippers that my feet slide straight through, I shuffle across the floor a few metres away to My Therapist where a foot bowl, with hot water for my feet awaits.

Spa package

I am so ready for my massage, but no, I sit on the tiny stool in the corner of the room while my therapists scrubs my feet with salt, I am thinking, how do bigger or taller people sit on this stool. I love a foot treatment, however when it comes out of your massage time, it really annoys me, as I want the full massage time I am lead to believe I have booked and will pay for. I find spa menus rarely say ’60 minute massage including foot soak’ but before you know it you have your feet in a bowl.

Rejuvenating Anti-ageing massage 60 minute $120

This massage was everything I had hoped it would be. Relaxing, medium to firm pressure with traditional Balinese long flowing, palming strokes of my skilled Therapist’s hands.

I drifted off with the sweet perfume of the anti-ageing balm soothing my skin. Let’s hope I have found the answer to younger skin combined with a massage, my idea of perfection. I lay there enjoying the massage as my mind ticks over as to how I will add an improved version of anti-ageing massage to the treatment menu at ikatan Spa.

A completely Anti-ageing focused massage is now available at ikatan spa Noosa.

Citrus Body Polish 45 minutes $80

While this body treatment was included in facial time, I loved the feel of the cool white clay on my body, but I don’t think it did much for my skin. It had a hint of orange aroma and was applied over my entire body. I believe a body treatment should always include the breast and stomach, which are very important parts of our body for stress relief, skin conditioning or therapeutic treatments and are always included in Balinese Spa treatments.

While cocooned with the citrus clay over my entire body, in a soft disposable fabric, which was like a giant chux super wipe, the clay began to dry on my skin. As soon as a product dries it is no longer actively doing anything unless the intention is to have it buffed from your skin, which didn’t happen, so I didn’t see the purpose of this treatment and it had no effect on my skin, however I enjoyed the aroma.

Organic Facial 60 minutes $120

I usually shy away from facials in Bali as the Therapist’s training is not of the same standard as Australia, but at a good day spa in a luxury resort I thought why not add a facial, plus it was Pevonia skincare, a brand I knew and trusted.

I had no facial consultation as to what my skin needed, so I am not sure how the Therapist knew what products to prepare. There were so many little glass bowls with carefully measured quantities of product.

Many spas and salons prepare treatments in this way to prevent having to carry a lot of stock or guests helping themselves to products by popping them in their hand bag before they leave the room.

Each time a product was applied to my skin, my therapist would then leave me while she loudly washed the bowl, ran the hot water, forever, to wash out the facial sponges and towels, all of which was noisy, annoying and far from relaxing. I know it is time saving and cost effective for the resort but I am paying a lot of money for this time and experience to de-stress, yet the entire facial felt rushed, noisy and far from relaxing.

Washing up in the treatment room and preparing facial towels with a guest on a a bed is rude and not necessary, but it seems to be the norm in Bali. If this ever happens to you tell the spa receptionist on the way out, that it was not relaxing. By giving feedback, you can help me with the day spa silent treatment movement.

There’s always a positive with every negative.

However, I try to see the positive and lay there thinking that I’m so pleased at ikatan Spa that we offer facials that are fully prepared before the treatment, so that ikatan Spa guests have only the sound of music to help them drift off to sleep during treatments.

Lessons learne

For me to have a less than an enjoyable treatment, well there are always lessons to be learned and ideas of things not to do in my business, but I think to myself, this day spa treatment could be a person’s first spa experience and would it inspire them to book another spa treatment somewhere else? Not likely.

I believe people like to have a facial to see a difference in their skin, enjoy an extensive face and scalp massage and relax. There was nothing about this facial that I could not have done myself and I was particularly disappointed that I received hardly any face or scalp massage, the most relaxing part of a facial and you can’t do this yourself at home.

Back to the body treatment

After a shower to wash off the dry citrus body polish I lay on the bed naked all but a little hand towel on my bottom, that made me feel like my bum can’t be that big if she just grabbed a hand towel!

Then my Therapist applied a cool body cream over the back of my body, turned me over with a quick, unique hand towel transition to cover me across the bikini line while more body cream smothers the front of my body, cool but nice.

I love the way a body, my body, is treated by a Spa Therapist, as the most natural way to be and taken for granted that all is exposed to the professional who takes no notice of shape, size, colour or individuality of each body, it’s the Balinese way and it’s accepted, just as it is at ikatan Spa and most other day spas.

If your body conscious, tell your therapist or don’t book a body treatment.

