Sunday, October 10, 2010

Spa Faux Pas - A guide to avoid Cosmetic Comedies of Error

Before you traipse haphazardly into the wonderful world of medi-spas, salons and pampering
you need to need to get to grips with spa etiquette.
Let’s explore the delicate, sensitive questions that salon newbies are often to reluctant to ask. Even I as a veteran of indulgent spa activities still have the odd mortifying moment (as you will read in the next post). If you and your therapist have a good relationship, you’ll both probably laugh it off. Different spas have different vibes, so regard some of the following as guidelines rather than hard-and-fast rules (except for the common sense things such as time etc.)
Do you wear underwear during a Brazilian wax? Is the masseuse insulted if you fall asleep during a massage (and start snoring)?

As the client what is expected of you?
Cardinal rule: Arrive on time (or 15 minutes early). Besides offering you the maximum treatment time you are also being considerate to the spa and the therapist. If you’re going to arrive late, inform the spa as soon as you can. If you need to cancel an appointment, do so at least 24 hours before the appointment (this is dependent on the salon policy)
Put your cell phone on silent or turn it off during your treatment. Don’t text during your treatment.
You are in a professional spa, do not expect anything except the healing and restorative spa services (*cough, cough* no hanky- panky, it’s not that type of massage).
Energetic (or even well-behaved) children should not be left unattended or dumped on the receptionist.
Nom nom nom nom – crunch crunch crunch. . . It’s not cool to bring your munchies along. Nibbles lodged in your belly button – not Ayoba!  Munch on yums before or after the service.
You can be silent during the treatment or quietly talkative. This may also depend on your relationship with the therapist – you may be blah-blah buddies. Your therapist may even ask you what you prefer.
You’re there to relax and wind down. Enjoy it! At the end the therapist usually says “take your time getting up”. What this really means is take a few minutes to find your bearings and your bra (for more on nudity at the spa scroll down) and is not an invitation to take a power nap.

What qualifies as completely unacceptable behaviour?
·         Lecherous, vulgar and lewd behaviour.
·         If you down a few too many – i.e. if you rock up drunk or high
·         Demeaning, debasing and abusive towards the spa staff or other clients
·         Being a complete obnoxious psycho and demanding services without an appointment when the spa is fully booked

Since the beauty industry is service orientated, you’ll find that even in the face of such daft behaviour the professional therapist will still act respectfully and calmly.

Disrobe Drama
For first time spa-goers spa nudity is an unnerving and confusing quagmire. Most people have hang-ups about their body bits and extra bits and now you’re expected to strip down in front of a complete stranger. Yikes!
No worries . . . relax! That’s why you’re at the spa! Remember? Anyway therapists have seen it all, even if they didn’t want to. Your bits and your extra bits don’t faze them at all. This is also a professional environment where you will be made to feel as comfortable as possible.
Also, you can usually wear your undies if you’re not completely comfortable with spa nudity. Speak to your therapist about it. Spas usually offer you disposable undies to wear.
Treatments such as facials, Thai massage and reflexology don’t really require you to fully unclothe so it might be better to start out with that if you’re shy. Spas may request you wear a swimsuit during hydrotherapy treatments. This is particularly true with male clients  as women are often allowed to choose to be in the buff or to wear a costume. In treatments such as mud-wraps, salt scrubs and a Vichy shower expect to be exposed at some point.
With a treatment such as a spray tan, to avoid tan lines you may have to go starkers or wear a disposible G-string. You're welcome to wear your own undies but you'll get a visible tan line and bronzed undies.

In day spas , the massage therapist typically collects you from the reception waiting area and takes you to the treatment room. She usually steps out and this  gives you time undress and wear the robe/towel wrap provided or to slip between the sheet or towel. The therapist will always knock before entering. Generally you are nude during the massage, but always strategically covered with towels. Only the body part being massaged is exposed. The therapist holds the sheet so you're covered when you turn over.
Resort Spas generally have a steam room, a sauna and hot tubs in separate men and women's changing areas. You can go nude, wrap yourself in a towel, or wear a swimming costume. Spas in Europe are more laissez-faire and easy-going about  spa nudity. They don't use elaborate draping techniques during massage and the men and women usually take steam and sauna baths “in the altogether” (stark-naked). Scheuen Sie sich nicht - sich nackt ! ( I hope that means : Don’t be shy – get naked ! – in German. The last time I studied German I was thirteen, I remember random things)

Olga thinks "Yikes this is not how we do things back home!"

I have no idea why the posts are acting up , they seem to have a mind of their own when it comes to font colour and what not , I'm just going with flow.

What about does those disconcerting questions that you're too embarressed to ask? No question is a stupid question and you should never feel ashamed to ask your somotologist/therapist if you're not sure about anything.

Like what kind of undies should you wear once you muster enough courage to go in for a Brazilian wax ? Well, Granny suck-it-all-in bloomers are a no-no as well as ur GRRRR-sexiest lingerie. A general bikini wax - you can use undies with a higer cut, for a g-string wax - a g-string and for a Brazilian -nothing or disposables. Your beautician will advise and remember the important thing is you being at ease.

Is it okay to fall asleep during a treatment ? Yes.

What if you pass wind during a massage? It may happen as all that kneading and massaging puts pressure on the fart-factory bits of your body. All you can do is simply apologize, have a good laugh,make a mental note to stay away from broccoli on massage days and to put it at the back of your mind.

Importantly you should be honest with your therapist regarding your health. If you're hypertensive, diabetic,heart conditions ,pregnant or have any allergies it is vital to inform them before you start your treatments.

The spa is like a sanctum to escape to when your body and mind needs to get away from the daily grind - a place where you can rejuvinate and beautify(or handsomize) yourself.  I hope the above post helps you get the most out of the your well-deserved experience. Any comments or add-ons will be appreciated :).

Sorry LOLcats addiction.

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