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Epicure Winter 2017

From Compassionate Skincare To The Spa World’s F Word; The Top Wellness Trends

By Susan D’Arcy, Luxury and Spa Editor of The Sunday Times

Get off that rebounder trampoline, put down your turmeric latte, turn off your Himalayan salt lamp and please put your jade egg in a paper bag and throw it off a bridge, here are the trends that every self-respecting, Lululemon-wearing, Om-chanting wellness junkie needs to embrace for 2018.

A New Detox For Your Toolbox

When doga (yoga with your pet pooch) became a thing we realised that the first-world enthusiasm for this ancient Indian discipline really did know no bounds so we’re forecasting a 2018 trend for yogic detox. It’s hard-core so more suited to seasoned yogis who want to deepen their practice than beginners and it’s not a beansprout-based diet, for which we give it a big round of applause. Instead it focuses on traditional hatha postures and a six-step plan to cleanse the mind and body. The cuddlier processes include Kapalabhati breath work (forceful exhalation, which can aid weight loss) and Tratek, candle-flame gazing (a form of meditation that increases concentration). The more challenging techniques include Jal Neti, washing out the nasal passages with lukewarm salt water (which boosts memory) and Kunjal Kriya, drinking lukewarm saline water on an empty stomach until you throw up (which supports digestion and tones the abdominal organs). Who knew Ibiza clubbers were halfway to mystic purity?

Photo courtesy of akyra Beach Club Phuket

Compassionate Potions

The Vegan Society says sales of vegan food increased by 1,500% last year, Love Cocoa has just launched the UK’s first avocado chocolate bar, and you can’t move in Shoreditch for tofu trucks and almond milk lattes. In other words, veganism is having a serious cultural moment. Other countries report a similar spike in commitment to free-from-everything-but-virtue products and yet even though many skincare ranges are already, technically, vegan, spas have been slow to sync in with this lifestyle statement. Expect that to change during 2018 when they will start to work with Peta-approved brands to promote vegan-friendly treatments for a responsible inner and outer glow.

Photo courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain

Bricks For Spa Chicks

Feng shui is no longer enough, we want our bricks and mortar to encourage a sense of wellbeing too. So expect to see new spas embracing the concept of “wellness architecture”. They’ll increasingly be shouting about how their resorts use paint and plants that capture toxins thus improving air quality; walls embedded with algae biofuel cells that grow their own energy; advanced circadian mood lighting and sophisticated acoustics that can have energising or calming effects. The buzz phrase is sacred geometry: the principle of using mathematical ratios to create a harmonious environment that resonates with guests on both a cellular and conscious level.

Play Your Cards Right

After the Motherpeace Tarot Deck provided the inspiration for Christian Dior’s cruise 2018 collection, we didn’t need a reading to tell us that the cards are making their way out of dusty, dimly lit occult shops and into cool holistic boutiques. It’s a natural progression of “woo-woo wellness”, already riding high on the popularity of healing crystals and shamanism. With tarot’s segue into the mainstream come trendy new packs, featuring illustrations of plants and animals instead of scary images of the grim reaper and hanged man. Spooked by those Wicker Man undertones? Exponents say we should regard the cards as a means to unlock the subconscious mind and open meaningful discussion rather than predict the future. Got it – but next week’s lottery numbers still welcome.

The Spa World’s F Word

That’s F for Fascia: the body’s all-important cobweb of connective tissue that keeps muscles, ligaments and joints in correct alignment. Your aches, pains and general lack of energy may well be down to malfunctioning stiff fascia as a result of injury, poor posture or simply good old gravity. Deep-tissue massage has always been the spa world’s go-to recommendation for sufferers but relief is usually only temporary. Enter Rolfing, which involves resetting your fascia by treating the whole body rather than a problem area, resulting in impressive long-term results. It’s not new. It was developed in the Forties by American biochemist Dr Ida Rolf, and it’s already well established in the USA but, finally, as baby boomers the world over look to cheat the ageing process, it’s starting to pop up on international spa menus. Fans include former prime minister David Cameron and wife Sam and even if you don’t have a specific problem, Rolfing makes you look slimmer, stronger and younger by improving your posture. You’d think Dave might’ve told Theresa.

Murat Reis Ayvalik, Turkey

For Those Who Can’t Stand The Heat

The sweaty, flame-cheeked look doesn’t work for anyone but saunas are a key component of wellness so what to do? Fortunately, help is at hand. Infrared saunas are suddenly, er, cool. For while the traditional version heats the air around the body and so, to be effective, needs to reach unbearable barbecue levels that most of us can’t stand after five minutes, the infrared alternatives, the so-called saunas on steroids, operate at much lower temperatures (think fetching glow) because they heat your body from the inside so you can manage the necessary 30-minute stint to feel the benefits. Claims about releasing toxins including heavy metals, we take with a pinch of salt (which, incidentally, will definitely be released by your body, along with water – it’s called sweat). However, there is general consensus that infrared heat improves metabolism, the complexion and circulation, boosts collagen production and can even enhance mood. Leonardo DiCaprio, Lady Gaga and Michelle Williams (and Gwynnie of course) are all regular users. Jennifer Aniston even has one at home and spas everywhere are hastily installing them.

Winter 2017

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