Wash cut and blow dry better at reducing stress

Mother’s Day stress experiment finds that a wash, cut and blow dry is more relaxing than a deep tissue massage

Wash cut and blow dry
Wash cut and blow dry

An interactive study by Buyagift.co.uk tested the stress levels of top mummy bloggers, revealing the ‘most relaxing’ beauty and spa treatments according to science – and the results are surprising.

Having a back and shoulder massage came out on top, but surprisingly a wash, cut and blow dry came in second – beating eight other treatments. Coming in third was a deep tissue massage, followed by a steam and sauna, and a Swedish full body massage.

Buyagift’s research found that over half of 2,000 UK mums are stressed out by getting the kids to leave the house for school and miss simple pleasures such as having a lie in, time to wash or the chance to use the loo in peace. In response, the UK’s leading online gift experience provider launched a scientific study to determine which spa treatment had the most relaxing effect on busy mums by measuring the stress levels of ten top UK mummy bloggers.


Most relaxing beauty and spa treatments

‘Spa Wars’ – the mummy blogger experiment

Ten UK mummy bloggers were each given a spa treatment and asked to measure their stress levels – or Heart Rate Variability (HRV) – once during the most stressful moment of their day and again after their spa treatment. Buyagift then compared the different readings to determine the most improved stress rates and unveil which spa treatments truly reduce stress levels the most.


Dr Daniel Plews, Physiologist and Buyagift’s stress experiment consultant comments: “The survey reveals that mums need to take more time to relax as too little sleep and too much stress can have serious long-term physical and mental health implications. As 4 in 5 families don’t know which treatment to get their mother, this experiment was designed to reveal which treatments help mums de-stress the most by analysing mums’ stress levels. We did this by measuring HRV, which is an accurate, non-invasive measurement of the variation between consecutive heart beats intervals. It reveals signs of physiological stress, as HRV is typically higher (more variation between heart beats) during relaxing activities and decreases (less variation between heart beats) during stressful activities.”

HRV readings were measured using HRV4Training, the first validated app able to measure heart rate and heart rate variability reliably.

Mummy bloggers self-identified the most stressful moment of their day, which included mealtimes, homework and getting out of the door. The treatments tested in the experiment were the ten favourite treatments as determined by the survey of 2000 UK mums.


2,000 UK mums have their say on Mother’s Day

Buyagift’s survey of over 2,000 UK mums also reveals interesting findings about mums’ sleeping habits, most stressful daily moments and what they think they’ll get for Mother’s Day:


  • Half of mums stressed out by getting the kids out of the house

Half of all mums said that getting their kids to leave for school was one of the moment stressful moments of their day. 40% mums said that bedtime was the most stressful time of their day, followed supermarket shopping (2 in 5 mums), long car journeys (1 in 3 mums) and potty training (1 in 3 mums).


  • 2 in 3 mums are sleep deprived – and really miss a lie in

Parental stress could be driving sleepless nights for mums, as nearly two thirds claim they get at least one hour less than the recommended 7 hours sleep on an average night. 1 in 10 mums get less than 3 hours sleep on an average night, making them dangerously sleep deprived.


  • Mums miss sleep more than anything else

Not surprisingly then, a huge 77% of mums also miss relaxation and pamper time, with sleep by far the most pinned-after relaxing moment. The next popular most-missed relaxing moments among mums are a bath or shower, followed by having the time to read a book or being able to drink a cup of tea before it gets cold.


  • Families mostly clueless on what mum wants for Mother’s Day

Sadly, 75% of mums claim to want a relaxing spa day or experience for Mother’s Day, yet 4 in 5 also think their families are likely to be put off getting them one. Most mums believe this is because their families don’t know their availability, the treatment names or because there’s too much choice.


Find out more about the mummy bloggers or take a quiz to find out how much of a stressed mum you are: www.buyagift.co.uk/mothers-day/spa-wars

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