Get a body M.O.T with ESPA Life"s Gatekeeper

Get a body M.O.T with ESPA Life's Gatekeeper



11:34 GMT, 20 July 2012

London has more fancy hotel spas than you can shake a stick at. But nestled in the heart of the five-star Corinthia is a gem that delivers much more than just a few hours of pampering.

ESPA Life’s flagship spa offers the usual smorgasbord of gym, pool, steam room and sauna, but on a seriously opulent scale.

And what a scale it is. Spread over four floors and covering 3,300 square metres, this is truly the daddy of all spas.

The mood-lifting pool

The mood-lifting pool

A unisex thermal floor is a subterranean world of spa luxury – from the heated marble Cleopatra beds to the inky glitter of the steam room and the ice fountains, this is the very highest end of health and fitness.

As well as massage, facials and beauty treatments, the spa also offers packages that will whip you into shape for your wedding day, prepare you for marathons, ski trips, rugby, football, cricket and even summit training. Yep, should you be pondering a trek up a mountain, make this your first port of call.

After enjoying a facial using oils I chose myself and spending time floating in the nine metre ‘silver steel’ swimming pool, I have an appointment with the ‘Gatekeeper’.

When I hear this phase, I can’t help but think of Sigourney Weaver in Ghostbusters, breathlessly asking Rick Moranis if he’s the Keymaster. Moranis replies, asking if she’s the Gatekeeper and all hell breaks loose. It’s a somewhat disturbing image if I’m honest, but by this point I’m so blissed out I wouldn’t have raised an eyebrow if the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man burst into the thermal floor and did 50 lengths alongside me.

However, this Gatekeeper in question is not lolling on top of the Empire State Building in a state of undress. She is the immaculately turned out Hannah Yang, who combines naturopathy with Chinese medicine to tailor lifestyle programmes that will have you fighting fit and at your peak of health.

As I’m not getting married or planning on climbing any mountains any time soon, I keep it simple and current.

I’ve finally found something that works
for me and I’m sticking to it – so thank you Hannah and thank you ESPA, a
resounding thumbs-up to you all

During our one-to-one Hannah asks me what my health concerns are, about my menstrual cycle and what my diet is like.

I tell her I’m a vegetarian – one of those lazy ones who lives on pasta and it’s beginning to show. I feel and look bloated. I have the energy of a slug and while I know it’s a terrible habit, I just can’t seem to break it.

Additionally, I am overdoing it with cheese and although I claim to hate milk, I have enough white cups of coffee a day to make me a bona fide hypocrite.

Hannah also probes me on how much I drink, and I’m sorry to say that although I lied and halved the amount, she still winced (sorry Hannah).

Hannah takes all this in, clicking away on her laptop and then offers me her diagnosis.

The relaxing and glamorous spa

The relaxing and glamorous spa

She tells me she believes I have sugar and oestrogen imbalances. The sugar overdose stems from my pasta habit, which is easy to believe as it all converts to glucose in the end.

More intriguing is the oestrogen issue. She tells me this is likely to be a result of my copious white coffees, cheese and processed dairy cravings. It seems I drink a LOT of milk for someone who claims to hate the white stuff.

I’m shocked as I thought, you know, cheese was OK as long as I bought the posh stuff. Hannah reminds me processed milk comes from a cow that is injected with female hormone to make it lactate more. Yuk. What's more she informs me my body can't actually absorb the calcium contained in milk thanks to a pesky protein contained in diary products. Things that make you go 'hmmm' indeed.

Although I’m not yet lactating, I’m probably not far off. I’m feeling more and more bovine by the day and the bloating and growing curves are starting to make sense.

I feebly protest about how limited I am, what with being a vegetarian and so busy blah blah, but Hannah dismisses this, suggesting healthy alternatives for all of my complaints, leaving me bereft of excuses and feeling rather sheepish.

Next we talk about my skin. Putting on her Chinese medicine hat, Hannah tells me the spots on my chin are connected to my stomach and digestive problems. Correspondingly, pimples in other places have other explanations.

Thumbs up to Hannah and the team!

Thumbs up to Hannah and the team!

There is no crazy science to this. And the alternatives and supplements she suggests are easy to source. What strikes me is this advice is so simple, yet we live in a society bursting at the seams with fad diets and quick fixes that promise the world on a stick, leaving me in a state of perpetual indecision.

I needed to hear this from a source who is qualified to dismiss the blood group diet, the cabbage soup plan and all that nonsense for the crap it really is.

A week in and I’ve been following Hannah’s advice. I start each day with a cup of hot water and lemon, I’m weaning myself off the pasta and cheese and I have heaps more energy.

I’m less bloated and even my muffin tops feel tighter, (I’d like to say they’ve disappeared completely, but give the woman a break, she’s not a magician).

I’ve finally found something that works for me and I’m sticking to it – so thank you Hannah and thank you ESPA, a resounding thumbs-up to you all.

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