Why visit a spa

A truly unforgettable experience of the mind, body and senses—that's what a spa visit is all about. We tempt you to find out for yourself

beautiful woman relaxing in a spaThousands of years ago, a few people started to soak themselves in hot springs with an intention to refresh their tired bodies and revive their spirit. In time, the simple treatment flourished and many more similar methods to combat stress and enhance wellbeing were devised. It is believed that the term 'spa' was coined from the Belgian town of Spa, which was renowned for its elaborate baths since Roman times. The city and its inhabitants were so well-acquainted with ancient rejuvenation techniques that the word 'spa' became tantamount to a place to be indulged and rejuvenated in.

Today, a multitude of spas have emerged promising luxury, extravagance and more. The lure of spas now is unbelievably infectious! Not only is the idea of indulging in some comfy spa treatment very enticing, but also offers a soothing escape from the monotony of everyday living.

Feels good

The mere mention of a spa swiftly conjures up images of a world with a soothing ambience where people can restore their beauty and health both. Indeed this is true! Spas across the country proffer a variety of treatments specially designed to treat specific concerns of their clients.

Personal pampering is an important facet in stress management. A facial, a body massage or a soothing soak in a warm water tub are just a few ways to renew your body and melt the stress off your mind. Plus, depending on your treatment, going to a spa has multiple heath and fitness benefits too. No wonder then that people throng spas with stunning regularity to feel fit and happy!

Since you're now set to let your mind, body and soul relax completely, you can focus on the types of spas available in your city to get the best out of each. You'll be surprised to discover a plethora of spas that accommodate a range of therapies—from skin to foot to even ear spas. To mention a few, there are destination, medical, health, beauty, resort and day spas; each fitting for the diverse requirements of the recipient [Read How to choose a spa below]. All these are created in a manner that will invigorate you at all levels, endowing you with mind and body health while you indulge in complete relaxation.

These treatments are no longer considered 'girly'—the modern man too deserves special spa bliss and can avail of it anytime.

On the cards

From a tiny two-room day spa to a sprawling resort spa with fabulous facilities, spas and treatments can vary drastically. But basic services like facials, hair treatments, massages, body wraps / scrubs and baths are available in most. Others incorporate holistic wellness techniques like aromatherapy, Watsu [body massage performed while lying in warm water], Thai massages, Swedish reflexology, hot stone therapy, acupoints and Japanese Shiatu too.

Aleena Jetha, skin and hair specialist and owner of Mudd Salon and Day Spa, Mumbai offers a few pointers, which help us understand how basic spa offerings work:

Facials cleanse the skin while also tightening, hydrating and brightening it.

Head oil massages enhance blood circulation, improve hair growth, control hair fall and also help de-stress.

Body wraps detoxify and brighten the body. You feel relaxed as the treatment also includes a massage. It also improves the absorption of creams, lotions, essential oils, scrubs, masks, and seaweeds.

Reflexology renews energy throughout the body by massaging specific areas of the feet. Reflexology helps those who suffer from migraines, constipation, digestive problems, insomnia and aids blood circulation.

Spa bath offers a great way to relax and de-stress. The constant running of the water creates negative ions, which are beneficial to health, and the sensation of whirling hot water relaxes the body. The experience is enhanced, if you can couple this with fragrance therapy.

Organic spa focuses on wellness and provide meaningful therapies endowing real benefits to the recipient.

If new-age pampering beckons you, then age old healing is not far behind. Laxmi, a local ayurvedic therapist from Kerala works in Mumbai and believes in authentic, devoid-of-frills treatments which are medicinal, focus of specific problems and soothe. "Ayurvedic treatments, like Shirodhara and warm oil body massages [with broad, sweeping strokes], are excellent to unwind with numerous health gains."

In addition, there are many other treatments from around the world at your disposal, all you need is to find the right spa [Read How to choose a spa for help].

Be their guest

If you are a beginner in this journey, the experience can be overpowering and confusing too. Thus, it is crucial to understand the function of spas, what different spas have on display and what to expect there.

  • Identify your goal and look for a relevant spa. Check out its reputation, staff and rates.
  • Inquire about staff training, licensing and certification beforehand.
  • Request your therapist preference [male or female] ahead.
  • Drop your inhibitions regarding nudity. Massage therapists are trained to respect boundaries and use suitable draping methods.
  • Book an appointment in advance, if you wish to be treated by your favourite therapist. This is basic etiquette.

Be it a simple or an elaborate treatment, spa visits are the ultimate treat for your mind, body and soul. Not only are they an excellent way to wrap yourself in a world of wellbeing and health, but also a great happiness booster!

How to choose a spa

Identify what you'd like to accomplish, then select a spa that enables you to concentrate on an area of emphasis such as:

  • Stress management. Learn relaxation techniques, how to manage stress, and other strategies for feeling more in balance and in control.
  • Peace of mind. Pursue a spiritual journey of introspection and reflection through meditation, yoga, T'ai chi, chi gong and other practices or activities that lead to serenity, understanding and self acceptance.
  • Pampering and pleasure. Guests indulge their senses with massages, facials, mud or aroma baths and other delightful treatments as they enjoy a completely relaxing vacation. It can be anything from a girl's makeover, make-up classes, precious moments shared by couples, mothers and daughters... to special occasions like weddings and graduation.
  • Health and wellness. Explore your health, learn to deal with issues such as smoking or medical concerns and discover how lifestyle choices can lead to optimal wellness.
  • Cosmetic spa. This specialises in medical enhancements such as skin smoothing laser treatments, facelifts, Botox or treatments for cellulite, body shaping and cosmetic dentistry.

Courtesy: International Spa Association

Spa variety

Not every spa is the same. Below are the primary types of spas to suit your needs.

  • Club Spa: A facility whose primary purpose is fitness and offers a variety of professional spa services on a day-use basis.
  • Cosmetic Spa: It offers aesthetic/cosmetic and prevention/wellness procedures and services such as facials, peels, waxing and other non-invasive procedures that are within the scope of its staff, but that do not require medical supervision.
  • Cruise Ship Spa: A spa aboard a cruise ship providing professionally administered spa services, fitness and wellness.
  • Day Spa: It offers professionally administered services [similar to cosmetic spas] on a day-use basis.
  • Destination Spa: The primary purpose is to guide spa-goers to develop healthy habits over a span of a few days, usually 7 days. The comprehensive programme includes spa services, physical fitness activities, wellness education, healthful cuisine and special interest programming.
  • Medical Spa: This operates under the full-time, on-site supervision of a licensed health care professional to provide comprehensive medical and wellness care in an environment that integrates spa services, as well as traditional, complimentary and/or alternative therapies and treatments. The facility operates within the scope of practice of its staff, which can include both aesthetic/cosmetic and prevention/wellness procedures and services.
  • Mineral Springs Spa: A spa offering an on-site source of natural mineral, thermal or seawater used in hydrotherapy treatments.
  • Resort/Hotel Spa: A spa owned by and located within a resort or hotel providing professionally-administered spa services, fitness and wellness components and spa cuisine menu choices. In addition to the leisure guest, this is a great place for business travellers who wish to take advantage of the spa experience while away from home. In many cases resort/hotel spas also act as day spas for local clientele and may offer special rates for people that live in the community.

Courtesy: International Spa Association

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Nargis Namazi
Nargis Namazi is a Mumbai-based writer whose writing interests cut across an array of subjects including health, travel and relationships. She writes articles for various online as well as print publications on travel destinations, lifestyle, women's related issues and spirituality.

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