My Therapist wipes my feet and says ‘excuse me Ibu (Mrs, Ms, Miss) your treatment is finished’. I get dressed and she takes me down to the reception area where I am served another drink and some average looking fruit which I didn’t eat.

There was no relaxation area but I was in a resort so I don’t feel it was required as the main pool is close by and a non-smoking area. Perfect for relaxation.

Would I have another treatment at Maya Spa?

 Yes, I would have the Rejuvenating Anti-ageing massage or a Balinese massage as they were both eexcellent treatments. I would not have the body treatment and definitely not have a facial

More often than not people think Day Spas in Bali are cheap, however you get what you pay for in Day Spas, just as you do in a hotel, no matter where in the world you are.

I am a paying client at all day spas reviewed as Day Spa Oracle and they are not aware of who I am, what I do or where I come from. I like it this way, it’s nice to just be me.

I hope this helps you select day spas and treatments when you travel to the same places I do. I have a list a mile long of spas I have been to and will be posting my reviews about for you to be able to have a relaxing spa experience.

Experiences are how we get to know ourselves and others.

Let me know of any places or day spas you like or would like to know about.

Do You Need a Wellcation?

‘Wellcation’  it’s a vacation to restore your wellness.

Some call it a healthy holiday, others a retreat but the latest catch phrase is ‘wellcation’ and they are all about the same type of escape where you recharge, rejuvenate and restore your body, mind and soul in a place that offers healthy food, a clean environment and places that provide relaxation and activities such as yoga and spa treatments.

The new health trend.

It seems to be the latest trend, however Noosa has always been a destination for relaxation and healthy lifestyle and for over 15 years ikatan Spa has been the place to go to for some much needed care and time out.

The trend towards a wellcation is largely due to the fact that people live such busy, stressful lives and vacations have to be spent restoring health to be able to keep up the pace of the life they will return to. Healthy Holidays are also about making the most of the time you have to slow down, sleep better, clear your mind and rejuvenate your body.

What do people do on a wellcation?

Escape somewhere nice, usually for about three nights and include time at a day spa, a quiet place to stay, places to walk or swim,  a place to do yoga and activities like stand-up paddle boarding or walking, eat healthy and most of all catch up on sleep and reading as the desired list of a wellcation inclusions.

Some people are into detoxing while others like to drink good wine and coffee and as long as you find it relaxing and de-stressing then it’s going to work for you.

Techno down time.

Try to have some technology free time on a wellcation by doing activities where you won’t or can’t take your laptop, phone or ipad. People survived well without devices before they were invented and it’s easy to put an ‘out of office’ on emails and post an ‘I’m having a week off social media’ on your social media sites.

If you had a long haul flight, a stay in a no wifi zone area or hospital for a week the world you live in would survive without you in it. I say this quite often to people and it makes them realise it is ok to check out of your busy world once in a while.

Benefit of day spa retreat.

A popular inclusion for Wellcation’s, or for those who can only escape for a day, is a Retreat Day which are only offered at ikatan Spa Noosa.  Imagine a day dedicated to restoring mind, body and soul, an all inclusive personalised day like no other, because we are not all the same.

Escape on your own, with a friend or partner and all you have to do is contact ikatan Spa and one of our co-ordinators will organise everything for you with one phone call or via email. 

Busy people need a spa co-ordinator.

Book a spa retreat where Some people are so overwhelmed with their life and work that they don’t have time to think about booking a break for themselves let alone think about what they want to do before they get there. That’s when you need to contact a business who will organise everything for you.

TIP: The other option is to give yourself a day off when you arrive in your chosen destination to just plan what you want to do during your time away. You will need to pre book some special occasions such as day spa but there are plenty of activities you can book the day before such as standup paddle lesson.

Extend your stay.

If you have time and want to extend your time in Noosa or Sunshine Coast area there are many personal trainers, gyms and yoga classes in the area that offers bespoke fitness and lifestyle packages for a few hours to organising an entire healthy holiday for you.

TIP: You will also find the Sunshine Coast an easy place to find healthy, vegan, organic cafes and stores to buy amazing food or book a private chef to cook for you or give you a private cooking class.

No mater where you live or your budget you can have a Wellcation dedicated to what you need to restore your sanity by checking out of your day to day life and checking into somewhere that you can totally relax, doing the things that make you feel happy and healthy.

Caring for yourself is not indulgent, it’s survival. 

What would you like to include for your wellcation?

Under Arm Detox for Breast Health

Women sharing with women.

