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Anitra Brown

Spa Nudity - The Video!

By August 20, 2009

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spa nudityNudity is a big issue for first-time spa-goers, so we made a video on spa nudity. It goes through all the things that spa newbies want to know -- do I have to completely undress for my massage or facial?

But the video also makes some interesting points for more experienced spa-goers. "There's a very strong cathartic effect that comes from shedding your street clothes and putting on a soft, comfortable robe that helps with the relaxation process and prepares you for receiving the most benefit from your spa visit," says Jon Ho, owner of Ohm Spa, one of my favorite spas in New York City.

And he reminds more experienced spa-goers to be be careful about exposing themselves to other guests and therapists when they're in robes. (This is for you, big guys sitting in the spa lounge with your legs apart!)

Photo by Getty Images: Gazimel

August 21, 2009 at 10:14 am
(1) Michele mcintyre says:

Anitra – This is a tastefully done video that takes some of the guesswork out of the ultimate question – what do I take off???

Thank you!

August 21, 2009 at 12:04 pm
(2) Skip Williams says:


It would be great it you gave permission for spas to re-post this video on thier own website in an effort to educate the end users.


August 24, 2009 at 2:49 pm
(3) Anitra says:

Anyone out there who wants to create a link to this video should feel free! Anitra Brown

August 24, 2009 at 8:13 pm
(4) Artfulmama says:

Aloha, I really enjoyed reading your article.. and the video as well.. This is totally a “pertinent” question and your information was completely helpful.. Thank you .. and I am awaiting response from About.com so that I can start writing articles.. let me know if you have any tips for me… and I look forward to reading more of your stuff.. Thanks again, Mahalo Artfulmama

August 24, 2009 at 11:31 pm
(5) jack adams says:

Having visited hundreds of spas over my many years, I found this video to be both helpful and disturbing. The protocols that were announced as the “norm” in the video may be appropriate for most American spas (both North and South) but they would be viewed as laughable in much of the rest of the world. Nudity in any setting, including a spa, in the Americas is a rarity except for the occasional beach. But i have been to many many spas and resorts where nudity is the norm in many countries and the Americans (including Canadians all the way down the hemisphere to Argentinians) are easily identified as the only ones wearing towels or other forms of cover-ups in a steaming hot bath or sauna.
My favorite spa in Amsterdam (Sauna Deco) is a nice neighborhood spa which starts with a common coed locker room for storing your clothes but nudity is the norm throughout. The same is true in most of Europe and especially Germany and Scandinavia.
If the video is to be featured, it should be done so with an asterisk that identifies it as a very ethnocentric take on spa protocol and not the norm for Europe, Asia, or billions of those who visit spas as part of their life ritual.

August 25, 2009 at 5:56 pm
(6) Anitra says:

Jack, you make a very good point that this is American etiquette, and it is quite different from elsewhere in the world. I make that point in my article on spa nudity — http://spas.about.com/od/spaetiquettebasics/a/spanudity.htm.

That said, most of the readers on About.com are American and looking for a typical American-style experience, and this video is aimed at them.

August 25, 2009 at 11:22 pm
(7) jack adams says:

I found the video helpful because it stated the norms for most North and South American spas, but it lacked three little words “in the Americas” and it would have been fine otherwise.
It is also helpful because it encourages people to just let go and relax and focus on themselves instead of the many forces pulling at any human at any stage of life.
But it should have a small notice, like a cigarette package, that says following this advice in ( Helsinki, Amsterdam, Stockholm, etc. etc. ) may get you laughed at.

August 26, 2009 at 4:19 pm
(8) Marquetta Brown says:

This video eases the mind of the inexperienced ones who really want the services of a massage therpist but is afraid of the unknown. Thank you for the illunination. Marquetta Brown

August 28, 2009 at 2:03 pm
(9) Jan says:

Wish they had also touched on the subject of securing jewelry. The lady in the video had a large diamond ring on. Some people casually leave it in their robes – sometimes therapists switch out robes – gets dumped in the laundry and uh-oh! Always secure jewelry in your purse in a zippered compartment.


August 29, 2009 at 1:10 pm
(10) Malcolm Boura says:

What is really worrying about videos such as this is the damage done by perpetuating North American body shame. This both damages other cultures and helps to perpetuate the damage done to children and young people within the USA. Try comparing teenage abortion rates, pregnancy rates, and STI rates for the USA with the most open European countries and then think long and hard about the attitudes which result in such enormous differences.

Teenagers in the USA become sexually active nearly a year younger, they are less likely to use a condom or contraception, and more likely to be promiscuous. The results are not surprising. Several times more likely to have an abortion, about ten times more likely to become pregnant and about seventy times more likely to catch gonorrhea.

Prudery and body-shame are little better than child abuse. It is just that the harm they cause is less immediately obvious.

September 2, 2009 at 12:05 pm
(11) Anitra says:

Hi Malcolm, Thank you for making your interesting point about the differences between European culture and American culture.

This video is really meant to reflect cultural and behavioral norms in America and to answer questions for people who might not otherwise go to the spa because they’re worried about the nudity issue. I hope it doesn’t contribute to body shame!

I think spas are a healthy move in the right direction as far as that goes. People are fairly relaxed about nudity in the steam and sauna, which, granted, are same sex. We are a long way away from the European Sauna Worlds, with plenty of co-ed nudity.

September 2, 2009 at 12:07 pm
(12) Anitra says:

Hi Jan, Thanks for bringing up that important issue. NEVER put your jewelry in a robe pocket! You can remove it and give it to the therapist, who will give it back to you at the end of the treatment.

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