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Why do we pay for psychotherapy when massages cost half as much?
Inside Spa (Nelson)
Member Name: kitschkitty
Inside Spa (Nelson)
Advantages: Relaxing, luxurious, reasonably priced
Disadvantages: I still can't afford to go every day :(
Funded by Pendle Leisure Trust, Inside Spa is located within Pendle Wavelengths leisure centre and is just a brief walk from the town centre and bus station. Having viewed the website, my friend's husband decided to treat us both to a day at the spa as an early Christmas present. The pictures online appeared lavish and very trendy and I had my doubts as to whether these were stock photos or the real thing. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that in reality, Inside Spa was even better than their website let on.
As we were welcomed to the reception desk we were given possibly the most comfortable bathrobes I have come across in my life. My friend and I had been treated to a full say spa experience which included lunch and three treatments in the afternoon so for the morning, we were free to use the spa facilities at our leisure. The spa experience started for us with a trip to the aromatherapy room. The heated mosaic benches certainly grabbed our attention as we sat and chatted in the olbas oil infused room, which boasted a starry lit ceiling and gentle colour changing lighting. Unfortunately, this was perhaps the drabbest area of the spa. If I had have been suffering with a cold, I may have appreciated the eucalyptus vapours but instead we soon found ourselves getting bored and so ventured off to explore the rest of the facilities.
The monsoon showers were certainly a unique experience where 50 litres of water per minute will leave you looking like a drowned rat. The water comes in two temperature options which the spa advertises as 'invigoratingly cold' or 'hot.' In reality, the invigoratingly cold option would be better described as a pneumonia inducing arctic freeze. The hot was about the temperature I use when showering at home and wasn't uncomfortably warm. The next step for me was the ice fountain where you'll find a large glass bowl filled with ice flakes which you rub into your body to stimulate circulation. Surprisingly, rubbing ice onto my extremities wasn't as uncomfortable as I'd imagined it would be but my friend still declined to partake in this practice. And so feeling suitably exhilarated and a little chilly, we headed to the sanarium which is very similar to a sauna only less hot and less dry. This is where you get the opportunity to lie flat out and imagine yourself on a desert island until boredom once again takes control and you find yourself needing to move on.
The foot spas were next on our list and again the heated mosaic benches made for a comfortable pampering treat as we filled the foot baths and set them off. The bubbles were powerful, the water nice and hot and frankly, I could have spent all morning here. The only gripe I had with the foot spas was that the jacuzzi effect seemed to have a timer that only lasted a couple of minutes but I soon learnt the trick of kicking the button with my foot so that the lavish massaging bubbles would recommence. The hydrotherapy pool is impossible to miss right in the centre of the spa as you enter. It resembled a very large jacuzzi but there were plenty of extra features to ensure you felt totally relaxed. If you feel like forgetting your woes, then there is a seated area at the back of the pool where you can enjoy a simple jacuzzi experience. Wander into the centre though and there were two power showers that provided the most amazing back massages. There were also some strange metal sun lounger areas within the water where you could lie and enjoy a massage from all angles. The power of the bubbles was far stronger than I've experienced in a jacuzzi before and floating around in the hydrotherapy pool was definitely a highlight of the morning. The spa also offers a sauna and salt inhalation steam room which were no different to any other sauna or steam room I've ever used.
My friend and I visited on a Monday and there were 5 other people in the spa during the morning. This meant we could wander from room to room and spent most of the time on our own. The spa is mixed sex but everyone seemed comfortable and relaxed wandering around in swimming costumes. There had obviously been a lot of attention to detail when creating the spa and the glamorous bronzed tiles, heated seating and general high standard of all the rooms meant we could easily have been forgotten we were in Nelson as it felt more on a par with an expensive hotel spa.
At lunchtime, we sat in the small café area by the reception and enjoyed baguettes and lots of freshly percolated black coffee. The staff did keep trying to convince me to switch my coffee filled mug with mineral water but they soon realized that no one comes between me and my caffeine addiction. And then the afternoon's treatments began and my friend and I were lead into separate rooms where, having overcome the initial horrors of panpipe music, I soon found myself feeling blissfully relaxed which was quite a feat considering this was during the period when my insomnia was at its worst.
As part of the package we had been booked for, we received 3 treatments and were pampered for just over 1 and a half hours. We both received a full body massage followed by a Decleor facial and finished off with a GHD Spa hair treatment. During this time I can honestly say I never opened my eyes once and the beautician who carried out all of my treatments quickly established that I was not in the mood for small talk and left me to relax. I could have easily drifted asleep but the fear of snoring prevented me from doing so.
The massage was pure heaven. My only previous experience of a massage had been from an ex who would start out enthusiastically and within 30 seconds would be absent mindedly rubbing my shoulder with one hand whilst the other reached for the TV remote. Fortunately, my massage at Inside Spa was far more enthusiastic, without being too rigorous. She kneaded out knots I never even knew existed and once I got over the initial surprise of having my bum massaged, I was free to relax and enjoy the experience. Only a few words of encouragement were required to get me to turn over and then the facial began which was perfectly tailored to my skin type following an earlier consultation. And finally came the GHD Spa treatment which involved lots of lotions and potions being put into my hair and more opportunity for me to lie back and wonder which idiot decided panpipe music was relaxing.
And then it was over. A candle was flickered in front of my shut eyes and I was given a glass of water and given time to wake up and make my way to the showers where I was met by my friend whose experience had been entirely different. She had spent the whole afternoon chatting to her beautician (at her request, I hasten to add) and was quite bubbly and energetic. Her only complaint had been the vigour with which she had been massaged and she told me how she was made to feel as if she had wronged her masseuse in a previous life as she was contorted and manipulated into positions even the acrobats from Cirque de Soleil would struggle to replicate. However, the facial and hair treatment made up for that followed by a lovely meal and copious volumes of wine, again paid for by the charming Mr B.
Overall, I was more than pleasantly surprised by my day at Inside Spa and Mr B has promised to treat us both again for my friend's birthday next month. Despite my meagre NHS salary though, I could probably afford to treat myself every once in a while. The 'Make Your Own' pamper day which we enjoyed costs £59 per person and includes lunch, a morning in the spa and 3 treatments of your choice in the afternoon. You can also pay simply to use the spa facilities without partaking in any of the treatments and there are plenty of offers on the Inside Spa website to give you food for thought. If someone would have told me 6 months ago that the murky town of Nelson was home to this secret idyll, I never would have believed them but having experienced this lavish Narnia for myself, I will definitely be making the trip to Nelson more often.
If you're looking for more details, you can check out the Inside Spa website here www.insidespa.co.uk
Summary: Nelson's best kept secret.