Clean Start |

6 mins

Clean Start

We test out the latest protocols from Hydrafacial and more, and one spa explores the growing trend for “bleisure” spa breaks

Aztec Spa taps into bleisure trend

In a bid to beat the Sunday scaries – that feeling of dread you get on a Sunday for the upcoming Monday – Bristol’s Aztec Hotel & Spa has launched the Sunday Night Getaway spa package, so “bleisure” guests can upgrade their WFH status to WFS (working from spa).

“Bleisure”, mixing business and leisure, is the trend for professionals to lead a more balanced lifestyle. Aztec’s parent company Daniel Thwaites hotel group has seen a rise in visitors making use of workspaces when visiting, as well as having their family join for them for their stay so they can enjoy time together out of work hours.

For the new package, Sunday guests have dinner, sleep in a Signature room, then an early morning visit to the gym and spa pool and breakfast before working in one of the hotel work spaces.

The packages start at £84 per person /

Tried and tested…

Hydrafacial Syndeo with Murad retinol booster

The lowdown: Hydrafacial has launched a new version of its delivery system. Syndeo offers all the exfoliation and massage functions of the original but in a lightweight device with built-in tools for treatment history and hands-free control. I was among the first in the UK to try it out.

The experience: One feature I loved is gesture-control technology, which means the therapist hardly has to touch the device to move between treatment steps, reducing crosscontamination risks. The client can also choose a colour to emanate from the device that suits their mood. I chose a pinky purple to feel calmed but energised.

I watched as my therapist went into the Cloudupdatable system to create a protocol personalised to my skin. The system can also pull in data from a client’s previous Hydrafacial treatments, which can aid in decision-making when choosing products.

The next tech feature I loved was the sensor tray – it allows the therapist to load their selected products, which then automatically display on screen. To combat counterfeits, the tray only reads Hydrafacial products.

Another really valuable feature of the device is the opportunity for therapist education. Each step is accompanied by diagrams and instructions – from the direction in which to drain lymph from the face to the twisting technique of moving the tip for infusing the boosters.

After all the Hydrafacial steps my skin has come to know and love, I received the Murad retinol booster, containing micronised collagen peptides to accelerate cell renewal, plump skin, minimise wrinkles and boost glow. The treatment was polished off with time under the new Syndeo LED light, a foldable dome.

The verdict: Syndeo delivers the results you expect from a Hydrafacial but with added ease and comfort for both therapist and client. This was my first time trying the Murad retinol booster and I was blown away by the results. In the days following the treatment I received so many compliments about the glow and quality of my skin.

Business benefits: The ergonomic design features only one handheld pen, which all tips and tools can be attached to, making this system more compact. The wireless upgrades bypass the need for maintenance call-outs. There are lots of possibilities for personalisation and education, while the device allows opportunities for time-saving, including a self-rinsing feature. The device really supports the therapist through the treatment, minimising room for error.

Hydrafacial recommends charging from £125 for a facial with the new Syndeo device with boosters from £40. 01788 572 007 /

Tried and tested…

The Harmony Massage Experience

The lowdown: The Harmony Massage offers a combination of hands-on massage and energy healing to leave clients feeling balanced both mentally and physically. The bespoke holistic treatments use the best elements of different practices.

The experience: I visited Beyond MediSpa in Harvey Nichols, London, for the Harmony Massage Experience with therapist Wioleta Janik, one of Harmony Massage’s directors. I filled out an in-depth consultation form to identify any areas of concern before Janik checked my energy centres to personalise the treatment further – in my case, she identified that my solar plexus and sacral chakras were out of balance.

With these chakras in mind, Janik began the treatment with sound healing. Over the next 90 minutes, she worked on my entire body with a combination of techniques including reiki, aromatherapy, reflexology, and remedial, Thai and Swedish massage, while she continued to read my energy and adapt the treatment.

At the end, Janik discussed her findings, which included correctly identifying a pre-existing kidney issue indicated by the blockage in my sacral chakra, before completing the experience with aftercare advice. This included staying hydrated, avoiding rich foods and stressful environments, and allowing the body to settle. Janik also provided me with a self-journal to help with the emotional detox process.

The verdict: I really enjoyed how personalised this treatment was – especially how Janik was able to tap into my mental and physical concerns so accurately. The combination of different techniques provided a thorough holistic treatment, which left me feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and determined to continue working through the issues Janik identified.

Business benefits: The Harmony Massage offers hands-on and online accredited training programmes for both the Massage Experience and its facial, which involves a deep cleanse followed by lymph drainage, reiki, acupressure and European facial techniques. Being able to offer these treatments is a great opportunity for therapists whose clients are looking for an immersive and balancing experience that helps to transform their mindset as well as tackling physical concerns.

The Harmony Massage charges £300 for the two-hour Harmony Massage Experience at Harvey Nichols.

Tried and tested…

Slimyonik Air Bodystyler

The lowdown: Slimyonik Air Bodystyler offers tailored pneumatic therapy massage combined with the inhalation of ambient air enriched with oxygen, delivered through a nasal cannula, boosting metabolism and lymph drainage through various tailored programmes as an add-on to complementary therapies or as a standalone treatment.

The experience: I trialed the Slimyonik Air Bodystyler as part of Katie England’s Immersive 360° Treatment at The NoMad Hotel in Covent Garden, London. The 90-minute treatment features a skin cleanse, two masks, and buccal massage using Wild Source products, sound and scent healing and the Slimyonik Air Bodystyler, which works on the lymphatic system.

During the treatment, I tried two of the present modes of the Slimyonik, Relax and Cellulite, as well as boosting my oxygen intake by up to 40% through the nasal cannula, which provides purified air. England took me through some deep breathing techniques and used essential oils to add a scent element and help open my lungs.

There was a definite difference between the Relax and Cellulite massage functions, with the former a less intense lower-body massage and the latter working to reduce the build-up of excess fluid and improve lymphatic drainage to reduce the appearance of cellulite.

The verdict: The addition of the Slimyonik took the treatment to a new level, making it a full body and mind experience. The nasal cannula helped to control my breathing and help with relaxation, while the two body programmes combined made my muscles feel more relaxed while helping me lose some water weight for a more toned appearance – be warned, though, the treatment is not for those with a weak bladder as it’s draining properties are quite intense.

Slimyonik recommends charging £75 for a standalone session. Immersive 360° is priced £320. 01621 828384 /

This article appears in May 2023

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May 2023
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