Mastering the art of spa is easy and dare I say addictive. Spas are a respite for the body and the mind. From an early age, I have known that wellness is not and should not be a luxury. It should not be reserved for the privileged, but be made widely accessible to all who desire the healing power of spa.
The feeling of wellness in a lot of countries with deeply rooted rituals and spa traditions, such as in central Europe, is one of community. Spa living is easily accessible and appreciated on a regular basis. Bath houses and other water therapies are a place to socialize, exercise or slow-down. While growing up in Slovakia, I remember going to spas with my parents and being taught that health is more important than money. In the US, the understanding that spa is not just another word for a hot tub has gotten a lot more prevalent. The power of touch and hydrotherapy is very real and using them properly can enrich your life.
There is a misunderstanding that spas are just for relaxation. In fact, going to a spa impacts your mental and physical wellbeing. It is the very real therapies provided by spas that help with body aches, reduce inflammation, improve circulation, activate lymphatic drainage and release endorphins (the feel good hormone).
If you happen to be a spa virgin, have no worries. We have some spa tips in store. So let’s just dive in.
Hydrotherapy & How to Use It
Hearing “taking the hot and cold plunge”, but seem scary and extreme, but it is easier and feels better than you might think. The health benefits of what some call “contrast therapy” are well worth it. In Turkey, China, Finland and Russia, this type of hydrotherapy has been used for centuries. You simply transfer your body from very warm temperatures to very cold temperatures. The ritual can be done alone or with friends. In a lot of countries that use this type of therapy, it is a fun social activity. A hot sauna can be used can be used in place of a hot plunge. Moving from a hot to cold environment increases circulation. The heat helps soothe sore and painful muscles, and the shock of a cold plunge increases circulation, pushing nutrient-rich blood back to the body’s core. The cycle of the ritual activates the lymphatic system, allowing for detoxification. Do this a couple of times, and then allow your body to rest. Remember to drink water.
Hot & Cold Plunge Benefits
- Releases tension in your body
- Improves circulation
- Reduces inflammation
- Reduces muscle aches
- Improves your mood
- Energizes and then rests the body
Spa Etiquette & Essentials
Always bring a bathing suit, especially if you are going to a bath house or a day spa. Spa treatments, such as a facial or massage generally do not require a bathing suit. It is all about your comfort level and the type of environment that does the treatment. Most spas will provide a robe and slippers.
If you like a bit of a makeup touch-up after your day at the spa, make sure to pack any essentials. You can keep them in the locker.
Your body will be feeling euphoric after you leave the spa. You might like to consider comfortable clothing.
If you booked a treatment, arrive early. Not only is this polite but it will give you a chance to enjoy the spa’s amenities, such as their meditation room, water soaks, steam or sauna room and relaxation lounge.
Before you leave, do tip your esthetician or masseur. The front desk can provide you with an envelope. Before you leave, do tip your esthetician or . The front desk can provide you with an envelope.
For your safety, when encountering a new type of spa therapy. Read signs. Generally, spas will have signs explaining the type of plunge or therapy you are about to enter.
Please unplug. This cannot be stressed enough. Spas are a place of respite for a lot of spa goers. Do not use your phone. No one will want to hear your phone conversation or see you taking a million selfies.
Keep your voice down. Use your common sense and behave in a way that is respectful to everyone. While large day spas can be great places to go with your friends, there are designated areas where no talking is very much appreciated.