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Spring spactacular; A relaxing break at the stunning SHA resort in Alicante is the ideal stress-stressbuster to reinvigorate your body and mind and put a spring in your step. busterMARY ANN PICKFORD.

It's that time of year when a little spring cleaning is in order - but I'm not just talking about our homes.

A spa retreat is the perfect antidote to a cluttered mind and weary body and Alicante in Spain boasts a gem.

I'm heading to SHA, a multiaward-winning resort which oers activities and treatments designed to improve health and wellbeing, from yoga to massages and training to diets.

anks to a lack of exercise - plus comfort eating from the cold snap - and work stresses, I'm left feeling sluggish and frazzled.

After discussing the macrobiotic philosophy or lifestyle - SHA's core principle - with nutrition and health counsellor Teresa Mizon, I make a vow to eat well and run again.

Teresa says that guests come to the wellness clinic for three main reasons - to lose weight, detox or relax.

And at SHA, macrobiotics is the foundation on which any health goal is built upon.the Greek father of medicine Hippocrates coined the term, with 'macro' translating to 'long' or 'great' and 'bio' meaning 'life'.

Some people call it a diet, with meals based on wholegrain foods, lots of sea vegetables, sh and very little meat. But it's more than that.

Teresa said: "It's a way of living for peace. the benefits include inner peace, health and a balanced lifestyle.

"You live more in harmony with everything that surrounds you. You now through life more like water."

With this in mind, I glide over to my first treatment. I'm having a cryotherapy sauna, a cutting-edge technique where the body is exposed to temperatures as low as -100C for a few minutes to boost the metabolism.

Inside the stand-up cabin, an icy mist surrounds me. Pretty soon it becomes bitingly chilly.

Afterwards, my therapist Daniele explains that because this was my first time, the temperature only dropped to around -60C.

Despite the chill, I feel pleasantly tingly and revitalised.

My day of relaxation and pampering continues with a soothing hydroenergetic detox cure.

I slowly inhale the fresh scent of citrus oils burning and soak in a jet bath with colour-changing lights.

Yuwa, my therapist, then leads me to a small candlelit room and brushes mud on me, then wraps me in plastic.

I lie on a waterbed as the bodymask puriffes my skin while massaging jets puries my skin while massaging jets bubble underneath. It was heavenly.

From there, I check in for a rejuvenating deep tissue massage, then an abhyanga fusion massage.

the latter - a treatment borne from an ancient Hindu tradition - is my favourite and one I recommend.

Yuwa meets me again and works her magic on my muscles, pouring gorgeous-smelling, exotic oils on my back while kneading tense knots.

It is bliss for 50 minutes and the soothing eect lasts long after, making me feel as light and carefree as a bird.

I could easily it around SHA, going from one massage to another, but I already have plans to visit the hydrotherapy circuit. I meander from pool to bath to sauna and back again in a contented state of bliss. Stress? Don't know the meaning of it.

It's not just SHA's luxurious facilities and treatments that evoke a sense of tranquillity.

the breathtaking panoramic view of Alicante's Sierra de Bernia mountain range and the Mediterranean Sea from the open-air terrace makes you forget any worries.

the Shamadi restaurant makes use of the scenic vista, too, with oor-to ceiling glass walls and doors so you can admire the sights from indoors while tucking in to tasty meals.

And they are indeed delicious, with daily menus varying from local dishes such as paella and duea (two specialties of Valencia, the region home to Alicante) to seafood mains such as lobster and skate, all with a fresh and healthy twist that is the hallmark of macrobiotic gastronomy.

It's a struggle to leave my bed at 7am but the beautiful peachy pink sky spurs me on to get outside.

It is worth it, as not long after, my group and I are walking up a winding path towards a lighthouse on El Faro, a hill by the coast that's part of the Sierra Helada natural park.

Once again I and myself stunned by the amazing views over the marina. there is nothing like the power of nature to help you feel refreshed and energised.

I'm reluctant to leave but at least I've already got one less thing to worry about on my spring cleaning checklist - myself.

Travel info Mary Ann was on the SHA Feeling programme. For details, visit Health and Fitness Travel offers two nights at SHA Wellness Clinic from PS958pp or PS1155 for single PS1155 for single occupancy. Price includes full board, a wellness programme, return flights and transfers. For advice, guidance and booking, visit or telephone 0203 397 8891.

meander from pool to bath to sauna and back in a contented state of bliss


GET SOME SPACE In luxurious open-plan rooms

FEAST YOUR E R E YES Jaw-dropping scenery

SO NEAR S AR O SPA Grand entrance to SHA hints at the relaxing experience that awaits

CLEAN BREAK Mary Ann feels great after relaxing spa break in Alicante
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 15, 2015

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