Beginner’s guide to spa treatments

Don't know which spa treatment is right for you? Allow us to help

A couple relaxing in a spa getting a massage

Often, people go to a spa and then stand there wondering, which treatment to choose. Every treatment appears to be as inviting as the next, adding to the confusion. Although the concept of relaxing at spas has picked up , many people are still unaware about the importance of choosing the right treatment as per individual requirements. Spas offer a long list of services, but these can usually be broken down into:

  • Massages
  • Body rituals
  • Facials

Spa massages

The massage category includes traditional Swedish, Balinese, deep tissue, as well as more off-beat therapies, like the novel rope massage, geo thermal therapy, lava shell massage and Thai foot reflexology.

Body rituals

The broad category of body treatments includes services like body scrubs or polishes, wraps and specific massages or treatments like the Dr Fish. These treatments can be availed for specific concerns using different products for moisturising, relaxing, brightening and healing.

Spa facials

Facials given in the spa are more elaborate, compared to those in beauty salons. They are also brand targeted.


Massage techniques are relaxing and have miraculous effects. A massage works on the age-old method of using energy meridians to stimulate the body’s inner power of balance and healing by applying pressure using the fingers, palms, elbows, knees or feet.

If you are looking for a complete body massage to relax yourself, go for a high pressure one such as a rope massage. A high pressure massage uses sweeping movement over the muscles and the ligaments of the body. It’s an excellent treatment for those involved in sports and physical activity and also for people suffering from back problems.

To relieve stress and boost immunity  go for a low-pressure massage such as the Swedish massage, which helps relax, stimulate and detoxify the body.

Few ingredients and massage types aimed at anti-ageing:

Citrus and green tea with Shiatsu

The Shiatsu massage involves stimulating the acupressure points of the body. It detoxifies the body, releases tightness and alleviates tension. It’s a perfect treatment to restore a better body mind balance and recover vitality. Citrus and green tea refresh your skin and help delay ageing.

Cardamom and cocoa with stone therapy

A well-moisturised body doesn’t age fast. Go for cardamom and cocoa body serum or oil as it helps increase your skin’s moisture levels. Stone therapy helps calms nerves, destresses you, thus helping you sleep better.

Body wraps

Body wraps offer relaxation, cleansing and detoxification that enhances the skins texture and vitality. The entire body is moisturised and smoothened, making you feel fitter, healthier and more relaxed. Different spas offer different types of body wraps using various ingredients some of them natural such as algae and others man-made such as chocolate. Most of the ingredients are packed with antioxidants and other nutrients that improve the skin’s texture, lending it a glow.

Before booking yourself for some spa indulgence, research various spas and the treatments they offer. This takes little work, and there is no perfect method to do this. Discuss the treatment in detail with the spa manager. Also discuss if you suffer from a medical condition such as hypertension, in which case you should be avoiding treatments that raise the heart rate such as a sauna, steam bath, or very warm wraps.

If you are still unsure of the treatment to take, simply go for the most basic, gentle massage they have to offer such as the Swedish massage. Keep trying out different treatments from each category. Slowly, you’ll start to get the hang of it and be able to decide on the types of treatment you most enjoy. Then making a choice will be easy.

Facial treatments

Few are spared of skin problems, thanks to pollution, changing weather and erratic eating habits. Spas offer various treatments to rejuvenate your face.

Difference between serums and creams

While a cream or a lotion can be likened to a single capsule of vitamin, a serum is like a capsule of compounded multivitamin. Creams/lotions are meant for a broad spectrum of needs whereas serums are intended for a specific purpose used as a direct dose. The dosage is extremely important when it comes to serum as serums are potent. In creams/lotions, the dosage is not such a crucial factor.

Cleansing is the first step and important in a facial. Insist on cleansing products that have a pH value between 5 and 5.5 as it corresponds to the skin’s natural pH. Using such products will ensure that that skin’s natural pH balance is not disturbed during application and that the skin’s natural acidic mantle that protects remains intact. The cleanser should contain no alcohol so that it doesn’t disturb the skin’s natural moisturizing factor [NMF].

Another ingredient that plays an important role in a spa facial is a serum. Serums or fluids are concentrated formulas for very specific conditions, such as hypersensitivity and dryness, anti ageing and lifting effect. They penetrate faster into the skin than creams. Most of the high-end luxury brand spas always work with different serums or fluid range to get perfect result. Those above 40 years of age can use lifting, collagen booster and direct beauty fluids.

Spas offer basic to specific facials such as lightening facials, age-defying facials, clarifying facials to name a few. Get your skin type diagnosed by the therapist before deciding which treatment is best for you.

If the pressure is not right for you, you can request your therapist to increase or reduce it.

Arrive for your appointment on time. Keep your cell phone on silent mode and always speak in soft tones to avoid disturbing the decorum of the spa.

Always shower/ shave before a body or facial treatment.

Follow the post-therapy instructions given. You may be asked to drink adequate fluids, not wash of the oils immediately after the treatment or take your time getting up after the therapy.

If you have reservations about being treated by a therapist of the opposite gender make them known to the spa manager so that she assigns you a therapist of your gender.

This was first published in the November 2011 issue of Complete Wellbeing.

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Rekha Chaudhari
Rekha Chaudhari is a spa expert with 20 years of industry experience. She holds internationally acclaimed certifications like CIDESCO in aesthetics care and has undergone intensive advance training in beauty and spa in France and Germany. She is director, JCKRC Spa Destination Pvt. Ltd. and Caressaa Day Spa.


  1. Thank you so much for explaining how spas have specific facial treatments with different levels of pressure. My wife is looking for a soothing kind of treatment for her face, so having a gentle procedure will definitely fit her a lot more. I’ll get her this for sure when we find a medical spa she can go to.


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