1. Travel
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

What Is A Spa?

Spa Include Day Spas, Resort Spas and Health Spas

By

San Diego, California, USA
Stephen Zeigler / Iconica/Getty Images

The word "spa" conjures up images of long days filled with mud baths and meditation classes, exquisitely prepared spa cuisine, and fragrant eucalyptus groves.

But spas seem to be everywhere: office buildings, strip malls, village storefronts. Salons with one tiny massage table tout their spa services. How can they all be spas?

For one thing, there are several different types of spas. The first kind is a destination spa. At a day spa you just drop in for treatments like massage, facials and body treatments. Often, day spas are an extension of a hair salon, which is fine as long as the spa is a separate wing that offers a quiet, serene, environment.

No Regulation of The Word "Spa" The International Spa Association defines spas as "places devoted to enhancing overall well-being through a variety of professional services that encourage the renewal of mind, body and spirit.”

But no one is regulating use of the word spa. That's why some salons promote spa services when all they have is one massage table, or use names like "spa pedicure." If you have any doubtwhether , check out the facilities yourself before booking an appointment. Just drop in and ask for a quick tour. At a minimum, a day spa should offer professionally administered massages, facials and body treatments in a quiet, serene atmosphere.

There's also a huge range of experiences at resort spas. Again, no one is regulating the use of the name, so it could be anything from one massage room next to the fitness center to a multi-million facility. You should do research on the facilities before you book.

There's even a difference with destination spas, ranging from small specialty inns to Canyon Ranch , which has a staff of physicians, psychologists, nutritionists and physical therapists. It offers so many classes, lectures and services that and so many things going on that you could spend months there and still not experience them all.

What does it mean? It's up to you, the spa-goer, to figure out what kind of service and experience you want, and find the place that suits you.

What You Need To Know About Spas

* Day spas range from homespun spas in converted houses to lavish multi-million dollar facilities.

* At a minimum a spa should offer a relaxing environment, robe and slippers, soothing music, and high quality spa treatments.

* No one regulates the use of the word "spa." Some hair salons call themselves a spa when all they have is one massage table.

* You can drop in and ask for a quick tour before you book an appointment at day spas.

* There are many different types of spas. Do your research to make sure you get the experience you want.

  1. About.com
  2. Travel
  3. Spas
  4. How To Spa
  5. Different Types of Spas
  6. What Is a Spa? - Definition and Examples

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.