I was recently invited to embark upon the Acqua Calda Journey at Grace Belgravia and I think accepting the invitation might have been one of the best decisions of my life so far. In fact, I know it was. 1 hour and a half of pure detoxification - but not on an edible level - left me feeling silky smooth, care-free, and as light as a feather. No juice cleansing, no macro-salads - not your usual kind of detox. Just the natural healing power of water, steam, temperature, salts and essential oils aimed at invigorating and refreshing you from the outside in, instead of the inside out.
The journey began with 15-20 minutes in a sauna, lying flat on my back, head resting on soft hammam towels. Sounds relaxing - and it was - but after 15 minutes, your body is actually working much harder than you think. You see it as a sedentary lie down, a time to think, breathe and do nothing, however, your body is working hard to regulate your body temperature, your breath and your circulation, and is expelling toxins in the form of sweat from every inch of your body.
Following this, I thrusted myself into a shower with jets aiming at my hot bod from every angle, and, as instructed yet rather hesitantly, pressed the cold button. An entire minute (which I assumed would feel like an hour but which actually seemed like a second) of full power, ice cold water hit my steaming body, cooling me down from head to toe, literally taking my breath away, but somehow delightfully. The first few seconds were much appreciated as I felt a little dizzy from the sauna and was keen to cool down. I didn't even mind that I couldn't expel full breaths as my body stood obediently in a situation it would never usually willingly have found itself in. After this, I sipped on lemon infused room temperature water, sitting wrapped in the hammam towel, as my breath and body temperature rebalanced and returned to their standard rates.
After a few minutes, I was guided into an aromatic steam room with beautiful tiling and gentle lighting. Considering my body temperature and the way my cells were buzzing, it felt hotter than any other steam room I'd been in, but as I lay flat, my body and mind were becoming calmer and calmer and the intensity of the heat hardly phased me. This 20 minutes felt considerably longer than the time I'd spent in the sauna, but I powered through and when I left the room, I felt too amazing for words. The wet heat, as opposed to the dry heat of the sauna, had worked to rehydrate my body, and the high temperature had my cells and my metabolism working in overdrive. But, despite feeling slightly light headed, I felt incredible. Back in the shower, one slightly longer minute of ice cold water on my body was refreshing, energising, empowering and invigorating. The hardest part was over. My skin was alive, my metabolism was thriving, my cells were busy and my mind was clear. I felt spaced out, I felt as though I was floating on air, I felt brand new and I felt like anything was possible. The final stage of the journey was even more relaxing, and very little was required from me.
I was led into a gently heated room with a smooth marble slab in the middle, incredible scents of natural salts and essential oils and calming music. I lay flat whilst the spa manager guiding my journey smothered my body in Himalayan Pink Salts, scrubbing away at my refreshed skin, removing any dead skin and dirt, and penetrating my open pores. It was amazing. It's all well and good exfoliating in the shower, but you never quite reach every inch of your body, and I personally get tired or bored easily. She did a thorough job and my entire body felt alive and invigorated, not to mention. Once this was applied and rinsed off on both my front and back, a gentle massage was followed by a full body spirulina mask - a thick yet light, smooth, cooling natural mask consisting only of pure spirulina and water. And that was that. 15 minutes later, with my feet in a magnesium salt electrolyte-replenishing foot bath, I reflected on how much I'd changed since stepping foot in the changing rooms just over an hour before. I was so calm, my mannerisms and my speech were slow and gentle, I felt positive and happy, energised and refreshed, light, carefree and balanced. I also felt incredibly exhausted, as, although I'd theoretically done absolutely nothing, my body had been working up a sweat - literally.
It is amazing how doing so little can wear you out so much. Our bodies are so incredibly clever, and even when you think you're doing nothing, you're doing so much on a cellular level. Every second of every day your body is renewing, repairing, strengthening and recreating cells, muscles, bones and tissue, and is constantly carrying out active processes. Diet plays a huge part in fuelling these internal functions, but the skin is just as important in keeping our bodies in check. As the largest organ of the body, and the organ of expression, keeping our skin healthy is hugely important, and essential to overall health. Our skin is what protects our cells, organs and internal processes, and if our skin is unhealthy, clogged or congested, our cells will be too. That's why it is so important to take care of your skin, and to start cleansing your body physically, and not just through diet. The two go hand in hand, and it is easy to practice this kind of treatment from home. Take interval showers (going from hot to cold), make homemade scrubs, natural body masks and natural moisturisers. What you feed your skin, you ultimately feed your body, so make sure you use products with as few additives in as possible. Try not to use products you can't eat. If it isn't safe to eat, it isn't safe to be absorbed into your body through every pore.