What are you looking for in a spa? At their most basic, spas are a destination for total relaxation, renewal, and healing. In order to make your spa visit as effective as possible—after all, it’s only a matter of time before you have to return to the real world—it’s a good idea to do a little research on different types of spas. So whether you’re looking for cucumber-scented water or an aromatherapy rain shower, the following list makes discerning different types of spas a little easier.
1. Day Spa.If you have a quintessential idea of a spa in your head, it probably looks somewhat like a day spa. When you arrive, you’ll be greeted with an offer of a beverage and, depending on the caliber of the spa, a robe to change into. These spas are designed to treat clients on a day-to-day basis with a range of indulgent services like deep tissue massages and anti-aging facials. Day spas balance both luxury and convenience, so you probably won’t find any one-of-a-kind services here. It’s normal to book just one service at a day spa, or to pamper yourself to a package of multiple services spanning a few hours. A true day spa will offer only spa services (body treatments, massages, facials) but many of today’s day spas are attached to hair salons. The hustle and bustle of clients getting their hair done can take away from the relaxing feel of a day spa, so only opt for dual day spa if tranquility isn’t a priority.
2. Club Spa.A club spa is much like a day spa, with the only major difference being that it’s located inside of a members-only club. The so-called club may be a fitness center, country club, or other organization with required fees. The sugar body scrubs and anti-aging facials at a club spa may be discounted to club members. Despite the exclusivity of a club spa, it’s unlikely that the services are any better than a regular day spa. Bottom line: don’t join a club for its spa, but do take advantage of the discount if you’re already a member.
3. Ayurvedic Spa.Essential oils, ancient techniques, and alternative medicine. If this sounds like your cup of tea, an Ayurvedic spa may be your best choice. Based on traditional Hindu healing, Ayurveda follows eight basic principles for good health: internal medicine, pediatrics, surgery, ophthalmology, psychiatry, toxicology, disease prevention, and aphrodisiacs. Research shows that up to 80% of people in India use some form of Ayurvedic medicine. In the Western world, Ayurvedic spas focus heavily on achieving overall balance. Specialists may recommend different treatments based on your imbalances. Do some research to familiarize yourself with Ayurvedic theories and terminology prior to visiting an Ayurvedic spa—the staff will greatly appreciate it.
4. Destination Spa.First things first: a destination spa isn’t necessarily located in the foothills of Kona. But if you’re lucky, it might be! Destination spas are retreats that offer long and short-term stays during which visitors will take part in the spa’s created lifestyle. You’ll dine solely on the spa’s food and sleep in an on-site hotel. Given the necessary components of a destination spa, it probably won’t be located in a metropolitan area. Just like any other spa, the feel of a destination spa can vary. Some destination spas will be super-luxurious with staff waiting on you hand and foot, while others will have bare-bones accommodations and a 6 am wake-up call.
5. Medical Spa.A medical spa, or medspa, is less about putting your feet up and more about total beautification—even if it means a little pain. Utilizing medical tools and techniques, medspas address cosmetic concerns like uneven skin tone, excess fat, acne, and more. True medspas will have certified medical practitioners on site to perform the procedures. VelaShape, VelaSmooth, Zerona, laser hair removal, and injectables like Botox are popular treatments at medspas. It’s the ideal place to get some “work” done without having to go to a plastic surgeon’s office.
6. Mineral Springs Spa.Mineral springs spas are based around naturally-occurring mineral springs. Relaxation-seekers in Europe and Asia have been visiting mineral springs as early as the 19th century, thanks to their special waters containing varying amounts of salts, sulfur, and gasses. Depending on what types of minerals are present in the spring, different mineral springs spas will offer varying benefits. Visiting a mineral spring is an ancient and rare treat, so take advantage of the chance to bathe in the same water as wealthy Turks and Japanese.
7. Airport Spa.Even the most skilled travelers recognize airports as a hub for hurried businessmen, stressed out mothers, and cross-infection. An airport spa serves as a mini-getaway ideal for layovers and delayed flights. Since most airport spa clients don’t have hours to kill, expect abbreviated accommodations and service. Head and shoulder massages, foot massages, pedicures, and waxing are popular services at airport spas. Hair styling may also be available (and super-handy if you’re looking to impress someone). On the bright side, airport spas easily accommodate walk-ins and people who want to have a quick service and be on their way.
8. Mobile Spa.Mobile spas bring the pampering and relaxation of a day spa to your home, work, or other convenient location. It’s common to see mobile spas hired by large corporations or events as a way to draw in customers—and it works! Mobile spas often pack just the essentials, like a single massage chair for brief rub-downs. Some mobile spas take the name literally and travel in a large trailer that clients where clients may receive their services.
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