Definition of a Spa

Spas are places devoted to overall well-being through a variety of professional services that encourage the renewal of mind, body and spirit.

Why choose an ISPA spa

There’s something special about members of the International SPA Association. Spas from around the world have joined ISPA and in doing so have indicated their commitment to superior standards. Each member spa must agree to ISPA’s Code of Ethics and Standards and Practices. So when you choose an ISPA spa, you can relax knowing you’ve chosen a business that hires qualified staff, considers your safety a priority, emphasizes guest relations through communication and provides a level of service you deserve.

SPA 101

It's important to know what to expect during a spa experience - especially your first one. You probably already have a good reason to visit a spa - to relieve stress, lose weight, get in shape or just to treat yourself. And in case you haven't realized, there are just as many different spas and treatments as there are reasons to go. Just keep in mind that ultimately the spa experience is about one thing: You. Your comfort, your goals and your peace of mind are at the heart of every spa experience.

Types of Spas

Depending upon what your goals are, and what you are looking for in a spa experience, you will want to know differences in spas and what they offer. Below are the primary types of spas and examples of the kinds of services you could expect.

Club Spa

A facility whose primary purpose is fitness and which offers a variety of professionally administered spa services on a day-use basis.

Day Spa

A spa offering a variety of professional administered spa services to clients on a day-use basis.

Destination Spa

A destination spa is a facility with the primary purpose of guiding individual spa-goers to develop healthy habits. This lifestyle transformation can be accomplished by providing a comprehensive program that includes spa services, physical fitness activities, wellness education, healthful cuisine and special interest programming.

Medical Spa

A facility that has a full-time licensed health care professional on-site, which is further defined as a health professional who has earned a degree of Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) as defined by the AMA. All applications are reviewed individually and international standards are taken into account when applicants from outside the U.S. apply for membership.

Mineral Springs Spa

A spa offering an on-site source of natural mineral, thermal or seawater used in hydrotherapy treatments.

Resort/Hotel Spa

A spa located within a resort or hotel providing professionally administered spa services, fitness and wellness components.

How to choose a spa

With thousands of spas offering countless ways to relax and revitalize you in so many different settings, how do you find the spa that's right for you? The best place to start is with you. Do your homework. Decide why you want to take a spa vacation or have a spa experience, what programs and services interest you, what type of setting you would like and how much you can afford. Identify what you'd like to accomplish, then select a spa that enables you to concentrate on an area of emphasis such as:


Work out in fitness classes, enjoy invigorating body treatments, participate in outdoor sports activities or sign up for programs to lose weight, get fit or adopt a healthier lifestyle.

Stress Management

Learn relaxation techniques, how to manage stress, and other strategies for feeling more in balance and in control.

Peace of Mind

Pursue a spiritual journey of introspection and reflection through meditation, yoga, tai chi, chi gong and other practices or activities that lead to serenity, understanding and self-acceptance.

Pampering and Pleasure

Guests indulge their senses with massages, facials, mud or aroma baths and other delightful treatments as they enjoy a completely relaxing vacation. It can be anything from a girl's makeover, makeup classes, precious moments shared by couples, mothers and special occasions like weddings and graduation.

Health and Wellness

Explore your health, learn to deal with issues like smoking or medical concerns and discover how lifestyle choices can lead to optimal wellness.

Cosmetic Spa

Specializes in medical enhancements such as skin soothing laser treatments, facelifts, Botox or treatments for cellulite, body shaping and cosmetic dentistry.