Five Key Components that Define a Real Spa

It's no wonder the general public is confused about spa's, and what that word actually means. Versions of spa's are everywhere and the word "spa" is possibly one of the most misused/misunderstood word of the past decade. I've seen "nail spa", "facial and massage spa", "pet spa", even "auto spa"! In addition, throw in "Salon and spa". So what is the actual meaning of the a true spa and what services "define a true spa. Before we go on, it's important to know the actual meaning of the word "spa" and where it came from. Spas go way back in history to ancient Rome and Greece and even earlier, though the actual word "spa" probably relates to one of eight or more configurations of letters from Latin, such as "Salus per acqua (S.P.A.)---healing through water. Water is a key element in the spa experience and in ancient times citizens would gather in "the baths" for cleansing, healing and conversation. According to Dr. Jonathan Paul DeVierville, an historian of spas, the term "spa" comes from the old Wallon word "espa", meaning "fountain". One town in Belgium blessed with mineral water springs was actually named "Spa" back in 1936. A major spin (to say the least) has been put on modern-day spa's to include some of the following "versions" we see today. These include Day Spa's, Destination Spa's, Resort Spa's, Med-Spa's and Hotel Spa's. The list goes on but you get the idea. However, the purpose of a real spa is to "restore the body to health" through therapies that incorporate an element of water, i.e., hydrotherapy, body treatments, such as body wraps, and body exfoliation using an element of water. This should be the foundation of any spa, with other additional therapeutic services such as facials and massage. A "full Service Salon's" primary focus is hair, but may add a typical spa- like service, such as facials and/or massage to be "spa like". So what should you be seeking out for a true spa experience? The Five Key Components that Define a Real Spa are as follows:
  1. A clean, non cluttered, soothing and quiet atmosphere where one can "escape". A zen- like atmosphere where relaxation areas are private and guests are not rushed in and out of treatment rooms.
  2. An element of water---not just a fountain or waterfall as decoration, but actual water therapies and or body treatments incorporating an element of water to detox and de-stress the body.
  3. Healthy snacks and beverages
  4. Treatments that restore the mind and body to a balanced state. Invasive procedures that put stress on the skin and body are better served in a skin care clinic or medical office, not a true spa.
  5. Staff who are friendly, nurturing with a quiet energy to complete the overall spa experience for its guests.
Spa's come in many shapes and sizes, from smaller privately owned spa boutiques, to larger more corporate type spa's. However, the overall theme should be the same....providing skin and body therapies to improve the health and well-being of anyone who visits.