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Welcome to our November Beauty Insider blog! Each month some of the very best Scottish experts in health and beauty interview our very own founder Fiona to bring you the lowdown on all things beauty. This month lifestyle editor and beauty reviewer Gaby Soutar of The Scotsman chats to our very own director, Fiona, about tackling stress and wellbeing through beauty.


GS: What treatment/s would you recommend to someone who wants to beat stress and boost wellbeing?

You can’t beat a relaxing massage. A Hot Stone Massage is particularly great for relieving stress, tension and really helps promote feelings of wellbeing. The warmth of the stones can calm, soothe and comfort. But don’t underestimate the power of a corrective Facial which is also deeply relaxing and has a very calming effect on both body and mind.

GS: How long do the effects of a massage last, and how often should you visit to maintain that feeling? 

This hugely varies from person to person. If they have a very busy lifestyle and are dashing straight back to work into a stressful environment the effects will be short lived. We normally recommend, where possible, to try and get a massage in the evening or after work so you can relax and go home afterwards. This will often aid a really great night’s sleep.

When it comes to frequency of massages, most clients try and come in every couple of weeks and many once a month. Most of our massage clients are on courses of treatments with us so rebook before they leave the salon otherwise they know a lot of time will pass before they get round to putting themselves first and get round to actually calling us.  Once in good habits they continue to get massage as they feel the benefits and regular massage offers many longer lasting benefits than ad hoc ones.

GS: How does the ambience of a spa (e.g. lighting, music, smells) contribute to overall relaxation?

The whole sensory environment is hugely important and influences the immediate enjoyment and ongoing reults of treatments. All the senses should be taken into consideration for the experience to be complete and induce deep relaxation. The first impression of the rooms with dimmed, coloured lighting for atmosphere is instantly relaxing and the aromas can further induce relaxation. After all, the sense of smell is one of our strongest senses that helps effect our mind and calm us.

The temperature of the room needs to be just perfect so our therapists can independently control the temperature in the treatment; having a treatment room to hot or too cold can not only be distracting but can ruin an otherwise good treatment. The same is very true of the music. You should almost not be aware of the music, it should be relaxing but not loud enough to distract. This is actually quite a difficult thing to get right as it is also so personal – this is why we installed individual Sonos systems in each room so it can be varied for each individual. All these sensory things like the comfort of the bed, the voice of the therapist all add up to the overall over experience either exceeding your expectations or sadly not meeting them.

GS: How do the therapists build a rapport with their clients, in order to make them feel more relaxed?

The therapists build a rapport from asking questions and actively listening. Using good communication skills, from choice of words, tone of voice to positive body language is so crucial. In fact, we regularly invest in internal training on listening and communication skills. Good communication and listening makes clients feel valued and helps to start build up trust and understanding which is the foundation of any good relationship.

GS: How would you reassure someone who wants to have a massage, but feels body conscious/anxious?

When therapists see a body to massage they see muscle, bones, fat and skin. They are concentrating on what they need to do not what you look like. But they are also fully aware that clients may feel vulnerable so help put people at ease. If some people are anxious it’s always better to tell your therapist so she can help adapt the treatment for you.

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Gaby Soutar is an experienced  journalist and currently lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. Her beauty reviews can be found in The Scotsman Magazine most weekends