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Spa Speak - Treatment Definitions

When reading a spa menu these days, the multi-cultural blend of services can be confusing, especially with so many spas becoming niche as in Thai or Shiatsu Spas, hammams. Water therapy-based spas can be especially diverse: Some are ideal for people with muscle tension, sports injuries or arthritis, while others might have detoxifying marine-algae body wraps as specialties of the house.

Because destination spa resorts focus on nourishing the mind, body and soul, they usually offer a broad range of treatments from conventional therapies to more exotic services. Often, these reflect the cultural heritage of the surrounding area which in turn, adds an enriching dimension to the entire spa experience.

Some popular treatments include:
• Acupressure - based on the acupuncture system, fingertip massage frees the body’s energy channels, or meridians, for a relaxing and energizing treatment.
• Aromatherapy - a full body massage using scented essential oils and light smoothing movements in a combination of Swedish massage, Shiatsu and lymph drainage techniques.
• Ayurvedic Massage - a full body and scalp massage with selected essential oils followed by a steam during which herbs release their healing and restorative qualities.
• Cranio-sacral Therapy - a gentle, manual therapy that manipulates the bones in the skull and sacrum to promote the body’s flow of energy and its natural restorative qualities.
• Herbal Wrap - strips of cloth, soaked in a heated herbal solution, are wrapped around the body followed by a period of rest. This very relaxing treatment eliminates impurities and detoxifies the body.
• Hot Stone Massage - smooth, hot stones are placed on, under and around energy points in the body to promote inner and outer relaxation before each stone is oil-slicked and used in a full body massage.
• Hydrotherapy - a staple in European spas, this relaxing and detoxifying therapy includes underwater jet massage, showers, jet sprays and mineral baths.
• Mud Bath - a highly mineralized mud, which may be mixed with oil or water, is applied to the body as a heat pack to sooth muscles and aching joints. Stimulates circulation.
• Reflexology - a specialized Chinese-based massage of the feet and hands which includes pressure points to areas said to correspond with organs and tissues throughout the body. Treats a wide range of stress-related illnesses and ailments.
• Reiki - an ancient oriental healing system using light hand placements on the body to channel healing energies to the client. Used to calm emotional distress, chronic and acute physical problems and to assist the recipient in achieving spiritual focus and clarity.
• Shiatsu - a Japanese massage therapy during which practitioners apply rhythmic finger pressure at specific points on the body in order to relieve pain, release and balance blocked energy.
• Swedish Massage - classical European massage technique that gently manipulates the muscles with massage oils. Improves circulation and flexibility and eases muscle aches and tension.
• Seaweed Wrap - a cleansing, revitalizing treatment where the body is painted with a clay like mask comprising concentrated seawater and seaweed which contains the oceans nutrients, minerals rare trace elements vitamins and proteins.
• Thalassotherapy - a full body exfoliation and detoxifying treatment using highly nutrient marine elements along with other skin conditioning agents. An excellent treatment for relieving the arthritis and rheumatism.
• Vichy Shower Massage - relaxing massage performed under sprinklers with water heated to body temperature. Increases circulation and lymphatic flow which aid the body in cleansing itself of toxins.

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