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Spa 101 - The Basics of Spas

Dec 16, 2007
It seems they're everywhere - strip malls, office buildings, storefronts - From tiny salons touting their massage services to luxury destination resorts promising rest and rejuvenation, spas seem to be as numerous as the neighborhood 7-11 store. What is the difference between the nail place offering spa pedicures and the day spa providing full body treatments? No real regulation on how businesses may use the word spa may lead to not only confusion, but disappointment for consumers.

Firstly, it's important to understand that spa can refer to different types of services. Day spas offer services to their clients for the day. There are no overnight stays. During a visit, a client may enjoy a range of services including facials, body wraps, massages, and more. Many day spas also offer packages that include a range of services for a set price. Included in the package could be a light lunch, champagne, or coffee and tea. Day spas may also offer salon services. The day spa is a popular choice for brides-to-be who want to enjoy a range of spa services prior to their big day. In addition to facials and massage, brides can also receive services for make-up and hair. Bridal party packages are a popular choice for many brides and their friends who want to enjoy a little pampering.

Most importantly, day spas should provide a clean, safe, and nurturing environment for clients' relaxation. Only licensed estheticians and therapists should be on staff. Changing and showering facilities should be available for both men and women. Private treatment rooms for each client receiving a personal service are mandatory, and only professional spa products should be used by therapists. These are just a few of the requirements and distinctions between a facility that offer spa services and a true day spa.

Destination spas have one mission in mind: to help its clients learn to live a healthier lifestyle. This goal is accomplished through exercise, education, and spa treatments. While day spas serve individuals, destination spas are made up of people who are like-minded. They share an interest in healthy living.

Most destination spas have a two- or three-night minimum stay to receive the maximum benefits. Guests enjoy a range of healthy dishes, with an emphasis on whole grains, fresh vegetables and fruit, and plenty of nutritional education. Times of education emphasize self awareness and accountability. Most guests at a destination spa desire to make positive lifestyle changes and the spa serves as a jumpstart to that goal.

Many hotels and resorts are adding spa-going as their in-demand amenity. From quaint and cozy to luxurious and sprawling, spa resorts come in many shapes and sizes. While destination spas include meals, classes, and spa treatments in one price, resort spas feature a wide range of activities and services that can be purchased a la carte. Patrons may enjoy golf, swimming, tennis, horseback riding, and more at a spa resort. While destination spas offer only healthy cuisine, resort spas feature nourishing choices, alongside the burger and fries fare.

Hotel spas are perhaps some of the most lavish to be found. In Las Vegas, Spa Bellagio at The Bellagio is a sprawling 55,000 square feet and features 54 treatment rooms. The Mandrian Oriental in New York City is an urban hotel spa located in the Time Warner center. Amethyst steam baths and stone Jacuzzis with built-in chaises are just a few of the hotel's spa amenities.

Medical spas offer treatments that can only be administered under a doctor's supervision. Medical spas offer traditional spa services including massages and facials, as well as medical microdermabrasion, Botox injections, and intense pulsed light technology. Many of its treatments are meant to promote anti-aging, provide anti-aging, or offer hair removal.

Prior to visiting any type of spa, it's helpful to be acquainted with the basic types of services. Massage is obviously the most popular treatment at a spa. Massage techniques can vary widely and include the Swedish massage, which is a safe choice for the first-time spa-goer. A hot stone massage uses a black volcanic rock that retains heat well. After the stones have been heated in 120- to 150-degree water, the therapist uses Swedish massage strokes while holding the heated stones. Stones are also placed in specific points on the body.

Facials are a wonderful, relaxing treatment that cleans, exfoliates, and moisturizes the skin. Facials provide skin analysis, as well as a massage to stimulate the skin and facial muscles. A mask targeted to appropriate skin type is applied, followed by a regimen of toners and protective creams. Facials should be provided only by licensed estheticians.

Basically a facial for the whole body, body treatments provide cleansing, exfoliation, and hydration. A popular treatment, a salt glow is a mixture of sea salt, oil, and aromatics that is applied to the skin to exfoliate the dead skin cells. The treatment can be followed by a body mask brimming with mineral essentials to detox the body or provide hydration.

Spa experiences provide many benefits for the mind and body. Knowledge is key for consumers in choosing the right spa treatments, as well as the best spa provider. It can be the difference between a disappointing experience and a whole new level of living.
About the Author
Geologix Inc. manufactures products using a proprietary formula featuring 34 natural minerals contained in the ancient sea water from the famous Michigan Basin -- a concentration of minerals higher than that found in any known body of water in the world. Mineral Essentials focuses on spa, skin care, and massage products to moisturize and provide anti-aging protection for great skin. Mineral Essentials, and Acheaway
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