Our guide to some of the best beauty treatments available in Cheshire

Our guide to some of the best (and some of the more unusual) beauty treatments available in Cheshire Compiled by Amanda Griffiths

Hammams and rasul mud

The popularity of hammams, either one tiled steam room or a suite of steam rooms and pools for communal use, is on the rise. A traditional Turkish hammam usually offers many different rooms and chambers each offering different water-based benefits similar to Roman baths, but in this country hammans are more likely to be a single room where therapists offer treatments including luxurious and rigorous soap-wash and short massage with essential oils, depending on where you go. Rasul (rhassoul) mud treatments are also offered in these types of rooms.

Either alone or in a couple you enter this steam room, slather on muds, usually colour coded for different areas of the body and sit for around 15 minutes while the steam and mud work their magic to leave skin feeling soft and cleansed. A rain shower often on a timer brings the treatment to a close and washes the mud off your skin. Hammans and rasuls are often used before more traditional massage treatments to help you relax.

Hot stones, lava shells and bamboo massage

Hot stone massages, where smooth water-heated basalt stone are either applied to key points on the body or used by a massage therapist to massage your skin, are great to relax you but also the heat targets arching muscles in a way the fingers can’t. Lava shells however are the newest craze for massages using heat thanks to a recent profile on The Apprentice.

The shells are tiger striped clam shells from the Philippines into which the therapist inserts a sachet of algae minerals and dried sea kelp and adds a liquid to activate the ingredients which heats the shell up. Although not a traditional ‘heat’ treatment, bamboo massage is also great for people who like a warming effect on the skin. Different lengths and thickness of bamboo are rolled over your body during this massage; the friction between the bamboo, the skin and the therapist’s hands creates a warm feel. It sounds uncomfortable but it’s really quite pleasant.

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Each spa brand has its own variety of body wraps designed to target specific concerns. Most spa wraps use the core adjectives, slimming, detoxifying, relaxing and revitalising to describe their wraps. Some start with a full body exfoliation and end with a massage; others can be combined with water floatation therapy for a truly relaxing effect. All see the client ‘mummified’ –usually in foil or towels before showering off the products used during the wrap. Be prepared to ‘bare’ almost all, due to the messy nature of this treatment; although you are given a throw-away pair of paper pants to cover your modesty.

Fish pedicures

The latest beauty craze sweeping the nation. The idea is that you put your feet in a fish tank where hundreds of fish eat away at the hard skin on your feet. They’re not any old fish though, they’re Garra Rufa, also known as the ‘doctor fish’ which originate from Turkey and target only unhealthy or dead skin. Research has also shown that they can help with skin conditions such as psoriasis. Rather than feeling like a shoal of piranha attacking you, the feeling is no more aggressive that the bubbles in a Jacuzzi.

Concept or prescription facials

Anti-ageing, rejuvenating, brightening; three of many choices you’ll have when it comes to prescription facials; basically when a therapist will assess your skin and diagnose which of the spas facials would be best for you.

Most facials last between 15 minutes and two hours and usually feature the same elements; light massage of your face, neck and shoulders with skin cleansed, toned and moisturised; masks are usually applied with a scalp massage often taking place while it does its work.

Concept facials may also include acupressure of light pressure point massage; light electrical pulses to stimulate your circulation and help products penetrate your skin, hot stones laid on the skin or used as part of the facial massage and hot towels and compresses scented with essential oils. The therapist should talk you through the facial and its stages before they start, asking you about any skin concerns. At the end of the day you should come away with soft, glowing, healthy skin, whichever facial you choose.

Body contouring

Alizone Therapy is a successful medically designed and supervised programme which helps transform your body size and shape without any surgery.

Available at the Court House Clinic in Wilmslow, clients follow a prescribed diet as well as attending the clinic on a weekly basis for skin and connective tissue therapy which is performed using a special piece of machinery using ultrasound technology, which stimulates the cells beneath the skin with are activated into producing new collage and elastic fibres which in turn help firm and tighten the skin. Case studies show that clients have lost from six to 12 kg per month with this treatment.

Painless permanent hair removal

The Soprano treatment is the next generation of virtually painless hair removal, and is designed to remove unwanted hair faster, more comfortably and with fewer visits. Available at the Manor Skin Spa in Hale, after only a few treatments you will be left with silky smooth skin and be freed from the horrors of daily shaving, painful plucking and expensive waxing.

This laser is suitable for all skin types, and is perfect for sensitive areas of the body including the face, neck and bikini area, and has no recovery or down time. The price is variable dependant on the area for treatment, and the amount of sessions you will require is generally between six and twelve.

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