Health & Grooming | Chronicles of a Spa Junkie

Spa Junkie at… Grayshott Hall

Can hypnotherapy cure our covert reporter of her insomnia?

Spa Junkie at… Grayshott Hall

Image: Jay Yeo

October 08 2011
Spa Junkie

Part: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Spa Junkie is at Grayshott Hall in Surrey, where she and a friend are aiming to de-stress and get into shape prior to the Frieze Art Fair in London.


Faye Thompson leads me into a bedroom. I explain that I am currently not sleeping as well as I would like. I tell her that Vicki has mentioned her “off switch” talent, which her clients can use to get to sleep within minutes, no matter where and when. I want her to know in advance that if she’s successful, my boyfriend will put her on a handsome retainer.

“Well, let’s get you down so I can see what I am dealing with. See you before 2012,” she jokes. She means that I will feel like I’ve slept till the Olympics. It’s not funny.

If she can make me fall asleep here and now, I think, I will literally chew and swallow my plastic Havaianas. She starts talking and for the next hour I listen. And wait – and wait and wait. It’s as I suspected. I’m like an eight-year-old; it’s impossible to get me down.

“How do you feel?” she asks. Well, awkward, actually. How do I politely explain that my eyes were just closed and that if making me fall asleep was the objective, then her treatment did not work at all?

“I feel relaxed.” I don’t want to hurt her feelings. “But I didn’t ‘go under’, I’m afraid. I’m not sure what I am supposed to feel, or what happens next.”

“Well, obviously, one session is not going to do it, but I imagine in eight or so sessions I’d have you sleeping like a baby.”

I wish I had time to give it a try and see.


We dine inside tonight and compare notes, then retire to my bedroom to watch films on the giant screen, sipping hot water with lemon.

SUNDAY, 8.20am

We saunter down to breakfast a little late; fitness director Alex checks his watch pointedly as we arrive. He has our results.

We are both far from being in good adrenal shape. I plead with him not to give us a biology lesson this morning, but to keep it really elementary.

“OK. In simple terms, you are both excreting very high levels of cortisol; your adrenals are fatigued from long-term abuse. The bottom line is you have to slow down and make time for more relaxing activities.” He is looking at me, the exercise junkie. “You need to relax. Do more restorative yoga, and some breathing classes.” His gaze swivels to The New Yorker. “You are seriously in the red; your nerves are shot to pieces. You need to calm down to at least a canter.” I can see my friend’s composure crumble slightly in the face of the reality of this diagnosis.

Then Alex takes him off for a bit of one-on-one, and I head to a session of cranial osteopathy.

The next instalment of Chronicles of a Spa Junkie will be published on Tuesday October 11.

Spa Junkie pays for all her own travel, treatments and accommodation.