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Voted Best Detox Retreat in the UK 2008 by Vogue awards

The Good Spa Guide "5 Bubbles" Review

Awarded with a 5 Bubble rating by the Good Spa Guide - March 2012:
Simply Healing is a detox retreat in a beautiful Sussex country house. Almost no solid food will pass your lips whilst here, for the retreat specialises in juice-only programmes designed for those wishing to detox, lose weight or boost fertility. Simply Healing is homely yet luxurious, has supportive staff and good-quality spa treatments. This dedicated retreat is perfect for those looking for a guided detox programme, whether it's for a day, weekend or week.

First impressions?
Simply Healing is in the midst of the Sussex countryside, but it's also just 40 minutes from Gatwick airport.

The main building is a welcoming country house. It has living and dining rooms with log fires and flickering candles. Beautiful artefacts from around the world can be found in every nook and cranny.

What's on offer?
There are no wet or thermal facilities at Simply Healing; there is accommodation, acres of grounds and beautiful, uniquely decorated treatment rooms.

On arrival, a member of staff gave me a timetable for my detox experience, and gave me a tour around the retreat. A maximum of 10 people are allowed to stay at the retreat at any time, ensuring that your stay is refreshingly personalised. The owner, Vivien, provides on-hand support to assist and guide you throughout your personal journey. Her passion about the benefits of detoxing and the importance of holistic wellbeing is ever-present.

A typical day is kick-started with a mug of hot water and lemon. Juices are then consumed in one of the dining rooms. The first juice contains bentonite clay (absorbent, cleansing clay from volcanic ash), to which you must add a measured amount of psyllium husk (a plant high in fibre, with laxative effects). You wash down herbal supplement tablets with a tasty freshly squeezed juice, and then your first "meal" is complete. Throughout the day at carefully timed intervals, you are required to drink further juices. The evening "meal" means drinking broth, of which you may consume as much as you wish.

Vivien regularly ensures and encourages a regular and plentiful consumption of water. Bottles of water are provided in your bedroom, and are constantly replenished in the dining areas.

Which treatments did you have?
Over the course of my stay, I had:

· An holistic massage (60 minutes, £60)

· Two sessions of colonic hydrotherapy (each 60 minutes, £75)

· A phyto-cell facial (90 minutes, £95)

· A detox fitness wrap (120 minutes, £100)

· A detox foot spa (30 minutes, £50)

What were the treatments like?
Holistic massage
Aor, my therapist, was nothing short of delightful. The sizable treatment room was lit by dimmer-switch lighting as well as a colourful, twinkly ceiling-light. The massage bed had two pieces of moulded foam: one to rest your breasts on, and the other for your head. Aor started the treatment by dry-rubbing the whole of the back of my leg with her hands. Then, with both hands covered in flannel mitts, Aor rubbed my leg, then scrubbed it with a dry brush.

Next, Aor performed a lymphatic drainage massage using pure sunflower oil. She then repeated the process on my other leg, my back, tummy and décolleté. Aor gave me a thorough massage with perfectly firm pressure, paying particular attention to my shoulders and neck.

Afterwards, I felt soothed, relaxed and happy.

Colonic hydrotherapy
The en-suite colonic room was immaculate, with a bed placed next to a window revealing fabulous views of fields. My therapist, Carolyn, gave me a fairly lengthy consultation form. Carolyn also asked detailed questions about my lifestyle, diet and toilet habits.

I had two sessions of colonic hydrotherapy. Carolyn calmly explained exactly what was going on, what to do when, and made the process so matter of fact, that it felt almost silly to be squeamish. I felt reassured every step of the way.

After the first treatment I felt a little tired, and so went to lie on my bed. After the second treatment (the following day), I felt better, and pleased with what was pronounced a successful session. Carolyn gave me sensible after-care advice, too. One important point that I've come away with, is to chew my food properly. Carolyn encouraged me to always chew when eating, even if consuming soup, so that my stomach juices are stimulated.

Biodroga phyto-cell facial
My therapist, Aor, covered me with a soft towel and made sure I was warm. She began my treatment with a double cleanse, followed by an application of a cool toner and a moisturiser. Next, Aor applied an anti-ageing day cream and an eye-firming cream. Aor then laid wet cotton pads over my eyes and a gauze mask over my face. She then painted on a cold, weighty, face mask.

