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Your essential guide to choosing a spa

Introduction

If you are using a spa for the first time and need some ideas of what might suit you best, or if you want to try somewhere new, this is the place for you! You can search for a spa by its type (day spa, hotel spa, destination spa, or spa town), or by its location. If you want to find the ultimate spa holiday, in this country or anywhere in the world, you can also link to spa travel companies, specialists in their field for many years.

If you are new to the concept of spas, we have some useful sections to help guide you through the experience, so that you get the best out of your visit. Spa Etiquette will guide you through the dos and don'ts of using a spa, and we have a special section on children in spas, for those travelling with families. There is also a useful section on definitions - what exactly is a spa? - and a glossary of the terms used to describe treatments.

What makes a spa so special? What should a spa offer above other facilities?

  • Water - where the water used comes from a nearby natural source, this is the closest we can come to the traditional definition of a "spa"
  • Heat, in the form of steam, sauna, rasul, serial or in heat treatments applied to the body, often alternated with cold water or ice applied to the body.
  • Therapeutic hands-on treatments given by a trained therapist, using muds, peats, salts, algae and other natural products, locally sourced where possible, but sometimes brought to you from around the world for a variety of experiences
  • Healthy food to complement weight loss, detoxification programmes or simply to give you a natural boost.
  • A philosophy of health and vitality which may have its roots in ancient or far-flung culture, but which has been developed for your total well-being.

A note about your health: people who have problems with blood pressure, circulation, deep vein thrombosis, heart disease, are on medication, have recently had an operation, who are pregnant or have any other health worries should check with on-site medical personnel or their own GP, as some treatments can have a profound effect on circulation, skin or blood pressure. Please make sure that you always leave enough time after treatments to recover from these changes and derive maximum benefits from spa treatments. Don't forget to drink plenty of water of water to aid detoxification.