Health & Grooming | Chronicles of a Spa Junkie

Spa Junkie at… Grayshott Hall

Has our covert reporter gone from distressed to de-stressed?

Spa Junkie at… Grayshott Hall

Image: Jay Yeo

October 11 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.

“Cranial osteopathy is a refined and subtle form of osteopathic treatment that encourages the release of stresses and tensions throughout the body, including the head,” my therapist explains.

I’m on my back and she holds my head in her hands, exerting gentle pressure in key areas. “It’s remarkable how this treatment can get better results than a sports massage. It is very gentle yet extremely effective. We can treat sports injuries and internal organs, detecting very subtle, rhythmical shape changes and currents present in the tissues. This is called the cranial rhythm.” Apparently, tension in the body significantly disrupts the cranial rhythm; so if, like me, you have a tendency to stress out, this will be detectable with just a touch.

“Wow; your mind works fast. It’s just relentless. No wonder you are exhausted. Do you ever stop? Do you ever shut down?”

I know, I know. I tell her about Faye working on an imaginary “off” switch for me; she looks slightly bewildered. I ask if she minds if we don’t go into it.

On my way out, she hands me a note on a piece of paper. “I suggest you try a little technique called mindful meditation. It’s a very simple meditation you can do every day, to help calm your brain. You should sleep very well tonight.”

And, in fact, I do.


After a lovely lunch of prawn salad and veggies, a little swim in the pool and a long walk through the forest, it’s time for me to head back into town. My friend, The New Yorker, will stay for a few more days to get his nerves back to a more normal setting.


I was hesitant – actually quite worried – about taking such a high-maintenance and demanding guest to such a low-key spa, but it was, in the end, a fantastic success. Grayshott Spa does need a bit of work: the resort is a little tired, and I don’t think the variety of treatments is extensive enough. But we stayed in our tracksuit bottoms for the duration; we hung out as if we were at home. For those without a country pile, this is a perfect place to retreat to and fantasise about it being your own. And it’s very good value. The staff are well versed in their respective disciplines, and the level of treatment was high. I’ve booked in to return with the Italian for a tennis course.

There are two Latin mottos engraved over the entrance of Grayshott: Pax Intrantibus (“peace as you enter”), and Salus Exeuntibus (“health as you leave”). Every word is true.

The next instalment of Chronicles of a Spa Junkie will be published on Saturday October 15.

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