REVIEW: A 43-Year-Old ‘Spa Virgin’ Visits Nádúr At Ballygarry

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Dermot Crean learns the health benefits to the mind and body while visiting Nádúr Spa at Ballygarry House Hotel…

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Nádúr Spa at Ballygarry House Hotel.

IT’S not unusual for a man of my age to have avoided the spa experience over the past 20 years, but I get the feeling I’m in the minority these days.

Throughout the 90s and noughties there was an emphasis on male grooming, metro-sexualisation and general vanity as the Celtic Tiger roared and role models like David Beckham made taking care of your skin fashionable for lads.

It never appealed to me though and I’ve had no truck with spas in all my 43 years.

So it was with trepidation that I accepted a generous invitation from the good people at Nádúr Spa at Ballygarry House Hotel to try one of their treatments – just in time for Father’s Day which is around the corner.

The spa is located adjacent to the hotel and has its own entrance. I was warmly welcomed in the impressive reception area by manager, Gina Groves. She explained to me how male clients make up between 30 to 40% of their client base.

Gina said they come in for an escape from work pressures and find the massage treatments relaxing from a physical and mental point of view.

“We’d get male clients in here everyday; they would be golfers staying at the hotel, local taxi drivers for massage treatment on the neck and shoulders and the younger generation, coming up to exam time, come in to relieve stress,” said Gina.

I can see Gina’s point about the stress-relieving benefits of the treatments after having my face treatment and neck, head and shoulders massage.

Rita was my therapist for the session and – after changing into a comfy brown bathrobe and slippers – she showed me into the treatment room (normally clients enjoy the outdoor tub, sauna and steam room beforehand, but I was caught for time and couldn’t avail of them).

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The outdoor hot-tub at Nadur Spa.

With soothing, ambient Brian Eno-esque type music in the background, Rita’s hands worked their magic. During the session she applied a range of Voya organic oil products as she massaged my face, exfoliating the skin.

Immediately, I was totally relaxed. Every muscle in my body was rested, my mind was switched off from work and I was in a semi-conscious state of bliss.

My spa scepticism dissipated during the face, neck, shoulders and arms massage as I quickly realised why these treatments have huge health benefits for the body and mind.

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The tranquility room at Nadur Spa.

When it was over, I was led to the tranquility room and given a fresh fruit snack of melon, strawberries and kiwi, with a cup of delicious juice to enjoy.

With the comfortable seating, chilled out music and great views of the mountains on a spectacular sunny morning, I could have stayed there all day.

So Zen-like and peaceful was my demeanour, I feared that venturing outside in my brown robe and slippers, local wildlife would mistake me for St Francis Of Assisi and within seconds, birds and squirrels would be perching on my hands and shoulders.

But all good things come to an end. I came back to reality back in the changing room when I looked at my phone and saw a number of work-related missed calls and text messages waiting for me.

And this is the point. I found out that most men don’t go to spas for cosmetic or fashionable  reasons these days; it’s more a time to escape the stresses and pressures of work and modern life and the health benefits are really important, both physically and mentally.

So if your dad or husband is sceptical about ‘popping their spa-cherry’, then this Father’s Day could be a good time to convert them. Believe me, they’ll thank you for it.

• Nádúr Spa have a Father’s Day Special for €85. It consists of;

A Hydrotherapy Bath followed by a a 30 minute back broadening massage


A pint of your favourite tipple in the Outdoor Hot Tub followed by a 60 minute full body massage

Both options include full access to the Sauna, Steamroom and Outdoor Hot Tub

Contact Nádúr Spa on 066-7144560 see their Facebook page here or buy a gift voucher for the spa here

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