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Allergies and spa treatments

According to the Allergy UK charity, around 44% of adults have at least one allergy. Of course, not all allergies have a huge impact on our daily lives. However, if you do have an allergy and are planning a spa break, here are a few things to consider.

What allergies could a spa visit trigger?

The main areas of concern are the treatments you have and any food you consume while at the spa.

Any establishment that serves food should be allergy-aware. Allergen information should be clear and easily accessible. However, as recent tragic events have demonstrated, if you have an allergy, always double-check the ingredients of unfamiliar prepared foods and dishes.

Possibly more problematic are allergens used in spa treatments, such as nut oils. For example, products might contain cashew, hazelnut, horse chestnut, peanut, macadamia, sweet almond and walnut oils. If you have a nut allergy, your spa therapist might suggest jasmine or avocado oils as alternatives. You could even take your own massage oil with you.

Aside from the products used in your treatments, if your allergy is serious, you will also need to check there is no risk of cross-contamination in the treatment room. For example, you will want to ask whether the nut-free oils are stored away from the nut-based ones. A good spa therapist should thoroughly clean the area between clients and conduct a patch test before using a product on your skin, if there is a possibility of an adverse reaction.

In addition to the products used, spas could be a bit of a minefield for anyone with a latex allergy. Again, make your therapist aware ahead of your treatment.

In fact, whatever your allergy, don’t be afraid to raise any concerns. Spas want you to have a positive, relaxing time, so should be more than happy to accommodate your needs and allay any fears.

How should you prepare for a spa break?

With a bit of preparation, there is no reason why your allergy should spoil your spa day or spa break.

If you have allergies (or any other medical condition), you must tell the spa ahead of time. A good spa will have you fill out a form asking for such details. However, it is worth discussing it before you arrive to make sure the spa offers products and treatments that are suitable for you.

If you have a severe allergy, be aware that some spas might require written confirmation that you have seen a doctor and have received approval for a particular treatment. To avoid disappointment, it’s worth booking a visit to your GP prior to your arrival. Take your doctor’s details with you, along with any prescribed medication or your EpiPen.

A final word of advice is that spas offer a space in which you can completely unwind and relax. While you might be alert to potential allergy triggers in daily life, at the spa, you might ‘let your guard down’ and be less vigilant than usual.

Could a spa actually improve your allergy symptoms?

It has been suggested that spas could be beneficial for those with allergies. For example, the Spa Industry Association has previously said that a face and neck massage could have a “positive effect on allergy symptoms” as it can reduce sinus tension and prevent headaches. Similarly, a sauna could help to clear congestion. Finally, you will find that some health spas and other luxury spas offer allergy testing as part of their services, which my be able to help you if you experience certain unexplained symptoms.

Spas you might like:

  • Champneys spas are happy to cater for people with allergies and even offer alternative treatments that are beneficial for a range of allergy symptoms
  • Lifehouse Spa & Hotel in Essex is a great choice for people with allergies and offers a range of digestive health treatments
  • Ragdale Hall Spa in Leicestershire is happy to discuss any special requirements ahead of your visit and offers food sensitivity/intolerance testing

If you would like more information or are ready to book your next spa break, why not give our experts a call?

About the author

'Since 1989, SpaSeekers has been helping customers find their perfect spa experience. All packages come with a best price guarantee at over 500 of the UK's leading spas.'

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