Do you feel overwhelmed at the prospect of visiting a spa? Spas are meant to be relaxing, but between the nakedness and the confusing array of spa treatments, they can be anything but. We can't really do anything about the nudity, but we can help make a spa menu less befuddling.
Swedish: relaxation massage with long, gliding strokes, kneads, and circular motions
Deep tissue: therapeutic massage with intense pressure that relieves tension in deep muscle layers
Aromatherapy: relaxation massage enhanced by essential oils, such as lavendar (to calm), orange (to re-energize), or eucalyptus (to promote deep breathing)
Unspecified 60- or 90-minute massage: This is just another way of saying a custom massage that lasts 60 or 90 minutes. During a consultation with the therapist, you say if you’re looking for relaxation or pain relief, and the therapist tailors the massage to your needs. So that might mean deep pressure on your knotted shoulders and light, flowing strokes on your arms.
European facial: typically includes a cleanse, exfoliation, steam, extractions (optional), facial massage, mask, and moisturizer with sunblock. Everything will be selected based on your skin type and concerns. It is one of the most ubiquitous spa treatments.
Signature facial: facial unique to the spa, which often means it's themed based on location (like a luxe gold facial in Las Vegas) or incorporates products with local ingredients (such as local seaweed or clay).
Chemical peel: an acid—glycolic, lactic, salicylic, etc.—that chemically removes dead, dull skin cells
Microdermabrasion: a diamond-tipped wand (or spray of microparticles) that physically removes dead, dull skin cells
Body wrap: most often includes an exfoliating treatment, followed by wrap ingredients, such as mud or seaweed. The body is then covered in plastic wrap and potentially a thermal blanket to induce sweating.
Dry brushing: exfoliating treatment done with a body brush to exfoliate away dead skin cells and promote lymphatic drainage
Brazilian: removes ALL hair from the bikini area, including between the buttocks. It’s optional to keep a strip or triangle of hair.
Bikini: only removes hair that might peek out of a bikini
Sauna: a room with wet or dry heat. It’s originally a Finnish word.
Platza: a Russian or Turkish body treatment in which one person "smacks" or bathes another with a bushel of eucalyptus, twigs, and leaves often infused with essential oils. (This "broom" is called a venik). It's meant to invigorate and slough off dead skin cells.