The purest spa experiences use H20 to cleanse the body and mind

Often, it’s the simplest things in life that do us the most good. A walk in the park, gentle sunshine caressing your skin, a deep breath of clean, fresh air and, of course, water. Drinking it, bathing in it, being steamed by it – water can soothe all manner of woes. Vital to our very being, it’s hardly surprising that it is regarded as one of the most healing elements in existence.

The restorative power of water is something that Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has known about and understood for many years. Visit nearly any Mandarin Oriental spa and you’ll discover a wonderful world of water-based therapies and facilities, designed to nourish, cleanse and rejuvenate the body and soul. ‘Water is an essential element for all living things and it is part of the definition of the spa concept,’ says Sean O’Connor, Mandarin Oriental’s Group Spa Manager – Design and Development. ‘There cannot be a spa without water being used for its therapeutic and healing properties. In fact, the term “spa” is said to have derived from the ancient Roman saying sanus per aquam, or “health through water”.’

Whether you are planning to enjoy a fully-fledged water-based experience such as Watsu (a form of shiatsu in water), a steam, sauna or experience shower – or simply wish to dip a toe in a plunge pool before your massage – water can do wonders for your physical and mental well-being. After all, just think how relaxing a long soak in a hot bath is, or how invigorating a cold shower can be.

The term spa is said to have derived from the ancient Roman saying sanus per aquam, or health through water

‘The principle benefit of water at its different temperatures (and consequent forms of steam, water and ice) is the effect it has on the body’s circulation,’ explains O’Connor. ‘Blood circulation and lymphatic drainage are assisted passively by changing temperatures. Hot water and steam cause the capillaries in the skin to dilate, flushing blood to the surface to lose heat. The pores open and dirt and grime are expelled, making this, the body’s largest organ, squeaky clean.

‘Cold has the opposite effect, flushing the blood to the core of the body. The pores close up and the skin tightens to preserve body heat. This flushing action of the blood serves to remove toxins and waste from the skin externally, and from the muscles and organs internally. The circulatory system delivers these toxins to the liver and kidneys, then they are processed and evacuated from the body.’

At the luxurious Mandarin Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, guests can enjoy a range of fabulous water-based facilities, including a Chinese herbal steam room and hot and cold experience showers, before their treatments. Particularly recommended for jet lag is a dip in the Kneipp pool, which combines warm and cool pools, and, through a combination of massage and water jets, encourages increased blood circulation and the elimination of toxins from the body.

Also in Hong Kong, The Landmark Mandarin Oriental’s award-winning Oriental Spa offers guests the chance to enjoy experience showers, a dip in a vitality pool, an ice fountain, laconium (a heated relaxation room for women only) or tropical rain forest sauna (for men only), as well as hammam and rasul treatments.

When having the latter, three different kinds of mud are applied to the body, which then dries, allowing the skin’s pores to open and release toxins, before a hot steam softens the mud so that its enriching minerals can be absorbed. The mud is then washed off and the treatment finishes with a soothing massage.

It is, however, one of the Group’s newest hotels, Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas, that offers the most extensive collection of thermal bathing facilities. From the latest generation of themed experience showers (choose from the likes of ‘Tropical Rain’ to ‘Arctic Mist’), with aromatic fragrances such as ylang ylang and lavender, to a sauna, steam room, vitality pool, ice fountain, ladies’ rasul, laconium, tepidarium chairs and mixed hammam, there’s a whole host of watery experiences to try.

With the human body made up of around 60 per cent water, is it any wonder that floating, bathing and being treated with it can make us feel so good?

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