Why During October we promoted breast health at ikatan Day Spa by making Under Arm Detox kits which our clients could take home for a donation to a local Breast Cancer Charity. The Under Arm Detox kits were so popular and thank you for the generous donations.

I love how women support other women for a good cause and share information with each other for the good of others and this alone inspired me to share this blog. The interest from women at ikatan spa about the detox kits, as well as the information and recipe about under arm detoxing that we shared through our in spa promotion, education and social media were a great success.

In preparing the detox kits I researched a lot of information about clays, detoxing and how it relates to breast tissue and cancer. I am on the board of a local Breast Cancer Charity which is another reason I want to help others, as I understand what women go through with breast cancer and because we see first hand at ikatan Spa how many beautiful women and their families are effected by breast cancer.

I found a great detox recipe.

Amongst a lot of technical research I also found the best recipe for a simple, practical underarm detox from Wellness Mama blog  who is a Mum in the USA with a wellness interest for everything she does for her family and friends and her information and recipe is a great simplified explanation, which I have shared with you here.

True but scary story of how connected your body is.

My daughter put an “off the shelf” chemist permanent hair colour in her hair when she was 20 years old. She called me and said ‘Mum the colour I put on my hair has come out under my arms and also in a patch on my stomach near my belly button’.

I used to be a hairdresser and had never seen or heard of this but was well aware of the chemicals in that type of cheap packet hair colour (as opposed to professional hairdressing hair colour) and as a Spa Therapist, also trained in Vodder Lymphatic Drainage, I knew that the toxic hair colour must have travelled in a matter of hours via the lymphatics system to the areas where there were a lot of lymph nodes. Her body was trying to dispose of the toxic substance.

Our lymphatic system is efficient but my daughters experience is pretty scary stuff and one of the other reasons I have an interest in researching underarm detox, as my daughter, 13 years later, still has a stain on her skin under her arm and on her belly, ironically where a group of big lymph nodes are.

To me, this story about my daughter is proof in itself how fast and invasive toxic chemicals can travel in our lymphatic system and why I want you to throw away toxic deodorants, do an under arm detox and buy a healthy deodorant.

Conventional deodorants and antiperspirants contain a variety of chemicals and additives. It takes something unnatural to block the body’s natural ability to sweat, and the chemical list in some deodorants is scary. Here are some of the ingredients found in deodorants that should be avoided.

Do not buy deodorant with these ingredients.

  • Aluminium– some evidence links aluminium to cancer and Alzheimer’s
  • Phthalates– Endocrine disruptors that can cause hormone imbalance and even infertility
  • Propylene glycol– antifreeze, additive in personal care products for the fact that it carries a risk of immunotoxicity and allergies.
  • Formaldehyde- a known carcinogen, guess it kills the germs though.
  • Parabens- Another hormone disruption have been found in biopsied tissue with breast cancer
  • Antibacterial Substances- are endocrine disruptors and can negatively affect the immune system

Why is toxic deodorant such a big deal?

Lymphatics are a major part of your immune system and they are an independent next work that runs throughout your body and I have heard it call the garbage collection system of the body. The lymphatic system consists of organs, ducts, and nodes which transports a watery clear fluid called lymph. This lymph fluid distributes immune cells and other factors throughout the body.

Lymphatic system also interacts with the circulating blood to drain fluid from cells and tissues and putting endocrine disruption chemicals directly into your body via the arm pit where there are a lot of lymph nodes can be detrimental and may effect your hormones and suppress immune function.

The largest organ of your body is your skin.

What touches our skin can easily enter our bloodstream and with skyrocketing rates of breast cancer, it would seem sensible to avoid the above toxic chemicals.

A great advantage to doing an armpit detox, besides that it helps speed up the natural deodorant adjustment period, is that it might help pull some of these chemicals out of the skin and tissue of the armpits. This can be especially helpful after years of conventional deodorant use.

Recipe to Detox Your Arm Pits.

  • 1 tablespoon bentonite clay
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 teaspoons of water (to get right consistency)

Instructions.

Mix all of the ingredients in a glass bowl (do not use metal!) with a wooden or non-metal spoon until it is about the consistency of sour cream.

  • Spread in an even layer over the armpits and allow to sit for 5-20 minutes.
  • I suggest starting slowly and working up to a longer period of time once you see how your body adjusts. If it hurts at all, remove immediately.
  • This may cause some redness as it will increase blood-flow to the area, but it will go away quickly.
  • Wash off in the shower or with a warm, wet washcloth.
  • Repeat daily or as needed until under-arm odour goes away and natural deodorant is non-irritating.

