These 5 Sports Recovery Places Will Have You Feeling 10 Years Younger Instantly!

(Disclaimer: You May Not Feel 10 Years Younger)

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Every year, in Dubai and the surrounding area, there seem to be more and more sporting events taking place, enticing us all to test our fitness. Gone are the days where there was just the one annual marathon to spike your there's a race of some sort every weekend.

Since January alone, I have taken part in the following:

  • Wadi Bih Run in Oman
  • Jebel Jais mountain ride
  • Dubai Marathon
  • Abu Dhabi ITU Triathlon
  • Oceanic Triathlon Series in Khor Fakkan x2
  • Spartan Race
  • 2XU Triathlon in Mamzar Beach

So we all know where the races are...but what comes after? When you're sore and tired! What’s the best way to recover? Here are five very different treatments that can be used for sports recovery, or simply relaxation to de-stress.

1. Zabeel Saray Talise Ottoman Spa

The lowdown

The top hotels in Dubai that provide spa facilities do so very well, but Zabeel Saray is the stand out option (it even made the ultimate Dubai bucket list). The relaxation begins with the drive out to the far side of the Palm, the end near JBR. You enter via the beautiful hotel down a marble corridor. There is a welcome room with arabic juice, dates and dried fruit, a light snack before your afternoon begins.

Do a lap or two in the following order. Go to the jacuzzi first, it is in a small but beautifully decorated room, with small alcoves and medieval turkish art on the walls. Then go to the steam room, have some flavoured water outside afterwards, before going to the sauna. Then try the snow room. Yes, a room full of snow. After that walk down the corridor past the outdoor sanctuary to the sea water swimming pool and gently swim up and down. Repeat.

The treatment

You will soon be called to the treatment area by one of the friendly turkish natives, who are experts in their field. They will take you into this stunning room, where you will lay on a large stone slap, looking up with a glass dome shaped roof.

If you are going here, it’s best to take one of the traditional turkish hammam or honey mask treatments. There is no point having a standard deep tissue massage when here as it defeats the purpose.

The verdict

This isn’t your natural sport recovery place to go to, but you will feel brand new afterwards and it isn’t bad for muscle treatment either. Recommended for a break away every now and again. We recommend you make an afternoon out of it. Go about one o'clock, book the appointment for 3 or 4 PM, but use the facilities before hand.

The cost

Price varies, but it’s 475 AED for the traditional Turkish treatment and guests can use the facilities for free on top of that. For more, see their website here. 

The treatment room

2. Deep Tissue Massage 

A sports massage by a trained physiotherapist is the most common and arguably most effective treatment for recovery after events. I met Bespoke Wellness as they provide massages at the open cycling sessions in Dubai Autodrome on Wednesday nights. Both Rhys and David are personable and knowledgeable on the subject matters.

The treatment

Therapist can isolate specific areas in pain, help treat injuries and profile advice on training and further recover. A standard session will involved assessment and then deep tissue massage on that area. It will loosen up muscles and untangle tight knots, freeing the built up lactic acid that causes the pain. There are more advanced treatments such as needle therapy.

The verdict

To treat a particular area of muscle pain, I went to David five times, and not only did this help me through a busy period of sporting events, it was also very educational, to help prevent strain in the future. Recommended

The Cost

Each session is around 500 AED, but you can get a package of 5 sessions for 2,000 AED. For more, see the Bespoke Welness website. 

3. Cyro

Cryotherapy is the process of getting into a freezing chamber. In the past ice baths were common to aid recovery of muscles, this is taking it to the next level. There is a company in Dubai called Cyro providing these services, they have 15 chambers and counting around the city. The practice comes dates as far back as 2500 BC, when ancient Greeks and Egyptians used this form of localised cold therapy to alleviate pain and inflammation. The technique was further developed in the 20th century by Japanese and Polish doctors”

The treatment

You get into a open top chamber, standing up with just your briefs on. Your heads sticks out as the chamber fills with smoke, Temperatures go to minus 140 degrees. It lasts three minutes and you are done. You shiver a bit but it’s not too bad, it's like going into the cold sea.

The verdict

Some people do this all the time, but it is a bit pricy for three minutes. In terms of effectiveness, it made a significant difference. I did this after running in the Wadi Bih event and was fine the rest of the day and the day after. However, the previous year I suffered badly with DOMS (Delayed onset muscle soreness), after the same event.

The cost
It costs 350 AED per treatment, you can buy a pack of 10 for 2,500 AED. For more, visit their website.

4. Flotation Therapy

Another treatment that isn’t widely on offer in Dubai, in fact, Point Zero in Sky Gardens DIFC is the only place offering floatation therapy. They opened in 2014 after being present in Abu Dhabi since 2004. Set up by a former pilot from Dubai, who discovered this treatment while in the Netherlands on a layover. It is said to replace six hours of sleep in a single session.

The treatment

The moment you lay into the chamber and the lights go out, it’s like going into a comfortable trance that you don't want to leave. The feeling is like floating in the dead sea, the water has salt sourced from Germany that provides the floating. You can choose to have lights and music on or off, and there is a neck brace for beginners to balance. In the immediate aftermath, I felt super relaxed. There are other treatments such as a water bike, and it'reads great for those with arthritis or other ailments.

The verdict

I was tired going into this session, it was on a Saturday after doing an Olympic distance triathlon on a Friday. The treatment won’t isolate specific muscles, however, it would appear that the holistic benefits are greater than the other treatments, in terms of meditation and muscle recovery. The staff are very attentive and explain everything clearly for those doing it for the first time. There are many ways flotation therapy can help, I would use it when to get a quick one-hour timeout to think, destress- and give my body a break. Recommended.

The cost

Prices vary by duration, however a single 60 minute session in a pod costs 350 AED. For more, visit their website

5. Full-on Sports Massage at SHP Dubai

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Need to iron out those muscle aches good and proper? Then, nothing beats a proper, hardcore sports massage. For those who have never had one...this is next level stuff. You thought that Thai massage you had on hols made you want to don't know you're born. Yes, it's painful but the relief that comes after, makes you forget the pain instantly...ok, within a couple of days!

Want the best there is to offer in Dubai? Then head to the Scandinavian Health and Performance clinic in JLT and ask for Richard'll never look back!

The Treatment:

As you walk into this space in Swiss Tower in JLT, you instantly notice how clean and professional everything is. I was met by Richard in reception and shown around the clinic. There's the treatment rooms as well as a gym with top of the range resistance machines that can be used by members and is also used for the rehabilitation packages that the clinic offer.

You can choose the length of your treatment, I went for the 60 minutes full-body sports massage and asked Richard to concentrate on my lower back and shoulders (my problem areas). Was it painful...yes? Richard took to every knot and ache my muscles were offering up with severe gusto. It took all my concentration to hold in the tears of pain. But if you like a massage where you can really feel every stroke (think deep tissue and then some)...this is for you. 

After the massage Richard offered up a few stretches and dynamic exercises to wake me up a bit. Then I was allowed back into the open, feeling a little dazed but in the safe knowledge that later that day...I would feel like I had a brand new body!

The cost:

An hour-long sports massage with Richard costs AED 500, but book sessions of 10 or 20 to get a discount. 

Find SHP at: 

Swiss Tower, Office No. 1304, Cluster Y
Jumeirah Lakes Towers (Opposite Damas)

For more info and to book a here

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richard in action at an outdoor event

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