A relaxing time in Bath

Picture: Andy Short

Picture: Andy Short

First published in Days Out by

IF YOU ever wanted to experience the feeling of weightlessness, then here’s some good news.

You don’t have to spend millions booking your spot on Richard Branson’s first space expedition – an off-peak return to Bath will serve you just fine.

At the historic town’s thermal spa – the only in the country to offer water heated by the Earth’s natural energy – a Watsu massage will leave you practically walking on air.

What’s Watsu? Essentially it is a Shiatsu massage performed in water.

But the lightness you feel afterwards is a sensation like no other.

Floating in the warm natural waters, the body is supported and guided in stretching and strengthening movements.

The support of water takes weight off the vertebrae and allows the spine to be moved in ways that simply aren’t possible on land.

I have to admit to being a little tense at first as I was stretched and spun by my practitioner. But as the fluid movements slowly began to relax my muscles, the warmth of the surrounding water sent me into a dream-like state.

Eventually, I completely forgot there was even someone moving me around and I just felt like I was bobbing around on the surface of the Moon.

Despite initial scepticism at the request to try to completely empty my mind, I found that 50 minutes had suddenly evaporated – I guess I really must have drifted off elsewhere!

As relaxation therapies go, they don’t come much better than Watsu.

The fun doesn’t even stop in the pool, either. As I climbed back on to terra firma, I could barely feel my legs and my head felt as light as a balloon, about to float off my shoulders.

I walked/bounced, Mr Soft-style, off to the chill out area to try to return to the real world.

Mind you, even that’s pretty tricky at Bath’s fantastic Thermae Spa. You could spend days zoning out in the centre’s two pools, both of which are filled the warm mineral-rich thermal waters.

From the rooftop pool, you can gaze across the surrounding hills and down smugly at the hubbub of the city below. The undercover pool offers a gentle river-like current and whirlpool jets for first-class loafing.

The spa’s four steam rooms will just about finish you off if there’s any energy left in you – and there’s always the thunderous jet shower to pound any last tensions from your neck and back.

It was the Romans and Celts who first wallowed in the city’s warm natural waters.

More than 2,000 years later and its not hard to see why those in need of a little R&R are still heading for Bath.

Getting there

• Thermae Bath Spa offers more than 50 treatments and packages, starting from £25 for a two-hour spa session. Watsu massage is £60 for a 50-minute treatment.

The spa is open from 9am-10pm, seven days a week.

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