Thanks to the Wellness Mama blog for sharing this information and recipe.

put your hand up for detoxing under arms and better breast health.

5 Reasons Why Facials are More Relaxing Than a Massage.

Beauty is skin deep, it shows in a person’s skin, how they feel within, especially when you are stressed.

You can’t hide how you feel, it show in your face, so why wouldn’t you want to feel good, happy, relaxed and have it reflect in your face? Well, we have the solution for you and it’s as simple as booking yourself in to a tranquil place for a facial regularly and you will be amazed how different you will feel and look.

1.Why facials are more relaxing than a massage.

Facials can be more relaxing than a massage, they are also about creating ‘inner peace’ which reflects a serene appearance on your face immediately after a facial. As opposed to a massage where having your head facing down causes your sinuses to block and your face to be squashed into a head rest while having the back of your body massaged. Yet people tend to shy away from facials in preference for a massage when wanting to destress and relax.

I believe it’s a lack of education or information from the beauty industry to the main stream media about informing people of the advantages of a facial rather than a massage when you need to relax. Guests at ikatan spa go into a deep relaxation or sleep during facials and the type of rest they gain during the facial time can transform them from stressed to rest in less than an hour.

Spa packages usually include a facial as they are a main component for relaxing the mind, scalp, facial muscles and breathe. There are still some people who are scared of having facials as they think it will purge the skin and cause breakouts but facials are not as they used to be.

2.Facials don’t cause breakouts.

Decades ago, facials were all about extractions, steaming and purging skin, leaving skin looking blotchy and bruised after a facial. Facial products were not as refined as they are today and technology in making skin care product was not as high tech as it is today.

Facial products, training and techniques used today have changed facials, products and procedures compared to what was used years ago and now are all about desensitising, calming, hydrating, balancing and nourishing your skin.

While the skincare products used today are all about achieving results in the form of calming skin, dissolving away surface dead skin and adding hydration to attain beautiful skin. While all the scientific products, organic ingredients and precious oils transform your skin aromatherapy and skilled hands helps your relaxation.

A well educated and knowledgable Therapist plays a great part in the results you will see in your skin. While you might expect this to be a therapist that is industry experienced, some of the therapists new to working in the industry are trained well at college and have know the latest techniques and information.

The magic that skin Therapists work with their soothing hands while using advanced skincare products and specialised aroma oils to deliver effective anti-ageing treatments are all combined in one facial at ikatan Spa to offer immediate stress relief. Skin Therapists can feel you slipping into deep relaxation, while your breathing slows and you drift to inner peace, releasing facial muscle tension as well as your mind and stress.

3.Sounds so good, I need that, so how does it work?

During a facial Therapists use a lighter, softer touch in repetitive rhythmical patterns over the peripheral nerve endings on and around the face and scalp.

The peripheral nerves are important structures in the body that carry information from the brain and spinal cord out to the muscles to initiate movements and then to also carry sensory information back from the extremities and other tissues to the spinal cord. This brain and sensory touch exchange from soft repetitive movements simply sends a message of calm to your mind and it shows in your face.

4.Facials can make you look younger, relaxed and in love.

You know how people have a different look about them when they are in love, pregnant or just back from a holiday? When those relaxed, happy vibes are just too good to hide. Well, facials can give you that look too. You will certainly be in love with a facial once you have a facial with good skin care, a skilful facialist and a caring massage. If you can’t find time for a holiday, go have a facial and see how good you look and feel. Having a facial when you’re expecting a baby can help control hormonal skin, give you some comfortable relaxation time and enhance your pregnancy glow.

5.Any time is a great time to have facials or skin treatments 

Cooler months are particularly good time for a facial if you live in a sunny location due to less chance of sun exposure when having intensive peels or skin treatments. Winter is also a season to snuggle up where it’s cosy and warm on a soft treatment bed relaxing while you enjoy a rejuvenating treatment that leaves you looking and feeling de-stressed.

We use and recommend Environ cosmeceutical 100% vitamin skincare for anti-ageing and for those who love organic products we also offer Organic Nation skincare for all facial treatments at ikatan Spa.

Try a facial next time you need some inner peace.

Shoulder and Neck tension from Your Handbag?

Do you have neck and shoulder tension? 

Do you put everything in your bag and sling it over your shoulder, taking it everywhere you go just in case you might need something? Tight neck and shoulders are just some of the the problems your heavy handbags maybe causing.

The over-sized handbags causes ‘Poshitis‘.

