FRANKLY, they had me at ‘mud chamber’.

Any spa ritual that is said to leave the skin feeling softer, (maybe younger?) and beautifully exfoliated has to be a good thing, right? And having recently faced up to a milestone birthday, I felt in need of some bodywork.

So when I was invited to try the Mud Rasul treatment at the Devonshire Arms Hotel Spa at Bolton Abbey, I accepted in a heartbeat. It was only afterwards that I had to look it up to find out exactly what ‘rasul’ was.

Rasul is an ancient cleansing ritual originally taking place in temples beneath a starlit sky. Traditionally, chakra muds are applied to areas of the body, inhaling steam to cleanse the respiratory system.

Swapping an eastern temple for an ancient Yorkshire barn, my rasul experience took place in the tranquil spa at the Devonshire Arms. The Throne Mud Rasul, introduced this year as part of a makeover at the spa, is located in a‘Heat Experience’ area, with an additional ‘Experience’ shower. Available for up to four guests to use in privacy, the Rasul uses a combination of mud products, enriched with Dead Sea minerals and essential oils, absorbed into the skin and hair with the use of steam, to bring deep cleansing, nourishing and hydration benefits.

The Devonshire Arms Spa is housed in an ancient barn adjacent to the hotel - facilities include four treatment rooms, indoor pool, steam room, sauna, relaxation room, a separate gym and tennis courts.

My day started with a pot of tea on the terrace overlooking rolling hills. Reclining in our robes, soaking up the sunshine, my friend and I felt instantly relaxed. Then we were led, in swimsuits, to an ‘Experience Shower’ bathed in changing coloured lights, with various settings; cool, misty, warm and tropical.

Next it was into the Rasul chamber, where three pots awaited us; one containing a face mask, one for our hair, and a black mud-like substance which felt like butter as we scooped up handfuls.

What I particularly liked about this treatment is that we were left to apply the face, hair and body masks in privacy. While it’s lovely being pampered with a facial or massage, a body mask treatment can feel a bit awkward, and it made a refreshing change to be left to apply it yourself.

After spreading the mud mask on our legs, arms and neck - hopefully, combined with the face and hair masks, we managed to cover all our chakra energy centres - we went into the steam area, the ‘rhassoul’ chamber, which is similar to a steam room. As the lights turned to various soothing colours, with calming mood music filling the air, we sat and immersed ourselves in the steamy heat then, after about 15 minutes, a warm shower descended and the mask substances washed away.

We rinsed off back in the 'Experience shower', then went through to the spa pool area for a dip in the Jacuzzi.

My skin already felt softer, and much more thoroughly exfoliated than I could ever manage with just a tub of cream in my bathroom at home.

With the original exposed stone walls and thick wooden beams of the old barn, and light streaming through a huge arched window, the spa is a heavenly oasis. The spa complex includes therapy rooms, an indoor swimming pool, Jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, relaxation space and lounge, with views over tennis courts and the countryside beyond.

Spa treatments include an algae wrap, salt and oil scrub, body brush and polish, hot stone massage and an ‘age rebel facial’. After a swim in the pool I spent some time unwinding in the sauna and steam room, then it was time for tea.

The rasul spa package comes with afternoon tea in the Devonshire Arms Conservatory. Perfect for a treat with a mother, daughter or a group of friends. Beautifully presented on an elegant cakestand was a selection of tasty finger sandwiches, fruit scones and sweet treats - among them macaroons, mini lemon meringue pies and spiced carrot cake.

Even if chakras and chi aren’t your thing, the rasul experience is a fun, relaxing way to spend some ‘me time’ - and your skin will thank you for it. Mine felt softer for days. Good for the soul, as well as the body.

* Spa Days at the Devonshire Arms Hotel Spa are from £99 per person.

* Call 01756 710441 or visit