In modern times, Spa has drawn much attention thanks to its claim of healing and soothing properties. However, is there any substantial information that proves this belief? Is there a science behind different spa treatments? Let us explore in this blog post.
‘SPA'encompasses a wide range of services and could comprise from a small treatment of facial to costlier one, name a massage. Word “Spa” is derived from two theories as believed to be derived from an acronym SPA which stands for Latin phrase, Sanitation Per Aqua. Other theory believed to be developed from the name of a Belgian town called Spa. The medieval world believed that illnesses were caused to be due to deficiency of iron and by drinking natural spring water cured this illness. The fountain was also referred to Spa in some articles.
In the modern era, we believe Spa is a place for leisure. Most of us have never been inquisitive to know the science behind it. Moreover, the concept of Spa is always seen with a negative view in Asia, whereas the West has a different perspective towards Spa concept that relates to health and rejuvenation.
Research studies have indicated that Spa therapies have a beneficial effect on our body beyond leisure activity. The effects could be on physical or on the mind. To obtain these effects one need not go to Spa or massage studio. It also depends on the therapist who delivers treatment at your doorstep. A well-trained therapist who is qualified and trained could deliver a good job. Every spa therapy has its value. Continuous educational training keeps a therapist in par with the industry and not only that a therapist who has overworked with numerous therapies beyond his physical capacity which could also dilute the quality or do justice to the service offered.
On the other hand, if you happen to visit a Spa, it comes with an advantage of space, types of equipment, professional resources, variety of treatments availability and personal instruction to guest services which all contribute to regain balance, change our lifestyle habits and enhance their lives. With the availability of these provisions and skills of a trained therapist could always enhance the Spa experience. Other methods to enhance the effects could be achieved by the education of the therapists, adapted protocols, techniques used, modalities used like hydrotherapy, cold friction, herbal scrubs, infrared light and saunas, mud, clay, seaweeds, herbal wraps, etc.
General Effect Spa Treatments on Skin, Lymph and Circulation
The major functions of our body are being carried out by skin, circulation and lymphatic systems of our body. Various techniques of spa treatments have been found to have visible effects on skin, circulatory and lymphatic systems.
Skin, being the largest system of the body, comprises of protein, water, lipids various minerals and chemicals, according to modern medical sciences. Skin plays a vital role in protection, secretion, elimination, absorption, communication and thermo-regulatory functions. Skin harbours vital structures which include capillaries, nerve endings, sweat glands, fat, collagen, connective tissue cells and various types of receptors, namely, thermo-receptors which play a vital role in temperature sensation and mechanoreceptors which measure the touch and vibrations and nociceptors which measure the intensity of pain. Skin is so vital that it has the capacity to reproduce itself every 27 days.
Circulatory and Lymphatic systems are responsible to maintain equilibrium within the body tissues and cell levels. Circulatory systems play a vital role in transport nutrients and oxygen and as well remove all the metabolic wastes from cells and tissue and facilitate the elimination through various eliminatory channels on the body. Spa treatments play a vital role elimination process by enhancing the perspiration and also facilitate the elimination of toxins from the body tissues and cells.
The lymphatic system plays a vital role in eliminating the interstitial and extracellular fluids at the cellular levels through bathing of the tissues. Not only that, it acts as a highway to transport white blood cells to and from lymph nodes into the bones
Hydrotherapy is defined as the application of water either internally or externally. This therapy is characterized by three effects, namely mechanical effects, chemical effects and thermal effects. Mechanical effects are achieved by the application of hydro-tubs, douches, friction, etc. While chemical effects are achieved by water drinking or immersing our legs in water or application through some external applications in the form of compressor packs etc. Thermal effects are achieved through the application of varied temperatures namely, cold, very cold, neutral, hot, very hot, tepid, etc. All the hydrotherapeutic applications have a beneficial effect on the body by relieving the muscle tension and pain, rehabilitate injured muscles, enhance the immune system, encourage detoxification and relieve stress.
Massage is an age-old science which dates back to ages of Hippocrates. Massage is a procedure where there is rubbing and kneading of muscles and joints of the whole body with the hands, especially to relieve tension or pain. In this therapy, the skills and experience of the therapist play a vital role and aromatherapy and oils add flavour to the therapy. People use massage for a variety of reasons mainly, to relieve pain, rehabilitate, stress relief, enhance relaxation, reduce anxiety and depression and also for rejuvenation purposes. There are different styles of massages that have been developed in various parts of the world but effects have been almost the same.
Benefits of massage have been encouraging, basically it enhances relaxation, improves circulation and helps in elimination of toxins, relieves stiffness of muscles, removes pain, increase range of movements and flexibility of the joints and improves the vitality and also enhances the nutrition to various muscles, tendons and ligaments by the process of rubbing over the tissues. Frequent massage could enhance general wellness, rejuvenation and also prevent various muscle injuries.
Scrubs are spa procedure which is usually combined with some substances along with massage. Friction movement is involved in scrubs using some substances like salts, sugar or some herbal products. When coarse substances like salts are rubbed over the body it causes vasodilatation and increased circulation without no difference in body temperature. When salts are rubbed over the body there is a mechanical effect that is produced which in turn increases nerve and sebaceous activity, thereby encouraging the removal of superficial skin. Not only that a salt solution may cause osmosis of fluids towards superficial tissues which might soften the skin.
Far Infra-Red Sauna and Infrared light
These treatments have been a safer way to increase circulation and enhance metabolism at cellular levels. This type of superficial heat would penetrate the connective tissue as well in the skeletal and smooth muscles in a very relaxing way.
These treatments when administered for 30 minutes or more, it is found to enhance the perspiration of the skin, burn up calories, excretion of lipophilic toxins, enhance the immune systems and decrease sympathetic tone which allows for vasodilatation and not only that it also helps in relieving chronic fatigue, pain or other conditions
Some Tips If you are going for the first time to a Spa
It would be a good choice to find a spa of your choice and it would be a good practice to fix an appointment beforehand before you get there.
It is very important to research well before you make a choice.
Please inform the staff or concierge beforehand if it is your first visit to a spa.
Avoid eating at least 3 hours before spa treatment and alcohol at least a day, as these could harm health and make your experience bad.
It’s the best choice to select a spa treatment from popular treatments like massages, manicures, pedicures, facials, scrubs and wraps, etc. and make a booking in advance to avoid disappointments.
Make a proper plan and reach well in advance to enjoy the complete experience of a spa treatment.
Eat after at least an hour later after treatment.
It is also important as a customer to follow the right ethics of spa therapies while you visit the spa respecting the skills and privacy of the therapist.
Thus, Spa treatments could give you have a great experience provided you get to a right place or you get to be serviced by skilled people and also proper planning and selection could benefit you and make you experience a great time that could relax you and rejuvenate you.
(About Dr. Sangeeth is a naturopath by education and profession. He has been an International Workplace Wellness Trainer, Active Clinician and Academician. As a spa consultant, he has set up 20 domestic and international spa projects).
Art of Massage – J H Kellogg
Scientific Hydrotherapy – J H Kellogg
Art and Science of Spa and Body therapy – Jane Foulston
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