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Dr. Richard Isaacson

A Day at the Spa : Holistic Spa Treatments

Organic Spas, Holistic Treatments

Day spas have become a fixture in today’s health and beauty market. In developing this market niche, day spa operators have introduced a range of services and products that are new to the mainstream consumer such as holistic treatments and organic beauty products. Aging baby boomers that are hanging on to the vestiges of youth have become more accepting of practices that were previously identified with the New Age. As a result, day spas are one of the economic hot spots in the personal services market.

Day spas provide the types of thorough body treatments found at traditional spas, which tend to be destination sites for weekend stays. In keeping with the harried pace of active professionals, day spa services require a commitment of hours rather than days. The spa business in this country exceeds twelve billion in annual revenues, and probably three quarters of that business was done by day spas.

A Broad Array of Services

Day spas have slowly developed their niche in the health and human services marketplace by overcoming a couple of factors. It has been a gradual process making the average woman comfortable with some of the water-oriented, whole body treatments and with some of the alternative medical components that have been integrated into day spa services.

Many day spa operators began as salon owners and most day spas include hair treatments, manicures, pedicures and makeup application as base services. In evolving from salons to spas, these businesses have widened service options to include an assortment of body treatments such as exfoliation, aromatherapy, and a number of full body wraps utilizing organic therapeutic products.

Water plays an important role in day spa services, with a number of treatments falling into the category of hydrotherapy. Mineral and seaweed baths are available and massage treatments using water are provided. The traditional dry and moist heat from steam rooms and saunas can be found in day spas. Healing therapies that require licensed practitioners are also staples of day spas. These may include acupressure, Rolfing treatments and more exotic therapies such as Reiki (a form of “energy healing”).

Oriented to a Broad Consumer Audience

The other important image issue that day spas have battled is the notion that they are a luxury most women cannot afford. Given the explosive growth of the market and the expansion of services in many spas, it is clear that the industry has had success on both fronts. Many spas that began as simple nail and beauty salons now make more than half of their revenues from spa services.

Many services are offered as packages, in order to introduce new clients to the day spa environment. The woman that has her initial aromatherapy treatment as part of a gift package may choose to make it part of her lifestyle. Day spa operators have learned to take their holistic, organic approach to these services and make them accessible - and desirable - for mainstream consumers. What originates as a one-time experience may become a periodic choice.

Individual Services and Treatments

Once you have become comfortable with the day spa environment and the assortment of treatments available, curiosity may well overtake you. Here is an assortment of treatments that are common to many, if not most day spas. These treatments have been assembled from a remarkable variety of cultural sources and practices. Beyond the basics of manicure or pedicure, you may run across the following:

Aromatic Rejuvenating Face & Body Treatment
This is a full body skin conditioning treatment that begins with exfoliation and extends to a body wrap utilizing antioxidants. The treatment is completed with an aromatherapy facial.

Healing Stone Therapy
This treatment reaches into Eastern healing philosophies by basing its orientation on balancing one’s chakras, or energy centers. A hot stone massage is combined with aromatherapy. The treatment is rounded out with “gem therapy,” introducing a spiritual element into this particular form of physical improvement.

Therapeutic Massage
Massages have long been a resource for people with active, stressful lifestyles. Today a traditional Swedish massage is usually available at your local day spa. Massages are known for the remarkable stress reduction and relaxation that they induce. A good masseuse will relieve muscular tension and stimulate circulation as well.

Aromatherapy Massage
Aromatherapy massage incorporates a blend of organic oils and treatments designed to enhance the benefits of traditional massage. The ‘massage therapist’ will select the blend of oils and balms that are most likely to be of benefit to you; each element is believed to affect certain parts of the body and states of mind as well.

The ancient system of orientation points used in acupuncture is the basis of Shiatsu. This treatment uses acupressure and stretching exercises to affect certain energy centers within the body and open pathways that are blocked. This form of therapy is conducted on a floor mat and requires some physical participation - so comfortable clothing is essential.

This form of treatment is based on the theory that the foot can be a map of the entire body and can provide information about the condition of all of your parts. The therapist provides a foot massage which then guides a physical ‘tune-up’ of the entire body. Pressure is applied to those portions of the sole that relate to other parts of your body in order to induce positive effects.

Detoxifying Mud Wrap
With this treatment the traditional mud baths of weekend spas are brought to the day spa facility near you. After a brief dry exfoliation, mud is applied to the full body, mud that has been mixed with minerals and organic elements meant to release toxins from the body. Anti-inflammatory agents are incorporated into the treatment as well, providing a relaxing effect for tense muscles and tired joints.

Hydro Colon Therapy
This is a cleansing treatment for the colon that clears waste materials and toxins from your digestive system. Filtered water is introduced in moderate amounts and then removed by the same tube and pump system. The process is painless and the result is an important detoxification process.

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