by Soo Kim, The Telegraph, July 12, 2018
Draped over a soft bed cocooned by a warm glow after a hot saltwater bath, I felt the aches in my bones finally begin to melt away.
But my dreamy haze was suddenly broken by the surprising touch of a silky cream being carefully iced down my back.
“Is it meant to sting?” I asked the massage therapist nervously.
“Yes, a little. But the greater the sting, the more of it your body is lacking” she replied reassuringly.
Dubbed by some as the “invisible deficiency”, that tingly burn was said to be a sign of my body’s lack of an often overlooked mineral - magnesium. But this basic mineral prevents and treats a host of health conditions, according to the British Nutrition Foundation, from high blood pressure and heart disease to insomnia and anxiety - the latter two of which I’d been wrestling with for awhile.
“Symptoms of deficiency include fatigue, muscle weakness, heart arrhythmia and ECG abnormalities [irregular heart rates and rhythms], depression and psychosis,” said Ayela Spiro, the nutrition science manager at the British Nutrition Foundation.
A cocktail of stresses and sleepless nights had left me chronically ill and tired for months. So when I’d heard about a magnesium-focused spa programme at the Princesa Yaiza resort, in Lanzarote, designed to target fatigue, I was intrigued to put it to the test.
The sprawling seafront resort has a spa centre with 50 treatment rooms dedicated to Thalassotherapy, a treatment based on seawater and its trace elements which include magnesium.
“Stress causes the elimination of magnesium through urine, further compounding magnesium deficiency,” notes Dr Carolyn Dean, author of The Magnesium Miracle and Invisible Minerals, who claims there is a direct correlation between fatigue and magnesium deficiency.
“Some people find that any form of magnesium in pills or powder can cause an immediate laxative effect,” she adds, which is why she believes magnesium could potentially be best absorbed when applied directly on the skin.
My journey through magnesium-filled bliss began with a thorough body exfoliation, scrubbed with seawater salts to optimise the absorption of minerals.
Feeling clean and fresh, I laid down on a padded bench with a row of rain showers pouring over me. This Vichy water massage is designed to invigorate the body’s senses, increase blood circulation and reduce stress by stimulating the nerves, while the water also hydrates and detoxifies the skin.
As I surrendered my ticklish urges to the gentle rhythm of the water, the Vichy shower was followed by a soothing full body massage using magnesium oil.
The next morning, I escaped to the beach for a dose of sun and serene sea views, transfixed by the towering mountains of the island’s dramatic volcanic landscape just above the horizon in the distance.
Sunkissed and sprightly, I was ready for my next treatment - a magnesium-infused saltwater bath in a hot tub with water jets targeting different parts of the body.
Slipping into the effervescent hot bath, the jets began pounding against my arms, sides, back and legs, and my mind began to drift away as my body adjusted to the beat of the rigorous jets.
Feeling limber, I’d made it to the last stretch - a full body seaweed wrap. As a fluffy paste made with seaweed (naturally rich in magnesium) was slathered over my body, a soothing tingle spread down my back and limbs. Encased in a heated treatment chamber, which was closed shut over my body with my head peeking out the top, any claustrophobic thoughts were lulled by the enveloping warmth, as my skin drank the seaweed tonic.
After about 20 minutes in the chamber, my skin was given a final layer of magnesium with a full body massage. Stepping out of my little magnesium bubble, I felt a lot lighter and recharged, in mind and body, than when I’d arrived.
Leaving the sparkling deep blue waters and crystal clear skies behind, my blissful escape from a hectic life in London had come to an end. I know it will take more than an intense weekend of magnesium baths to tackle my busy lifestyle. But as we hit the road approaching the island’s intimidating mountains, they seemed a little less impossible to climb up close than they did in the distance.
Seven nights’ b&b in a Double Superior Room at the Princesa Yaiza Hotel Resort costs from £1,219 per person, including a two-day Special Fatigue & Stress Magnesium cure treatment, return flight and transfers. To book, see: Inspiring Travel Company (01244 355527; inspiringtravelcompany.co.uk).