Pampering is what staff at The Health and Serenity Spa in Newport do best. Carys Thomas has a go at being a beauty therapist.

THE Health and Serenity Spa on Newport’s Clytha Park Road has been open since August of last year and was previously the Heaven Sent Day Spa.

With a vast range of treatments on offer including spray tanning to waxing, I had a lot to learn in my new role as beauty therapist but it was clear from the beginning that the most important thing to remember was to make sure your client leaves with a smile.

The trick to being a good beauty therapist seems to require two things, the first is a steady hand and the other a friendly face. Being a people person would definitely be one of the main attributions needed to do the job.

Katie John, 24, therapy director said: “It’s very rewarding when you get great feedback from the clients. You have great job satisfaction.

“It’s nice to know you’ve made them feel healthier and happier.”

Before each treatment, the therapist will carry out a wellbeing consultation with the client. This will involve asking them about their lifestyle and what their aims are for that particular treatment.

Massages are the most popular treatment at the spa. They offer varied styles including massages using heated bamboo sticks, Indian massages and hot stones, which are volcanic rocks that are heated and used to massage the muscles.

The darker the stone the deeper the penetration into the muscle.

I tried my hand at the traditional massage, the first thing I did was to consult with my client on what areas are concerning her. Her problem area was at the top of her back where she had a build up of knots.

Before placing oil on the client you must check whether they are allergic to anything. I used grape seed oil to cover my clients back.

The massage technique is to start at the top of the shoulders and work along the outline of the back. The spine bone must have limited pressure when massaging.

The spa use a lot of forearm movement in their massages to relieve tension in the muscles. They taught me the effleurage, which means to skim in French, which is a soothing, stroking movement used at the beginning and end of a body massage.

It is used to warm up the muscles before deep tissue work. The massage sessions usually last about 25 minutes.

Ms John said: “We have a policy of five massages a day for the therapists here because if they are doing more than that it does take its toll on their wrists and the quality of the work will suffer.

“You adjust the pressure of the massages according to the client’s preference or problem areas. You start with medium pressure and work from there.”

The key to painting nails seems to be to take your time. I could probably just about paint between the lines on paper but a nail is a much smaller surface.

I was taught how to professionally manicure. First your client must choose from a range of colours, the spa use O.P.I gel colour which is a more durable polish than your average bottle.

The cuticles are treated and then the dead skin is pulled off. A buffer is used to smooth the nail and can increase circulation beneath the nail bed which in turn helps keep nails healthy and strong.

You can choose which nail shape you would like such – round or square. I’m used to painting my own nails but on someone else it is a lot harder than it looks.

The therapy director was proud of my effort before seeing that I had painted part of my client’s finger. The manicure at the spa usually takes an hour and 15 minutes extra for a French manicure.

I had to apply an undercoat before applying two layers of gel and then a top layer to protect the nails. I was advised to cap the nail at the tip with each coat in order to stop the colour from peeling.

Katie Wenzel, director of marketing, said: “In this industry there’s always a new trend or new treatment coming out. It’s an exciting part of the job to try new things and develop techniques.

“The girls can specialise in whatever treatment they most enjoy.”

The majority of beauty therapists at the spa have an NVQ level two or three from college but the staff are trained in the practices of the individual spas or saloons.

Two members of staff are trained to use the Caci machine which are used for non surgical facelifts. It uses microcurrents to stimulate and tone muscles.

For obvious reasons they wouldn’t let me use this on my client’s face.

Ms John said: “The improvements are amazing, it works on acne scars and has previously been used on burn victims. It’s probably my favourite treatment to perform because of the visual drastic changes to the lives of our clients. It gives them a confidence boost.

“You build up a nice relationship with the clients, they really open up to you and it’s a joy to see the results at the end of it.”

Ms John added: “It’s such a friendly atmosphere to work in. I have been working in this industry for the last six years. The most enjoyable aspect for me is the teaching, it’s really enjoyable to see the girls progress.”

The spa has a Variable Pulsed Light machine which is used for hair reduction, treatment of thread veins, pigmentation and acne. Both the client and therapist have to wear protective goggles during this treatment.

The spa use Elemis products for their organic ingredients and has soothing music played throughout the treatment rooms. They have both single and dual treatment rooms at the spa which is quite deceivingly large with different rooms tucked away.

Although I learnt a lot, I don’t think my skills are quite equipped enough to work in a spa. I think it’s best I just stick to visiting them.

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