Thursday, April 23, 2009

Clothing is optional

Sometimes we just want to feel pampered. And in spite of the horrible economy and the fear of furloughs, sometimes a girl just needs to get rubbed.

By a professional of course.

But on my infrequent trips to the spa I've realized that relaxing the right way is an art form, and while the first massage or facial is supposed to be luxurious and relaxing, not knowing the "spa rules" is sometimes cause for embarrassment and tense muscles rather than the desired outcome of feeling refreshed.

So for those of you who have yet to get rubbed, by a professional of course, here are the things I've learned along the way.

1. Clothing is optional.
Most places recommend that you receive your spa services in the nude, they will place towels/blankets around you to make sure you're at a comfortable temperature. But if you're shy or prefer to wear something, a bikini for women and shorts for men is probably the best option. ***Keep in mind that co-ed areas of the spa usually require clothing, so the robe and bathing suit help***

2. Gratuity is MORE than appreciated.
While you might double the tax for your friendly server at a restaurant, spa etiquette usually encourages a 18% to 30% tip for the person performing your treatment. These are trained professionals who may have spent years perfecting their craft, they expect a little more than a thank you.

3. You can say "OW."
Every person prefers a different amount of pressure for their massage or perhaps a different scent for their facial mist. Don't be afraid to let them know if they are hurting you or you can't stand the smell of lavender. After all you're paying them well.

4. Get in bed.
You're given a few minutes to yourself once inside the room where your treatment will take place. Use this time to get cozy under the covers and wait for instructions as to which way you should lay/move for best results when they return. It's easy to panic and believe, "They will think I'm a fool if I'm face down when I should be face up!" But as someone who puts her johnny coat on backwards every time she's at the doctor, trust me when I say they must be used to this.

Whether it's the spa rules, proper wine pouring, or figuring out which fork is for what course, sometimes we find ourselves feeling embarrassed. But if I've learned anything in my life as a country girl it's that the only way to know the rules, is to ask the right questions. (And the Google search of course;)

Have you ever found yourself in a "new world" of luxury and worried there were rules you weren't aware of?


Sten said...

I was given a gift certificate for a massage by a student at the school in Highland. It was pretty informal, but still really relaxing. If you feel weird about the whole spa thing, I'd recommend checking that out instead.

Anonymous said...

I always feel nervous in situations that are new — like you said. I hate feeling like it's obvious that I dunno what I'm doing. You wonder, is everyone staring at you thinking "look at that newbie".

Thanks for writing this.

Chrissie said...

You're welcome Anon! At first I thought I was the only one to feel like that until a friend went for a couples massage with her fiance and felt the same way. They weren't sure where to lay down, what to wear, or if they could talk to one another or not during the treatment, so I knew we couldn't be the only two people to feel like this :)