by Pallas Hutchison
Many people view massage and other spa treatments as luxury services. Without a doubt, it feels luxurious with a good therapist. However, the body treatments offered in many spas do more than just feel good. A good spa immediately lowers stress levels - which also lowers blood pressure - by simply providing a soothing atmosphere to remove clients from an often hectic lifestyle. Frequently, clients receive herbal teas or water infusions while waiting for their treatments to begin. Candles and incense further soothe or stimulate, depending on the scents chosen. Relaxing and healing services offered vary and include combinations of massage, body scrubs and wraps, reflexology, aromatherapy, and energy work.
Massage reduces stress, pain, anxiety, and depression using various techniques including effleurage, petrissage, and friction. Deep tissue and sports massage techniques can correct chronic conditions and postural issues over time. Stretches used in Thai massage - similar to many yoga poses - keep muscles flexible, restoring range-of-motion after injuries and helping prevent future ones.
Body scrubs, usually salt or sugar based, remove dead skin cells and improve circulation as well as detoxify the body. Mud, clay, and algae wraps hydrate and soften the skin, drawing out toxins while putting the client in a deeply relaxed state. The products used during these body treatments may also be infused with essential oils to further enhance their therapeutic value.
Reflexology uses specific points on the hands, feet, and sometimes ears that correspond with areas of the body. By stimulating these points, good health is promoted throughout the body's systems.
Some spas also offer holistic energy healing such as Reiki, a restorative practice originating in Japan. Reiki practitioners tap into an inexhaustible universal energy source, directing it through themselves into their clients to enhance the natural healing process. The energy is drawn to the injured areas and leaves the client balanced and energized. Unlike other spa treatments, clients remain fully clothed and may not even come in contact with the practitioner.
First-time spa clients speak with an experienced therapist or aesthetician for help in learning what treatments are right for them. By taking advantage of spa services on a regular basis, clients become healthier in body, mind, and spirit.