What is a Spa?

The International Spa Association gives the definition of spa as “a place devoted to enhance the overall well-being through a variety of professional services that encourage the renewal of mind, body and spirit”.


Spa treatment (Image source: sxc.hu)

The word “spa” is used in a much wider sense nowadays. Even a hair cutting salon offers few pedicure and manicure services and claims itself to be a spa. We can broadly divide spas based on their location and services provided.



It is termed as a place where individuals are helped to adapt themselves to a healthy life style. Complete fitness and stress reduction programs are offered. Therapeutic treatments like massages are often included. Healthy spa cuisine is all about healthy eating by incorporating whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Nutritional value of the healthy food products is explained.

In destination spas the person should stay for at least two or three nights to reap the complete benefits of the spa services. Persons with health problems may require more time. The prices are given in package deals and usually include meals, classes and spa treatments.


Food served at destination spas is nutritious and each spa follows a regime. Some spas offer weight loss programs and hence believe in serving low calorie and restricted quantity food. Whatever type of spa is, food served is wholesome and some spas serve only organic food.



In day spas people usually visit for getting massages, body treatments like mud wraps and salt scrubs and facials. As there is no requirement for anyone to stay during night, they are known as day spas.

Day Spa

Taj Spa at Taj Exotica, Goa (Image source: Wikipedia)

Day spas offer a wide variety of treatments. Some are just a single treatment room spa whereas few may be spacious offering almost 35,000 square foot in which special treatments are offered in hydrotherapy tubs and Vichy showers. These day spas offer hair grooming services as well. A day spa generally provides:


  • A calm and serene atmosphere
  • Slippers and robes
  • A complete range of facials, massages and body treatments
  • Separate rooms for different services
  • High quality spa products
  • A relaxation room where several varieties of teas are served
  • Extremely neat and clean surroundings
  • Lockers, separate rooms for steam and sauna
  • Professionals who have experience in the related fields



The most popular spa treatment is massage. Massages of various kinds are offered in spas. A massage is associated with lot of health benefits as well. Hot stone massage, Thai massage, Swedish massage and Ayurvedic massage are some of the important massage therapies offered by the spas.

Foot massage

Foot massage (Image source: sxc.hu)

Various types of facial treatments like organic facial, gold facial, herbal facial, anti ageing facial, pearl facial, fruit facial and oxygen facial are a few popular treatments offered by the spas. The esthetician will examine the skin and decide the type of facial to be offered to the client.


Other special treatments like facials, body treatments that include body wraps and salt glows are offered in spas. Most of the spas offer manicure and pedicure as well.



Certain minor medical conditions like brown spots, broken capillaries, dry and rough skin, wrinkled skin are treated at Medical spas. Qualified and experienced doctors will attend to the clients and perform various treatments. Laser treatments, photo facials, laser hair removal, Botox treatment for face lift, skin tightening and skin rejuvenation treatments are also offered. Some spas offer acupuncture, naturopathy and nutritional counseling in their services. At Ayurvedic spa, qualified naturopaths and Ayurvedic doctors oversee the various treatments offered in the spa. Several health conditions like obesity, skin diseases and life style disorders are treated in an Ayurvedic Spa. Depending on the condition of the patient, the doctor may ask the patient to visit the spa for a particular period of time.



Whatever the type of spa may be, there are few things one needs to remember:

  • The ambience of the spa should be calm and the staff should be friendly.
  • The products used should be of premium quality.
  • The personnel should be well qualified and experienced.

A proper spa should be chosen so that the person can relax and rejuvenate and at the same time it should be worth the money and effort one spends.

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  • Now that is a very long meaning of a three letter word “spa”, thanks for sharing.