One thing I resolved to do this year was to spend less money on things and use some of that savings for experiences. With two three year olds there isn’t much adult stuff to choose from as escaping to Bali (or anywhere that doesn’t have a dopey cartoon mascot) is nowhere in my near future. However, an escape to a spa for a couple of hours is possible, especially when my work is closed and daycare is open-cue all the “horrible mommy” type flames.
I’ve found these little ventures to not only soothe my achey toddler lifting joints, but my soul. Recently on 100 Days of Summer Phillips Demming mentioned she’s only had about two massages in her lifetime. She reminded me of the occasional person who doesn’t like visiting the spa. I remember my first massage, I was a little out of my element, but as the years went on and I gathered more gift certificate funded trips I learned how to relax, enjoy, and make the most of my spa time. Here are some things I’ve learned that could make your next spa trip the spa-mazing experience it should be.
Choose the type of massage therapist you are most comfortable with: Don’t just accept whoever is available, if you prefer a specific gender ask for it. I, personally prefer a female therapist. Unless he is 6 foot blonde gay Sven, I really can’t relax with a strange man touching me. I also prefer someone who doesn’t talk to me. When you make your appointment be specific about who you want. Some people are perfectly fine chatting away or with a member of the opposite sex. You may eventually find somebody who is amazing and you will never again even think of going to someone else. (By the way I was kidding about the Sven part, kind of.)
The modest need not shy away: My first few massages getting on a table au naturel was a bit intimidating. As time went on I realized a good masseuse will respect your modesty and privacy…and if they don’t get the hell out of there!
You don’t have to wear those paper thongs: When having body treaments you don’t have to wear those annoying see-through uncomfortable paper wedgie makers. It is perfectly fine to bring a bathing suit bottom. The whole point is relaxing and if you are uncomfortable with something strung up your butt, or your nether regions exposed you are not going to enjoy the experience. That being said, if you really must, you can also wear your undies during a massage.
Speak up: If you don’t like the way something feels for Pete’s sake say something! Getting knots out is important, but not if you feel like you are being tortured by Madame LaLaurie. Remember you are paying for this experience. Let your therapist know if the pressure is too deep or not deep enough. Also if there is a certain aroma therapy oil you prefer ask if they have it or ask to smell different ones and pick what you like best.
Experiment: Usually I am a creature of habit when it comes to most things. I can go to a restaurant 40 times and always order the same thing, but when it comes to spa visits I like to try something new. Being adventurous at the spa, though, often means not setting your expectations too high. It can be hit or miss like the time I ordered a Deep Sea Dive at a fancy New York City location. What sounded like a scrub that started with 30 minutes of quiet time in a private jacuzzi turned out to be $150 for a tiny Asian woman to give me a bath in a wooden bucket in orange peel and flower petalled water. I felt like I was taking a dip in Sangria and I just couldn’t stop laughing at the awkwardness of the situation as she “washclothed” my back and limbs. At least she was kind enough to offer to “Wash breast?” Ummm no thank you.
Small local places offer better deals than the big guys: It’s always fun to visit world famous venues like The Mandarin or Elizabeth Arden, but it’s the local small business places that I have found give more bang for your buck and more personalized attention.
Combine treatments: If you are carving out the time to go consider making it a real event and getting more than one treatment. My latest obsession is to get some kind of scrub or wrap in the wet room…everyone must try a vichy shower…followed by a massage. Ask the owner or manager about specials and packages.
Ask questions: I learned this one just the other day. I signed on for what was a called a “warm algae wrap”, not knowing that the mud went on warm, but while it set the mint oil used to knock out the stench would make me feel like I was being cryogenically frozen.
It doesn’t have to cost a fortune: Be on the lookout for deals. Many spas both big and small put out special savings on sites like Groupon. So sign up and grab them when they come along. Spa treatments aren’t something that are exclusive to wealthy Housewives and stars. Everybody deserves to be pampered, even if only once a year!
Do you have a funny tale of going to the spa? Share it below, we’d love to read about it!