Spas have long been considered a haven where the very wealthy go to pamper themselves.
But since the economic downturn, they've morphed into something more - a place where overly stressed jitterbugs worried about job stability can go for a few moments of unadulterated relaxation.
it's what I have been seeing for months. Instead of more expensive treatments, folks are opting to fit on the go facials and quickie rubdowns into their schedules.
"People are so stressed out that they're not sleeping and they want to know what they can do without taking Tylenol PM," said one spa owner.
It's a national trend. A recent New York Times article said weekly traffic to the "stress management" category of Spafinder.com has doubled since the summer. In November, when the tanking economy made headlines, the word "stress" was being searched on the site three times more often than it had been three months before.
"It's not just a luxury anymore. It's not just for rich people, it's for everybody," said Kevin Jones, a massage therapist. "More and more people are coming in and their biggest complaint is stress. But during a massage, they can lay there and relax for an hour while the stress of everyday life just melts away."
The economy is a constant topic of conversation at Spa. even in this economy, all of spa services have done fairly well. That's because people are using spas as an escape from all of the doom and gloom they're hearing about.
"You can get a $25 manicure and have someone massage your arms much easier than you can more expensive services like new clothes and new cars, those things we used to do to reward ourselves," one visitor said.
While any spa treatment can be relaxing, I recommend a massage to work out the tension in the neck, back and shoulders for a person under extreme stress. I always recommend regular facials, especially for women, who tend to show their stress in the form of acne and bags under their eyes.
And treatments go beyond the actual 30 to 60 minutes regular folks are spending at spas. The longer term benefits massage treatments can have in encouraging general relaxation.
It's important to educate clients on inexpensive things they can do at home to stay relaxed after their visit - sleeping with pillows underneath their knees to help alleviate lower back pain, performing quick stretches as they enter doorways, placing ice cold green tea bags or sliced cucumbers on their eyes and carrying simple tote bags instead of heavy, oversized purses.
Most people can't afford to come here every day. Still, an occasional trip to the spa can be worth the therapeutic benefits of a treatment and the unbiased ear of a therapist, particularly during troubled times.
At a local day spa environment, there's a reasonable enough cost associated with treatment that most individuals are still able to afford it.
Massage has been found to have several benefits, including:
- Enhancing general health, such as improving circulation of blood, relaxing muscles and improving joint mobility, and encouraging general relaxation.
- Alleviating problem conditions like general muscle tension and aches, muscular back pain and tension headaches.
- Relieving stress by triggering the relaxation response, relaxing tense muscles and reducing anxiety levels.
Here are a few tips to help make your first visit comfortable.
- Modesty. You'll be draped with a sheet or large towel. You may choose to be totally or partially unclothed and private areas should be covered at all times.
- Talking. Some people need silence to relax, while others prefer a more social interaction. Always give the therapist immediate feedback if you experience any discomfort.
- Oil. Oil, lotion or another lubricant is commonly used to allow the therapist's hands to slide over the skin. Make sure your therapist is aware of any allergies you may have.
- Payment. Payment is usually due immediately before or after the session. Be sure to check when you schedule your appointment. Also check to see if your insurance covers therapeutic massages.
- Tipping. Tipping is common in places such as health clubs, beauty salons or resorts.