It started with a crick in my neck.
I ignored it, obviously, treating it with the casual scorn we reserve for a malfunctioning body part.
Then I went surfing, flailing about with wild abandon in the sea. My neck and shoulder revolted; joining forces to render me stiff, creaky and sore for three days.
When an email ping delivered an invitation to try an intriguing new menu of luxury treatments at the Hayfield Manor’s Beautique Spa, I was coming around to the idea that maybe #selfcare isn’t such a fluffy notion after all.
In an industry full of protocol and time restrictions, The Beautique Spa have done something unusual; they’ve given their team of therapists the freedom to tailor their very own signature treatment.
“As individuals, each member of the spa team presents with various strengths and passions and we wanted to explore and develop these further.” says Spa Supervisor (and Irish Tatler’s Best Therapist of 2018) Rachel O’Malley.
Each one-of-a-kind treatment offers a remedy, whether you let Mags take you on a 90-minute restorative reiki and reflexology journey (this one includes a grooming pedicure) or you choose Maria’s Rose Infused Ritual; a deeply relaxing back massage, Indian head massage and Rose Restore foot massage with individualised crystal stone placement for positive energy.
I’m immediately drawn to Rachel’s The Wellness Ritual; a two-hour, €200 extravaganza of pampering focused ‘on the elimination of the physical presence of stress and anxiety in the body’.
She has her work cut out for her, I say to myself, popping another Panadol.
Discreet luxury is what the Hayfield Manor does best. Having left a meeting in town not 15 minutes earlier, by 11am I am happily bubbling away in the hotel’s outdoor jacuzzi like some kind of Russian oligarch.
By the time Rachel comes to find me, I’m already feeling much brighter (and richer)… and the treatment hasn’t even started yet.
And then it begins.
For the next hour, my poor mistreated and neglected skeleton is treated to a Muscle Melting Back Massage that does exactly what it says on the tin. Bliss.
Next up is an Aromatherapy Facial Massage – in my experience, one of the fastest-acting tricks to de-puffing the face and sharpening up your cheekbones.
Rachel explains that we often hold stress in our 42 face muscles. Gentle massage and pressure encourages lymphatic drainage, helping to get rid of excess fluid and toxins.
With my freshly massaged mug safely slathered in a moisturising mask, Rachel moves on to the Frangipani Head, Neck & Scalp Treatment, a gentle kneading which not only improves blood flow to the scalp, improving hair growth, but also instantly dissipates any remaining built-up tension in my neck and shoulders.
Lastly (just when I’m beginning to wonder how long I’ve been hiding out in here) Rachel continues the treatment with a mini reflexology session and finishes with a foot scrub.
By the time the tiny bell rings to invite me back to reality, I am dreamy, lightheaded and happy; particularly because the strain in my neck has all but vanished.
Face freshly de-puffed, muscles thoroughly and expertly melted, I glide back into reality feeling like I’ve been away for a week. The serene effects continue all weekend.
As Rachel gently explains, everything’s connected; sometimes we ignore tension, stress and injury until it manifests in a painful new problem in order to get our attention.
If you’re seeking a way to stop it in its tracks, you’ll find it here.
The new treatment menu at the Hayfield Manor’s Beautique Spa is now open for booking. Check out the tailor made packages here.