Aor then gave me a lengthy lymphatic drainage massage around my head and neck. She removed the mask delicately and proceeded to stimulate pressure points across my face and head. I particularly enjoyed the neck stretches and deep shoulder massage. Afterwards, Aor showed me a few tips on how to continue the facial massage at home.

My skin looked dewy and hydrated, and I didn't even mind wandering around without make-up on for the rest of the day (which is absolutely unheard of). The following day, my usually dry skin was still clear, plump and hydrated. In fact the treatment had worked so well that there was no need to moisturise at all. Fantastic!

Detox wrap
While I was standing up, Aor rubbed warm marine algae all over my body, which tingled a little. She then took some bandages that had been soaked overnight in clay, and wrapped them tightly around each leg, from the heel upwards, all the way to the top of my thigh. Aor asked if there were particular areas where I'd like to lose inches. I asked Aor to concentrate on my hips and stomach, so she made the bandaging tighter in these areas. She made the bandages looser over my chest, and finished by bandaging my arms.

Mummified, I relaxed back on a treatment bed, my knees propped up with a cushion. Aor made sure I hadn't been wrapped too tightly, blocking my circulation. Aor then gave me a great head, face and neck massage.

After an hour, Aor carefully removed my bandages and pointed out where water from my body had been released. She measured me and I saw I had lost over seven inches overall, which felt pretty exciting. Aor advised me not to shower off the algae for 15 hours to allow the goodness to keep working.

Detox foot spa
April, my therapist, filled a bowl with warm water, the metal array (an energising cartridge that gives off a small electrical current) nestled between my feet. The idea is that the flow of electrons sends signals up through the lymph glands, and stimulates the detoxification process.

After around 15 minutes of soaking my feet, the colour of the water changed slightly to a yellowy-brown. April also highlighted some small white bits that she said were linked with too much yeast or sugar in my body. April showed me the colour chart that relates to different toxins within the body.

Whilst my feet were soaking, April gave me a pleasant hand massage. April dried my feet and ended my treatment with a foot and leg massage.

What else could you have?
Treatments at Simply Healing have a holistic focus, with therapies for the mind, body and spirit. There are facials, wraps, massages, and manis/pedis, and you can try healing, counselling, hypnotherapy and shamanic healing.

There is a Chi machine with a floor mat in the main lounge. This passive exercise device is a cradle-like machine that swings your feet whilst you are lying down. The cradle rocks you, moving your body from the pelvis. There's also a Power Plate in the conservatory.

There is also the option to participate in meditation with Vivien, do yoga, or go for a guided early morning walk.

Food facts
That should read "juice facts"! Pretty much no solid food is served during a juice detox. Simply Healing provide the correct amount of psyllium husk, bentonite clay, cleansing herbs, fresh juice and potassium broth at set points during the day, so that you don't feel hungry and your sugar levels don't drop. And be prepared to drink lots of water!

We had Gala melon for breakfast on Sunday, the last day of the detox. Sunday lunch consisted of a bowl of summer fruit with a small serving of guava cactus honey.

Was it worth it?
Simply Healing is expensive, but is a unique and special place for improving your health and wellbeing. Everyone on the detox with me left glowing, positive, and with an admirable amount of weight lost.

We loved
The genuine care and warmth from Vivien and her team.

Losing weight and feeling a personal sense of achievement afterwards.

The break from the real world, and the self-indulgent feeling that the detox programme was all about getting ME on track!

We didn't love
If you are serious about detoxing and want to be in a truly safe, secure and nurturing environment, then this place is definitely for you. There are no lectures or guilt associated with why you are there. Simply Healing attracts regulars, solo visitors, couples, celebrities - anyone looking for privacy and exclusivity.

Why did you give the spa this rating?
We gave Simply Healing 5 bubbles Cleansing occurs inside and out, and the staff help you to complete your journey successfully. The team offer care and advice throughout your stay, as well as advice for reintroducing your body back in to the world of food. The staff are absolutely lovely, making you feel like old friends, yet remaining professional at all times. The treatments are all superb. The country house is beautifully decorated and spotless. The list goes on!

Would you go again?
Definitely. If I could afford it, an annual stay would be perfect.

We visited Simply Healing in July 2011.

Click here to see The Good Spa Guide review


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