Spa: it is a guy thing too!

Visiting a spa is no longer a girly thing. On the contrary, men who visit spas are considered to have confidence in their masculinity

man having a spa treatmentAn increasing amount of men are now visiting spas, be it with their spouses, friends or on their own. Men currently represent almost one third of all spa goers, according to the International Spa Association, and they're going the whole hog—getting pedicures, facials, hot stone massages, and back scrubs. The likes of footballer David Beckham, the quintessential metrosexual has made men's pampering and preening not only acceptable, but accessible as well.

What men want

Men, though are not as concerned as women in the notion of 'alone-time'; appear to respond more to treatments that are physically beneficial, active and luxurious.

"Men seem to like the pedicures, Thai Yoga Massages, reflexology, deep tissue massages and aromatherapy, mostly taking treatments after a workout to relax sore muscles," says Deanne Panday, founder and director of Play Health and Fitness.

She reveals that male clients are on the upswing, since spas are no longer considered a girly thing. Clients to her spa include Bollywood macho men like John Abraham, Dino Morea and Kunal Kapoor.

Just for men

Spas have promptly understood how to establish a gender-neutral ambience, where both men and women feel at ease. In fact, some spas have services and packages that are designed specifically for the male body and skin-like hand and foot treatments [which are used to treat dry, rough and cracked skin], sports massages, body wraps, facials, and body hair removal.

The manly spa menu

The treatments for men include:

  • Facials: This is a good treatment for men who are first time spa goers. It doesn't involve disrobing and is calming. Generally men are astounded by how dramatically effective facials can be, as men tend to use fewer products on a day-to-day basis.
  • Deep tissue massages or sports massages: These massages work on the connective tissue—deeper tissue structures of the muscle and fascia. It uses the same movements and techniques as a Swedish massage, but employs more pressure. Sportsmen have frequent deep tissue massages and so this concept often attracts men who have the odd muscular niggle or even more acute muscular tension.
  • Saunas and steams: Saunas and steam are specially built rooms that use heat—a sauna uses dry heat, while a steam room incorporates high humidity and warmth—to cure, relax and release toxins. Men like these rooms as they are once again linked with sports and muscular pain relief. A few minutes in the steam or sauna before a massage helps warm-up muscles and open pores, therefore making a massage more effective.
  • Hydro massage: This water-based treatment is both active and relaxing. Solid jets of water massage the entire body as you lie in a tub. Some hydro massages can be quite rigorous, greatly relaxing the muscles.
  • Back scrub: This indulgent treatment begins with a thorough cleansing of the back under aromatic steam. It includes a massage with a scrub suited to your skin type and a refining mask. It's great to remove dead skin for a smooth glowing back.
  • Peppermint sports pedicure: The conventional pedicure is adapted to the needs of the man on the go. A refreshing exfoliation with peppermint sea salt helps soften the feet, while detailed nail grooming is followed by a soothing calf and foot massage.
  • Chest, stomach and back wax: A quick yet affordable method of taking off unwanted hair.

Spa etiquette for men

  • Shave before a facial. A smooth face gives the chance to treat any signs of razor burn, ingrown hairs or neck irritation and will also be more absorbent of products.
  • Shower before a massage. Make a point to arrive early so you can hit the shower. Besides opening up your pores, a squeaky clean fragrance will make your masseur want to rub instead of run!
  • Don't put on body lotion before waxing. It will make hair easier to remove and therefore waxing less painful.
  • Don't workout after a spa treatment. It is beneficial to take a massage after a workout and relax tired muscles and not vice versa.

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Natalie Pedder-Bajaj
Natalie Pedder-Bajaj is in her element writing and researching about spas, travel, fitness and alternative therapies. A self confessed ‘spa addict’, she has been a devotee of the healing arts since her Editor days at Wellness magazine. She writes periodically and is the Creative Director of an interior design publication. She has graduated in Visual Communication from London.

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