Eva Wiseman Dives Into Hydrotherapy ‘Freedom’ at The Gainsborough Spa, Bath, UK
They call it a ‘spa village’ – it’s more than just a spa. During construction of the 14,000-square-foot space, ancient mosaics were uncovered; they became a source of inspiration for designers.
Set beneath Roman columns and a glass roof are three thermal pools, steam room, sauna and treatment rooms offering Asian-influenced therapies (the award-winning spa group has Malaysian origins).
Before a treatment, guests sit down with an aromatherapist to create a unique scent to carry with them, and are invited to take the ‘Bath House circuit’, soaking in three pools of varying temperatures before relaxing in the sauna.
The signature treatment is called Freedom, the kind of elliptical title that tells you very little about what you’ve signed up for. I knew only that I should bring a swimsuit; I stepped into the pool, and agreed to trust the therapist. Perhaps sensing my poor swimming skills, he offered me goggles. I shut my eyes. The therapist draws your body through the water, slowly at first, then faster. He stretches you, he tests you, he terrifies you (me).
After a few minutes, you start trusting – space becomes less tangible, as does time, as do limbs. It was quite unlike anything I’ve experienced – the closest thing, I think, was fainting. I emerged from the water 45 minutes later, giggling.