by Jac Kneebone, Spa Manger at the Agua Spa, Sanderson Hotel, London


I was 21 and in the middle of a degree in Landscape Architecture, when I abandoned my original plan, to study Aesthetics and Complementary therapies instead. Aromatherapy was the first modality of massage that fascinated me and the passion grew from there.

Massage continuously demonstrates to me the basic human need to give and receive. I always see very positive physical results after I've given a great massage, and occasionally experience clients that cry. This is generally associated with aromatherapy and energy work and although people might find this alarming, therapists really encourage it, as it can be a very strong release of emotional toxicity created by a build up of everyday stress or trauma.

 

There is a misconception though that massage is only good for the receiver, I learned the benefits as a therapist, which is why I very quickly changed paths in life. Massage is the medium in which we can communicate all the positive emotion and care that we are all too often unable to articulate to others. Circulation is life and this is the fundamental goal of massage, along with countless benefits from increasing joint flexibility, reducing mental and physical fatigue and stress to improved posture. By providing these life enhancing benefits to your loved ones or unknown guests, the rewards and emotional satisfaction is priceless.

Massage is also a much more sustainable way of keeping healthy rather than having to resort to medication and surgery in the future. I was always very impressed by the fact that Traditional Chinese Doctors are paid when their clients are healthy and not when they are ill.

 

After training for 3 years working as a therapist for various spas and progressing to management, I finally got a fantastic call in 2010 asking me to become Director of Spa and Retail at Sanderson in London. Working for them has been one of the biggest privileges of my life. The basic concept of their hotels is to create an engaging but dynamic guest experience. As part of our green initiative, every brand we source has to have a green action plan and commitment to sustainability. Ingredients such as parabens and synthetic fragrances are no longer acceptable.

It means NEOM is a perfect partner. The brand was introduced in 2008 – I was very impressed with their organic consistency and they are very much an extension of the Agua concept – Classic, Pure, Elegant and Goal Orientated. The sounds guests make when they smell the NEOM products is the best, I often hear, – ‘aaahhh – I have to have that’.

 

We are constantly being bombarded with chemicals in every shape and form so adding more to the mix really contradicts with good health principles. People are striving to simplify their lives. We absolutely live far too stressed out lives these days - and this is only going to get worse. This is why education on stress relieving therapies and a more balanced lifestyle and diet are essential to coping with this. I must say, Bikram yoga helps me, but if I’m honest, I am too lazy to do this too often, so a long bath with essential oils is the next best thing, Bergamot is my personal favourite.