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SPA DOCTOR: Smiling again in the city of the blues

SPA DOCTOR: Smiling again in the city of the blues

Around this time of the year I get anxious, grumpy and chronically exhausted.

While everyone else is filled with the joys of spring, I just want to lie in bed. It is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Usually this means that the body finds it hard to cope with short, dark days in the winter, but for me the symptoms of depression and exhaustion begin at the end of March when the clocks change.

It is thought that between four and six percent of the population suffers from SAD, and one in ten of us get it “reversed” during the summer months.

The Swissotel Chicagom was perfect for curing seasonal affective disorder, which affects between four and six percent

The Swissotel Chicagom was perfect for curing seasonal affective disorder, which affects between four and six percent

I am now prescribed antidepressants, but when I had the chance to try out a spa program that combines exercise and mindfulness, I was intrigued to try it out.

WHERE IS THE SOLUTION?

The Swissotel Chicago – of which I am very upset – is known as the city of blues! I’m in one of the 1,700-square-foot, five-room Vitality Suites, which comes complete with its own private training room with state-of-the-art fitness equipment and spectacular views of Lake Michigan.

THE TREATMENT

Guests in a Vitality Suite can opt for the full wellness package, which includes daily personal training (in-room) and meditation sessions. It starts at 9 o’clock with a workout.

I’m a little wary while I injured my back for hours before I arrived at the hotel, but a warm-up of low-intensity stretching and breathing exercises helps relieve pain and pain.

The next step is a mindfulness consultation with one of the therapists on location. The one-hour session focuses on concentrating my mind on removing negative situations, being friendlier to myself, and finding joy in small, everyday things.

Seasonal affective disorder usually means that the body finds it difficult to cope with short, dark days in the winter - but for some, the symptoms of depression and exhaustion begin at the end of March when the clocks change

Seasonal affective disorder usually means that the body finds it difficult to cope with short, dark days in the winter - but for some, the symptoms of depression and exhaustion begin at the end of March when the clocks change

Seasonal affective disorder usually means that the body finds it difficult to cope with short, dark days in the winter – but for some, the symptoms of depression and exhaustion begin at the end of March when the clocks change

For dinner, I am treated to the bizarre sounding “Sound Bath Meditation”. Therapist Sara Auster instructs me to lie on the floor of the lounge area while she uses a combination of percussion instruments and electric speakers to fill the room with hypnotic sounds.

Because I feel traces of fear and stress melt away, it is difficult to prevent me from falling asleep.

Dinner at the hotel restaurant is chosen from a special low-fat, low-carbohydrate menu. As a fan of curries and wok dishes it feels like too much of a detox. Fortunately I am offered a few glasses of wine. Needless to say I go back to my dreamy room and conk out as soon as my head hits the orthopedic pillow.

After two nights my batteries feel charged. I don’t know if it’s the exercise or the therapy, but I suddenly smile again.

The Vitality Suite wellness package starts from £ 916 per night. It includes, on request, Sound Bath meditation and fitness trainer. swissotel.com

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