Cannabis-derived CBD is taking the spa world by storm. Tried Portugal’s first CBD spa to find out how it works.
Think you’ve achieved full relaxation in a spa? Think again. CBD treatments are changing the game and making their way into Europe.
I was invited to try PortugalFirst ever CBD massage at Pine Cliffs Serenity Spa in Albufeira.
As an exhausted mom on a supposed holiday with a six-year-old (as any parent will tell you, a holiday with a toddler is anything but a break), some time to relax and unwind was badly needed.
Excited to experience the therapeutic benefits of this hemp-derived molecule, I prepared myself to enter a state of full body bliss.
Here’s how it went, and why you should try it too.
My CBD massage at Pine Cliffs – a state of bliss
Upon entering the Serenity Spa one is immediately ushered into a state of well-being and serenity. An immaculately maintained bonsai stands at the center of the tranquil reception area. Here you can wait and ease your mind, or peruse the luxury cosmetics available for purchase, including full-spectrum CBD products used in innovative treatments.
It wasn’t long before I was led into a small wood-panelled dressing room where I changed into a soft toweling dressing gown and Japanese-style sandals. I was then led down a dimly lit corridor with gleaming walls to enjoy my CBD massage.
As promised, I was soon transported into a state of transcendent bliss as the vanilla scented CBD balm was rubbed deeply into my aching muscles.
What is a CBD massage?
Simply having your muscles pummeled and your fascia stretched can do wonders for wellness. But by adding CBD products to the mix, spa treatments are becoming much more holistic.
This is because CBD, which is one of over 140 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, has a unique interaction with the body. In addition to activating serotonin, dopamine and vanilloid receptors, which play a vital role in pain management, it works with a remarkable, but not much talked about, physiological network: the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t get you high, but it does help restore balance in the body via the ECS, a complex map of receptors found virtually everywhere, from every skin cell, muscle, bone, organ, and even from the cell walls.
CBD supports this system, elevating levels of endocannabinoids, or bliss molecules that restore balance to your body. One actually gets its name from the Sanskrit word for bliss because of how it makes us feel. Pair it with massage and you’re in for a double dose of euphoria.
CBD itself comes in many forms, from the most widely used CBD oils, to beverages, chocolate, massage oils, moisturizers, and patches. Regular users of the supplement throughout Europe they are estimated to reach 50 million by 2026, according to a report by market researcher Prohibition Partners.
Some CBD spas like to use a variety of CBD products, mixing the indoors with the outdoors. Others, like Serenity Spa, opt only for transdermal products like muscle balms, for the active ingredients to enter the bloodstream through the skin barrier.
Why choose a CBD spa treatment?
Once the 60 minutes had elapsed, I lay down on the loungers with Serenity Spa director Maria DOrey in the cocoon of nature relaxation room. Me, floating, in a towel with my hair on end. She, perfectly dressed in red high-rise heels, I could only dream of walking inside. She is clearly passionate about holistic wellness and was eager to share exactly why CBD fits so well into treatments.
The entire spa is very much about caring for the mind and body as a whole, with nutrition plans, lymphatic drainage, fitness classes, and detox baths, Maria explains.
Adding CBD to spa treatments, as Maria chose to do just this year, was an obvious choice once she discovered how the products work.
I want our treatments to align mind, body and spirit. This is what we focus on in our detox retreatsand with CBD we can go even further.
Maria believes that embracing the full spectrum of CBD provides a superior spa experience. This means incorporating a wider range of cannabinoids, terpenes and a blend of natural fats and minerals found in hemp, rather than just the CBD molecule alone.
Hemp is naturally very low in THC, the psychoactive compound of cannabinoids, and very rich CBDmaking it the perfect plant from which to derive CBD oil.
I’ve selected Ila CBD’s full-spectrum CBD products, all of which are carefully crafted in the Cotswolds, England, she tells me. I love their divine scent and flavor while staying true to the full nature of the hemp plant.
Naturally scented, Ilas products deliver the benefits of CBD through the skin.
Ila CBD has also been signed up by the spa to train its massage therapists in the intricacies of CBD – So we can deliver the best possible experience to our clients, says Maria
What are the benefits of a CBD massage?
Unlike topical skin care (such as moisturizers), transdermal balms are formulated with (in this case natural) permeation enhancers to penetrate through the skin’s layers, into the body. This gives you all the calming effects of CBDinside and outside.
CBD itself is perfect for even the most sensitive skin, with preliminary research even suggesting that topical use of CBD could have potential for treating acne, atopic dermatitis, keratin disease, eczema, and more Still. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, perfect for those who may be suffering from sore muscles, aching joints, stress or sleep problems.
So, how does a CBD massage compare to an ordinary one? In terms of the massage itself, it’s no different. I was lucky that the therapists at Serenity Spa are very talented so I enjoyed a wonderful deep tissue massage which gently untangled knots and rejuvenated tired muscles.
After the massage is really where the benefits of the CBD can be seen. I felt completely calmed, not just in my body, but in my mind. For the rest of the day, I felt more patient and relaxed.
Not mine either sonThe constant cries of ice cream for more ice cream (or the sugar-fueled tantrums that came after I caved in) were enough to throw me off balance. Oh, and I slept like a baby that night too.
Ruby Deevoy was a guest at Pine Cliffs Serenity Spa.
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