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Spa Etiquette 101 - Let the Relaxation Begin!

If you're a shameless spa hound like I am, you probably already know the drill like the back of your hand.

If, however, you're one of those girls who's always wondered, "what exactly happens in there?" or are a little worried that you might not be completely comfortable in the spa environment, has compiled a list of detailed tips to help you find your happy place.


For the skinny on the spa,

  1. Do I need to get naked? Not unless you want to! Your therapist will always leave the treatment room while you get under the sheet on the massage table. She or he will also be expert in the "art of draping" which means that they keep you covered at all times except for the area of the body they are massaging. If you're really uncomfortable, it is almost always possible for you to wear a bikini.
  2. Communicate with your therapist. Any part of the treatment that you're not enjoying can probably be fixed. The amount of light, the kind of music, the temperature, whether or not you choose to have a conversation - it's your call. If you want the therapist to go deeper or be gentler, let him or her know. And if there's anything you're unsure about, ask questions!
  3. Shaving. If you shave your legs, do so at least two hours before your scheduled appointment, particularly if you've booked any kind of body scrubs or exfoliating treatments. Sometimes the oils or exfoliants can be irritating to newly shaved skin.
  4. How much do I tip? Just like in restaurants, gratuities are generally not included in the price but are expected for good service. Think of it like tipping your waitress - between 15 and 20 percent for each person is the norm, but you can leave more or less. The spa receptionist can usually help you out by giving you small tipping envelopes at the front desk which they will forward to the person who gave you the service.

For more info on all you need to know before you venture out to the spa, read here. Once you try it, I guarantee you'll be hooked!

Join The Conversation
JK-Boogie JK-Boogie 11 years
Perfect...I have bookmarked this. I love the stones is the most relaxing thing ever...I fell asleep after and the woman left me to relax then she came back and was very embarrassed to have to kick me out as she had another client.
PrincessPixie PrincessPixie 11 years
Cali, believe it or not, and i wouldnt be suprised if you didnt, because i barely do, but females can be just as 'interested' as men on the massage table. I once had a VERY rewarding session with a hot young masseuse called kylie. nuff said.
yayita yayita 11 years
I love spas, but facials are my favorites. Not a big fan of massages, I can never feel comfortable when they touch certain parts of my body....I'm body shy :-/ Which is why I've never gotten a bikini wax LOL Anyhoo, when I was an online media planner in NYC I was treated to all these great spas in New York for free! Avon spa @the Trump Towers, Dori Baxter, Haven in Soho, The Seasons etc.. Cant Remember the all.....How I miss those days!
FaeMuse FaeMuse 11 years
Prices are often very high but you see, there's a good alternative out there. :) Many community centers and community colleges offer non-credit, inexpensive partner massage lessons. Drag your boyfriend/husband down for a class one night a week and let him learn how to do it (while you do too!). It's a really great investment; my husband and I did it, and for the price of a massage or two at a local place ('cause I'm poor and $100/massage three times a month is far, far, far beyond my university-student means!) we both got the skills to practice it ourselves. Plus, after a stressful day, flop down on the couch and stick a bottle of your favourite aromatherapy oil next to a good carrier oil base (like almond) and let tension melt away in this very romantic, loving act. ^^
ethiopian_princess ethiopian_princess 11 years
i think everyone should do it nude
Adriana42 Adriana42 11 years
I think spa prices are way too high for such a stressful country..the whole industry is a rip off..
malibu-stacey malibu-stacey 11 years
i think they're supposed to balance your shakras or something... :) but they feel good on your back!
Toronado Toronado 11 years
I don't know, thought of having some strange person rubbing their hands deep into my flesh gives me the creeps. Then again, I've always been a bit of a germophobe. And I have a question: what exactly do rocks on your back do?
Pinkperfectpixie Pinkperfectpixie 11 years
To be honest Cali, I had not even thought of this until now, and you are so right, so many lechers out there...a girl must be safe at all venues, including massages, its a sick, sick world out there and I am sorry that happened to you!
caligirl1201 caligirl1201 11 years
You welcome pinkperfectpixie. He was really gross and you should only have massages by people you trust.
Pinkperfectpixie Pinkperfectpixie 11 years
ohhh...thanks Cali, I have only had them done by women, but will be sure and be extra careful if a guy enters the scene...great tip, thanks again!
caligirl1201 caligirl1201 11 years
Be careful guys, I had a massage at a spa in San Fran by a male and I don't think some of the stuff he was doing was massaging if you catch my drift. I had him to stop in the middle because it seemed like he was sexually molesting me and since then I request women and have had nothing but good massages. Not to say a male masseuse cannot do good, but some are looking for more than just providing therapy.
kylake kylake 11 years
I went for a massage in London and it was booked for 10am. I got there at 9:50am and the spa wasn't open yet. So I walked around the block and it was 9:58am. Still not open. So I walked around the block again and got back at 10:05am. Finally it was open but the cow behind the desk said I was late and that my massage would therefore be cut short! It was a crappy massage anyway. And I did not tip.
Pinkperfectpixie Pinkperfectpixie 11 years
The first full bodied massage I had included my hands, now, apparently your hands can mess with your sinus's, well I would have to agree, I had this done before a concert and I felt just great, untill about three hours after my massage, I felt like I had the flu, my nose was running so fast I could not catch ladies, it you have an important endeavor, forgo the hand massage or you will be sorry!!! Much love and laughter, Lizzy
t0xxic t0xxic 11 years
lol KY I went to a spa once I didnt get a massage but we got the clay treatment and this green gooe stuff in a hot room then a cool one well it was neat lol Ive never been since prolly wont either
malibu-stacey malibu-stacey 11 years
i HATE the bad massage! esp when the person tries to talk to you the entire time! ARGH... or once i had this creepy guy masseuse be like "ok, you can get up from the table now," and he didn't bother to leave the room?? i was so creeped out, but for some reason i felt awkward about saying anything, so i just left... afterwards, i was really annoyed...
kylake kylake 11 years
Speaking of spa etiquette...I can only afford the 30-minute massage at various spas because I'm on a budget. What bugs me is that they think I'm "in a rush" and can only squeeze in 30 minutes because they think I'm some business woman on her way to a meeting or something. They act all "hurried" around me which really detracts from the spa experience. Just because I've booked an "Express Massage" doesn't mean I like being hurried out the door! It bugs me to no end. Next time I'm going to tell the receptionist to let them know I'm POOR and that's why I can only have 30 minutes. LOL
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