By Anna Lynn Sibal

Spa Photo © Laurie Barr
Ah, the spa. Nowadays, more and more women are getting into the habit of visiting the spa on a regular basis as a means to give themselves some quality time and to combat the dreadful effects of stress on their bodies. There is probably nothing like a day spent pampering one’s self at the spa.

To the uninitiated and to those who do not know any better, the spa is nothing more than a glorified beauty salon. On the contrary, while some spas do offer beauty treatments similar to what can be found in a beauty salon, it is important to remember that a spa and a beauty salon are two very different places. In a beauty salon, the services one can avail of are purely cosmetic. Although some do offer cosmetic treatments, this is not the norm in a spa.

Did you know that there are many different types of spas and each type specializes in various forms of treatment? The most common type of spa, the one that is often mistaken for a beauty parlor, is called the day spa. Why is this type of spa called a day spa? That is because the treatments that can be had from a day spa can take as short as thirty minutes and as long as an entire day. You do not have to stay in the spa to be able to complete your treatments therein.

If you want a prolonged treatment that may require more than just one day, the type of spa you ought to head to should either be a resort spa or a destination spa. At a resort spa, you can avail of the regular treatments found in a day spa, and these treatments are complemented with outdoor activities such as hiking and water sports. In destination spas, on the other hand, aside from getting more intensive treatments, you can enroll in wellness programs that are geared to educate you on how to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Destination spas are great if you have a specific medical concern that you wish to address.

Another type of spa you can go to if you have medical or cosmetic concerns that you would like to deal with is a medical spa. A medical spa is supervised by a licensed physician and offers medical treatments aside from the ones traditionally offered in a day spa or a destination spa. These treatments include microdermabrasion, photo-facials, Botox treatments, and other cosmetic procedures.

If it is your first time to go to a spa, you should know what to expect the moment you enter inside its premises. Because of the appeal generated by spas nowadays, a lot of beauty salons masquerade themselves as spas in order to get customers, but are nowhere near what a spa should be. A true spa exudes an ambiance of peace and serenity, and the ambiance alone should bring your mind to a state of relaxation. The place should be silent, with the only sound you ought to be hearing are the soft footsteps of the spa attendants and soothing music. Most importantly, the premises should be absolutely clean, with rooms designed for privacy and provided with clean and fresh linens.

If you are a spa virgin – that is, a person who has never been to a spa – it is normal to feel apprehensive about your first treatment. You do not have to feel pressured into trying out a full treatment if you really do not feel like it. Do a little sampling and try the short treatments first, such as a foot spa or a scalp massage. You will become a spa addict sooner than you think.