Poshitis is the term coined by medics for the problems cause to the body by oversized handbags. Posh spice is being named as responsible for making the oversized handbag a trend and Poshitz refers to women spraining or tearing muscles and tendons due to heavy bags. 

Most of us carry and love our big handbags as it seems to make life easier and more sense if we carry everything we might need and it’s convenient to carry our everyday requirements with us at all times.

Is your Handbag worth it's weight?

Some handbags are as large as a small child and just as heavy. Do you realise that carrying a large heavy shoulder bag can cause long term damage to your neck, shoulder, back and hips?

The weight of a heavy bag will drag your shoulder downward, straining the muscles on your neck and shoulder, while at the same time your posture from carrying your bag, pulls your shoulder forward. When you carry a bag, your neck leans away from the weight to help your body stabilise the load from your bag and this causes neck tension.

Or you might hunch (raise your shoulder up and forward) to hold the weight of the bag which contracts the muscles in the neck and upper shoulder creating a lot of tension. As your body tries to counter balance this weight by adjusting the back and hip in a raised position on one side to cope with the weight in the handbag, the other side of your torso tightens and shortens for support and strength. Sound terrible but women do it all the time.

Symptoms that your bag is too heavy.

Have you ever experienced constant pain in the shoulder and neck or tingling in and around the neck and shoulders, an isolated dull, cold feeling in the shoulder or neck when carrying your bag?

Ever noticed pins and needles, numbness in your arm and hand or headaches that are persistent? These are the signs that it may be time to down size your bag or carry less weight. Ideally, the weight of the handbag should range between 2-3% of the person’s body weight and your welcome to use this as an excuse to buy a new handbag!

Unload the load but keep everything you need with you?

Get another bag and balance the load by carrying it in your other hand. I often have a small bag inside my big bag and just take the small bag with you, leaving the other bag behind if you don’t need it. In the car I have a basket in the boot where I unload what I don’t require when I go to the Supermarket, shopping or to meetings. Alternatively dump the big handbag and grab the empty basket instead.

When I travel I always have a bag in a bag.

I have a small shoulder bag with a long strap containing the basics I need all the time and I place that over my head and across my body because caring a bag this way is a little kinder on the body. I then spread the load of necessities into my bigger bag that fits under the seat and my carry on case with 4 wheels so that I don’t have to drag it along behind me on two wheels, which pulls on your shoulder too.

Weight soon adds up to heavy load when I pack my laptop, iPad, travel size skin products, kitchen sink and the pantry snacks, oh and a few wardrobe items, like a wrap, just in case I get cold or have to sit on a chair that leaves a pattern on the back of your legs! (who designs those chairs???).

Carry-on luggage restrictions are actually a good thing as I unload into my pull along but still have to take the big bag to have by my feet during a flight, just in case I need anything when travelling.

Most women have tight neck and shoulders.

During pre-treatment consultations at ikatan spa, upper body is by far the most requested area by women, that needs the attention.

I like to tell women that this is because ‘we hold the weight of the world on our shoulders’.  When in actual fact it’s often the weight in our handbags being held on our shoulders and us being fashion victims, or carrying our world with us in that bag, that is causing major issues with neck, shoulder, back and hip problems as a contributing factor.

Working with bodies for a long time, I have seen the problems and imbalances through the body are common in most people and it is not hard to work out the repetitious action that causes the problems.

It’s hard for people to break a the way they do everyday movements and it takes a long time for the body to restore or repair the damage that has been caused after you change your habit causing the problem. However it’s not impossible to recover from an injury as the body is incredibly self sufficient at healing if you have treatment and do the necessary exercise to correct the body.

Easy and effective ways to release tension.

Regular Stretching  the area of concern is usually an effective way you can do a lot of the corrective work for yourself to balance and relieve tension. Seek professional medical advice from a Physiotherapists or Osteopath and if you go to a gym, pilates or yoga ask the trained staff to show you some stretches to balance your neck, shoulders, back and hips. Weight training, Pilates or Yoga will help to balance your body and stretch the areas that are tight as well as strengthening the areas that are weak.

Regular professional help.

Massage is always great for relaxing muscles but don’t expect your tension to disappear with one or two massage treatments as it usually takes consistent massage over a few months to make a difference to your body. General rule is ‘it takes time to fix an issue but generally you will notice a difference if you consistently treat the problem after 4 weeks, a marked improvement at 6 weeks and further improvements after 3 months.

I hope this helps you down size your bag and happy shopping for a new smaller bag and basket!