Synonymous with relaxation, luxury and beauty, spas have become a recreational staple for generations of people looking to escape the noise of daily life and settle into a few hours of comfort and bliss. But what constitutes a typical spa day can vary widely depending on what treatment a visitor wants and what type of spa they’re visiting.
Despite their differences, there are a few ways to break down a typical spa day.
Prior to the actual appointment, a visitor first needs to decide why they want to go to a spa and what treatment fits them best.
The most popular treatment by far is a massage. Often misconstrued as a simple pampering luxury, massage is actually considered a complimentary and integrative medicine that can be offered in tandem to a wide range of medical conditions and situations. According to the Mayo Clinic, massages have been found to help issues such as anxiety, digestive disorders, fibromyalgia and more.
Facials are another popular treatment and are often used to gain a clearer and healthier complexion through cleansing, exfoliating and nourishing skin.
In addition most spas offer salt glows, mud baths, body wraps, manicures, pedicures and more. Because the treatment menu varies from facility to facility, finding out what a visitor is looking for is imperative to guiding the spa experience.
There are three main types of spas: destination, resort or hotel and day spa. Experiences can vary place to place but generally destinations will be all-inclusive and centered around a holistic approach to treating mind, body and spirit through spa services as well as food, activities and classes. Resort or hotel spas may include many of the amenities of a destination spa but allow the freedom to choose a personalized experience. Day spas are facilities that fit into your everyday schedule with visitors often booking for specific treatments.
Depending on the spa and what treatment you’re seeking, there are a variety of things you could bring to the facility. The theme is to escape from the daily routine, so it’s suggested you bring a few essentials—maybe a book or something to help pass the time. You’ll also want comfortable underwear as you’ll be in a bathrobe all day as well a change of clothes for afterward. You might also bring a swimsuit if you’re spending time in a mud bath, hot tub or sauna room.
There’s no specific spa atmosphere, other than the general theme of relaxation. That typically means things feel friendly, slow paced and enjoyable, sentiments triggered through every sense from sight to smell.
Once treatments begin, spa visitors will also likely wear a robe. Depending on the treatment, especially massages and body wraps, you may be asked to go nude (though modestly covered by a towel) during the treatment. The spa guest is still in control, however, and should communicate with their practitioner about comfort level, whether that be about the amount of clothes they are wearing, the temperature in the room or pain from a deep massage. While there is an element to giving yourself up to the flow of the treatment, the visitor should always feel entitled to maintaining open communication.
It’s best to allow your skin to breathe and absorb the creams and oils the therapist just applied. For that reason showering or applying makeup immediately after treatment is discouraged. Tipping your therapist a standard 10-20 percent is also suggested.