Choosing a day spa

Stressed out? Let a spa rub you the right way.
When you're feeling stressed out, it might be time to visit a day spa.

Day spas are miniature, more affordable versions of resort and destination spas that offer many personal care services that usually include facials; massage; skin and body treatments with various salts, clays and minerals; manicures; pedicures; and hair removal services.

Visit a spa when your skin is looking lackluster, your nerves are frazzled, you're having trouble sleeping or you have a big event coming up for which you want to look your best.

Like any personal service, it takes time to find the right type of day spa and the right technician for your needs. Experiment with different businesses, take friends with you for feedback and be patient until you find the right one.

How to choose a spa?

When searching for a spa, keep these general guidelines in mind:
  • Request a menu from the spa (if there isn't one on the spa’s website) that explains in detail what each treatment includes, how long it lasts and how much it costs.

  • Check to make sure the technicians working at the spa have the right training, licensing and certification.

  • Look for customer service that exemplifies patience and compassion when answering the phone and making appointments. Don't be afraid to ask any questions you may have about the treatment and what's expected of you.

  • Before any service, inform the spa about any medical conditions you may have. If they don't ask, tell them whether you are diabetic, pregnant or have other limitations that could affect the services you receive.

  • Ask for a tour of a spa before you make an appointment or when you check in. You'll want to make sure the privacy the facility provides is on a level that makes you comfortable.

  • Check the lighting and the music to be sure it's soothing and calm, not irritating or simply too dark.

  • Ask what kinds of equipment will be available to you when you come in for your treatment. Some day spas will allow you to steam in their saunas, soak in their whirlpools or lounge in a hydrotherapy tub.
Proper spa etiquette

Spa treatments are supposed to be personal experiences that are intended to raise your spirits.
  • Set your own mood.

  • You don't have to talk during the treatments if you don't want to.

  • Feel free to speak up if something is uncomfortable.

  • Take the technician's advice if he or she offers suggestions for your daily rest, diet or skin care regiments.

In addition, most spa services require a gratuity of at least 15 percent to each technician you visit. Make sure you don't bring cell phones or pagers into a spa.

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