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What is a Spa? | Everything That You Need to Know

A Spa Day can be a perfect way to reset when traveling anywhere.

In this guide, we will explain what exactly a Spa is, the different types of spas that are normally offered, and what you can expect to do on a Spa day. 

what is a spa

What Is a Spa?

A spa is a location that focuses on promoting wellness and healing the body through various treatments and therapies ranging from:

  • Massages
  • Facials
  • Beauty treatments

To more specialized services like detox cleanses and body wraps.

Additionally, spas often include access to facilities such as swimming pools, saunas, steam rooms, lounges, and poolside service (food & drinks) that can be used before or after your treatment.

ritz carlton orlando spa food service

Spas can be found at a hotel, resort, or even its own establishment.

What Is a Spa Day?

Spa days are the perfect opportunity to escape from everyday stress and focus on one's well-being.

The goal of these treatments is to provide relaxation, rejuvenation and promote overall well-being.

These amenities allow guests to switch from their regular clothes, into robes and sit back and enjoy a relaxing experience.

From the laid-back music playing, the relaxing scent in the entire building, and the staff members offering champagne, coffee, and water (to name a few), Spa days are the ultimate getaway experience.

It doesn't just end there, as after their treatment, guests can enjoy the additional amenities that the spa provides such as a pool-side cabana.

pool side cabana after spa
cabana option after spa

Types of Spas

Five types of spas can be found in most places including:

  1. Day Spas
  2. Hotel Spas
  3. Resort Spas
  4. Mineral Springs Spas
  5. Medical Spas

1. Day Spas

Day spas are the most common type of spa, focusing on the guests' short-term relaxation and offering a variety of spa treatments such as massages, facials, manicures, and pedicures.

These spas do not typically offer overnight accommodations, as clients will only visit the spa for a duration ranging from a few hours to a day (during the spa's hours of operation).

2. Hotel Spas

pool at the spa

Hotel spas such as the Ritz Orlando Spa often have indoor or outdoor swimming pools, saunas, hot tubs, and fitness centers, allowing guests to enjoy a comprehensive wellness experience during their stay.

Hotel spas are located inside luxury hotels and offer spa services to both hotel guests and walk-in clients.

This means that you don't need to stay at the hotel to be able to enjoy the spa amenities, as you can still book a spa reservation.

Similarly to the Day Spas, the Hotel Spas provide a range of treatments, including massages, facials, body wraps, and salon services like manicures and pedicures. 

3. Resort Spas

Resort spas are the best of both worlds, combining spa treatments with the amenities of vacation destinations.

Just like Day & Hotel spas, Resort spas also feature amenities such as swimming pools, saunas, hot tubs, and fitness centers.

4. Mineral Springs Spas

Mineral springs spas are a bit different from the other spa options as they are focused on the healing properties of mineral waters.

Mineral Springs Spas can provide guests with hydrotherapy (or balneotherapy) treatment, through services such as mineral baths, mud baths, and steam rooms.

The focus on these mineral-rich waters is believed to provide various health benefits, promoting relaxation, detoxification, and wellness.

5. Medical Spas

Medical spas combine traditional spa services with medical treatments, and due to this, they are typically monitored by healthcare professionals.

These spas are a unique type of spa as they provide services such as laser treatments, Botox, fillers, microdermabrasion, and even minor plastic surgery procedures.

Medical spas operate under the guidance of licensed dermatologists or medical practitioners, ensuring that clients receive safe and effective treatments in a relaxing and comfortable environment.

What Do You Do in a Spa?

Spa Treatments

In a spa, clients can treat themselves to various treatments designed to pamper and rejuvenate the body, as each treatment is crafted to provide a unique and relaxing experience.

Holistic Therapies

Spas often offer a range of holistic therapies designed to promote overall wellness.

These may include Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, and hot stone massage, all of which are aimed at reducing stress and improving circulation.

Some spas might even offer specialized treatments, such as lymphatic drainage and acupuncture (to address certain health concerns).

Skincare and Hair Removal

Skincare treatments like facials, microdermabrasion, and chemical peels are commonly available at spas.

Estheticians can cater to various skin types and concerns, such as acne and aging.

Hair removal services, including waxing and laser hair removal, as well as hairstyling, are also provided.

Plunge Pools and Jacuzzis

ritz carlton spa hot tub

Water treatments, like plunge pools and Jacuzzis, are extremely popular in spas.

Plunge pools are filled with cold water known for reenergizing the body.

Jacuzzis, on the other hand, feature bubblers and hydrotherapy jets, providing guests with a relaxing and therapeutic experience.

Some luxury spas also offer heated pools with currents and molded seating, providing visitors with an amazing water-based massage experience.

Customization and Materials

Many spas offer customization options for their treatments, allowing clients to create their own experiences.

For example, a common customization option is selecting materials for treatments, such as specific fragrant oils for massages.

Additionally, spas may provide portable options, such as acrylic shell bathtubs, for those seeking a spa experience at home.

Pain Relief and Stress Reduction

Spa treatments can also target pain relief and stress reduction.

Techniques like deep tissue massages and hot stone therapies can help relieve tense muscles and soothe aches.

Other treatments like aromatherapy, meditation, and guided relaxation may be offered to help clients relieve stress and improve their mental well-being.

Bathing and Shower Facilities

ritz spa indoor shower

Spas are often equipped with luxurious bathing and shower facilities designed to complement the spa experience.

Clients can enjoy a variety of steam rooms, saunas, and even hot springs, depending on the spa's amenities, allowing clients to enjoy a complete and rejuvenating experience during their visit.

Jetted Tubs and Hot Springs

Jetted tubs and natural hot springs are another highlight of many spas, featuring powerful water jets that massage the body, and mineral-rich waters that can provide additional health benefits. 

Spa Etiquette and Precautions

Booking Appointments and Arrival Times

When booking spa appointments, you'll want to aim to arrive at least 15 minutes before your appointment to give yourself plenty of time to check in and change. s.

Communication with Providers

Don't be afraid to speak your mind with the staff, as open communication with spa providers is crucial for a comfortable and satisfying experience.

Be sure to express your preferences, such as pressure levels during massages, and notify your therapist of any discomfort during the treatment.

The better your communication, the more personalized and effective your spa treatment will be.

Who Invented the Term Spa?

The term spa can be traced back to the town of Spa in Belgium, where the presence of mineral springs became associated with healing and wellness.

The influence of the Roman Empire further solidified the concept over time and helped to shape the modern understanding of what a spa is today.

Spa Roots Tracked Back to Belgium

The term spa can be traced back to the town of Spa located in Belgium when in those times, it was called Aquae Spadanae.

During the medieval period, people looked for treatment for various ailments, particularly iron deficiency, by drinking chalybeate or iron-bearing spring water.

The mineral springs in Spa, Belgium, gained fame during this time, and the term "spa" became associated with any location that had a mineral or medicinal spring.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Benefits of a Spa Visit?

Visiting a spa has numerous health and well-being benefits. Some of these benefits include stress reduction, muscle relaxation, relief from aches and pains, improved circulation, and better skin health. 

What is the Difference Between a Salon and a Spa?

A salon typically focuses on hair, nail, and cosmetic treatments, while a spa offers a more diverse range of services aimed at promoting relaxation and holistic well-being.

Spa services often include massages, facials, body treatments, and other rejuvenating therapies. Many establishments combine salon and spa services, offering a comprehensive beauty and wellness experience.