LEXINGTON, Ky. - With many Americans eagerly awaiting some extra cash in their pockets thanks to the economic stimulus payments, now is the time to make an investment in your health. As the voice of the global spa industry, the International SPA Association and its 3,000 members urge you to invest your newly acquired funds on your mind, body and spirit.
"What's more important than investing in your health?" said ISPA President Lynne McNees. "Wouldn't you rather relax, reflect, revitalize and rejoice at a spa than spend time in a doctor's office being treated for stress-related illnesses? Spas give you permission to pause, which is absolutely critical in our 24/7 society."
There are more than 14,000 spas in the United States and many offer classes on self-improvement, which can be learned at the spa and then applied in daily life. In fact, 51 percent of spas offer educational programs and nutritional consultations, 40 percent offer healthy eating classes, 39 percent offer stress management classes and 26 percent have educational offerings on obesity or other weight issues.
If you've been hesitating to take your first trip to the spa, the extra money in your pocket affords you the opportunity to test the waters. As one in four adults will go to a spa this year, you know someone who has been, so make them your spa mentor. Spa-going in groups - with friends, family members or a significant other - is a popular way to help ease you into the spa experience.
These eight tips will give you the 411 on everything you need to know before you go:
- Do Your Homework - Research the spas in your area and determine your needs before booking an appointment. Spas offer a menu of services that describe each treatment and its therapeutic value. ISPA's Web site has a glossary of spa terms that you can reference.
- Speak Up - At the time of booking, express whether you prefer a male or female therapist. Don't be afraid to ask questions about what to expect or what a treatment involves.
- Take Your Time - Arrive at least 30 minutes prior to your treatment and take advantage of the spa's amenities. You can start relaxing in the sauna or zone out in the relaxation area. After your treatment, you may linger at the spa for as long as you like.
- It's Up to You - Spas will never compromise your modesty. It's up to you as to what you wear or don't wear under your robe. Not feeling chatty? It's also your decision if you want to talk during your treatment.
- Affordable for All - Just as there are hotels and restaurants at varying price points, you can expect to find a spa experience in any price range. Nearly all spas list their prices online or just simply ask the cost when booking your treatment over the phone.
- Tipping Tips - Tips in the 15 to 20 percent range are customary, though some spas include them as a service charge - so ask if you are unsure.
- Look for the ISPA Logo - With more than 3,000 members in 75 countries, an ISPA member spa has signed a Standards & Practices agreement and respects your rights as a spa-goer by using the ISPA Code of Conduct.
- More questions? - You can find more advice in ISPA's Spa 101 Guide at http://www.experienceispa.com/cms/cms/articles/.
About the International SPA Association
ISPA is recognized worldwide as the leading professional organization and voice of the spa industry. Founded in 1991, ISPA advances the spa industry by providing invaluable educational and networking opportunities, promoting the value of the spa experience and speaking as the authoritative voice to foster professionalism and growth. More details on ISPA are available on http://www.experienceispa.com/cms/cms/articles/.