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Visited Jul 2010
I have to start with the treatment - Kriotherapy. Walking around in a room at -110 below zero with only a woolly crop top and shorts on doesn't sound very appealing, in fact I looked hilarious, but boy did it work wonders for my skin. I was a little nervous at the prospect of being virtually frozen alive, but once you get in the "chambers" it's fine. First your blood pressure is taken to make sure you're actually in the right health to go on with the treatment, then you're given some rather attractive clothes to wear (please note: I may be lying about the attractiveness). A crop top and shorts, headband to cover your ears, what look like hockey socks that go over your knees, then plenty of tubigrip bandages to cover your knees and elbows, plus a pair of gloves and face mask to cover your nose. These are, of course, to make sure your skin isn't too exposed to the cold, so whilst you look completely laughable they're very safe.
The therapist, Renata, is great too. She put me at ease and didn't laugh too much when I walked out with icicles on my eyelashes (yes, did I say it was freezing?) and explained the whole experience very well. You start in a chamber at -60 to get you acclimatised for 30 seconds, then you move into the colder chamber for 3 minutes, constantly walking around and exercising to keep the blood flow going. Taking big gulps of fresh air felt incredible, it's a real treat for inside and out. Then the exercising afterward on a power plate to get the blood flow moving again meant I left being able to touch my toes! I've not been able to do that for years.
The facilities in the spa were fabulous too. I spend a whole hour snoozing by the poolside, and kept dipping in and out of the laconium for some warmth. The outside jacuzzi was brilliant in the afternoon heat and the gardens looked so lovely. I also tried out some Thalassotherapy, which gave my back a well-needed massage - especially the wall cascade, that was particularly relaxing.
All in all I really enjoyed my stay at Champneys - the food was delicious, the staff we so friendly, facilities were top-notch, and the treatment that sounded so weird ended up making my skin feel the softest it's ever felt!