London's Hidden Spa Gem: Banya - (That WHACKS the energy into you with leaves!)
This authentic Russian spa, Banya, is unlike any I’ve ever been to before. Hidden in Old Street, London it will completely detox, cleanse and stimulate your mind and body in just three hours.
“Is it going to hurt?” – I hear myself say whilst lying in my bathing suit in a hot sauna, with birch tree leaves covering my face waiting to be given my first ever Parenie massage…
The treatments are extremely unique and traditional for a Russian Banya. My partner Josh and I arrived at the spa and were directed to change into our bathing suits, we then headed to the lounge area for a cup of herbal infused tea before showering and sitting for five to ten minutes (five for me, ten for Josh) in the sauna. Everything seemed perfectly normal in that moment until one of the staff members called me over and placed an acorn shaped hat on my head and directed me to lie down on a bundle of branches made of birtch, oak and eucalyptus in the hot sauna for my Parenie treatment.
The Parenie is an invigorating thermal treatment that boosts blood circulation and relieves tension and stress, it lasts about ten minutes in which your therapist lightly waves and gently hits the branches against your body. It is extremely odd yet absolutely amazing – once you feel as though you can’t take anymore heat you are taken out of the sauna and persuaded to take a dip in an ice cold plunge pool – head under water as well! Once your body hits the cold water adrenalin and stress hormones are released and you begin to feel invigorated, energised and extremely detoxed.
After my Parenie treatment I had an exfoliating Honey & Salt Scrub which is a natural detoxifier, it absorbs toxins and removes dead skin cells gently cleansing your skin, whilst the honey moisturises and nourishes the skin with vitamins and minerals. My skin felt extremely smooth and soft after my scrub.
All of the treatments are very affordable and packages are available to purchase from the site.