Help me plan my spa week
December 2, 2012 7:43 PM   Subscribe

I am going to spend a week's vacation at a resort that has a spa. This isn't really a spa getaway, but I've been to this resort before and the spa is very good. I would like to visit the spa on at least 6 days, to get either a massage or a body treatment. I know I will have both the time and money to do this. Can you help me plan which treatments to get and in what order?

For example, I imagine I should get a Swedish massage early in the week and a deep tissue massage later in the week, but I'm just guessing. I'm interested in massages for muscle tension (knots, stress, etc.) and body treatments for very dry skin. The muscle tension is more important than the dry skin. I want to get just one treatment a day. Here's the menu of options:

Swedish Massage
Deep tissue massage
Sports massage
Reflexology massage
Four hand massage
Hot stone massage

Body Treatments
Babassu sugar rub
Seaweed wrap
Manzanilla mud wrap
Volcanic mud wrap
Chocolate therapy
Wine therapy

Which of the above should I get and in which order? I'm currently thinking: 1) Swedish massage, 2) sugar rub, 3) hot stone massage, 4) mud wrap, 5) deep tissue massage

My idea is to progress from less intense to more intense massage, and to start the body treatments with exfoliating. The mud wrap just sounds interesting. A few other odds and ends -- I am usually sore for 2 days after a massage, and my skin is super, super dry -- I really can't ever moisturize it enough.
posted by OrangeDisk to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Maybe this is obvious, but the staff at a high end place like that would be willing, eager, and very well qualified to help you plan your schedule of treatments.
posted by Perplexity at 7:52 PM on December 2, 2012 [4 favorites]

What Perplexity said.

Other thoughts:

I would consider getting the sugar scrub on the same day right before something moisturizing (seaweed or mud wrap, or even a Swedish massage)

You should ask about any available packages -- or look through their packages list -- that will also give you an idea about what treatments pair well.

Do they offer facials? I'd definitely consider one of those as one of your treatments.

I'm curious about the wine therapy; that sounds pretty unique to me.

Ask if the hot stone massage is recommended if your skin is dry -- i think my dry skin is in part why i don't like them. The ones I've been to don't use much oil/creme, compared to deep tissue or swedish.

And, yes, working up to deeper massage would likely be the way to go. However if you get massages regularly you could just jump right into deep tissue.

Sounds fun! Have a blast!
posted by NikitaNikita at 8:13 PM on December 2, 2012

Volcanic mud is very drying, those wraps contain absorbent and ionic clays like bentonite and kaolin that just suck the oil and water right out of everything. Awesome if you are a driller or have oily skin, but I'd check out some of the other treatments if you have dry skin.
posted by cakebatter at 8:44 PM on December 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

FWIW, I've only had one hot stone massage, but I didn't really like it. There was too much downtime when the practitioner was switching out the stones. If you are interested in this treatment, I would ask if this is done by one person or two.
posted by radioamy at 9:02 PM on December 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Instead of doing three separate general massages, I'd start with hot stone (I find it more relaxing and I don't like very firm pressure), and then ask to work on specific body parts where you carry tension on the other days. Is it in your head and neck? Your hands and feet? Do you get stress headaches? Have you been on your feet a lot (resulting in tight calves and feet)? The massage therapist can recommend what's best for you, but only after they've gotten a sense of your body.

My spa offers a head and neck herbal poultice treatment, a specific head/hands/feet treatment, and therapeutic stretching. All of these are great for stress relief. While not explicitly listed on the services menu, the spa may have people trained in these. I find the more general massages to be a little less helpful. If you're really stressed out, you're probably carrying a lot of it in one plae, somewhere like your back or neck. Getting all the tension out of one area can take the entire session.
posted by kathryn at 9:06 PM on December 2, 2012

I recently was in Bali for a couple of weeks and had massages every day, because they cost like $10 or less. I was kind of disappointed that I became desensitised to them a bit. The first one felt amazing; the next day was okay; and then after that it was a bit relaxing, but not anywhere near as nice as it usually is. And I don't think it's that my massage therapists were crappy after the first one or anything! I think part of it was just that my body got used to the sensations and partly that after day one I was way more relaxed than usual anyway, because I wasn't working out like I do when I'm not on holiday, or sitting in an office chair all day or anything.

So the take-home message from that is that I recommend spacing your massages as far apart as possible. E.g. if you are going to have two, have them on the first day and the last day. And try to make the treatments you do get as different from each other as possible. I think your idea of a Swedish massage and a deep tissue massage are a good idea, and the suggestion from kathryn of massages of different body parts on different days is also a possible way to go.
posted by lollusc at 10:53 PM on December 2, 2012

I once had a "deep tissue hot stone massage" that was amazing. I've been told by other massage therapists that such a combination isn't really a thing, or is "wrong," but the combination of the deep pressure + heated stones felt incredible both during and after, and was by far the best massage experience I've ever had.

Echoing the suggestions to start light, or to space out your massages. I don't get massages very often, but I've had them when 48 hours while on vacation - after the deep tissue one, others felt like someone was massaging me with feathers (which might be ok too if that's what you want?)
posted by raztaj at 6:24 AM on December 3, 2012

I have to say that of all the spa treatments my favorites are sugar/salt scrubs. I have super dry skin, with little scaly patches and these things just make me feel so silky.

It's also nice because it's massage-like, in that the practitioner is rubbing all this stuff all over. It's so relaxing. Do be careful that you don't have a reaction to the scrub though, if you have sensitive skin.

Perhaps start with a massage, then do a scrub in the middle of the week, then do another massage later in the week.

posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:30 AM on December 3, 2012

Response by poster: Thank you for the suggestion to ask the staff. That honestly never occurred to me (d'oh!). There is a language barrier, but I know they have at least one staff member that is bilingual who can help with communication.

Based on the above, I think I will get two Swedish massages and a deep tissue massage, with a day off in between. On the days off, I think I'll get the sugar scrub, then talk to them about whatever else might be most moisturizing (it sounds like I should skip the mud wrap). I'll also of course talk with them about this plan.
posted by OrangeDisk at 1:23 PM on December 3, 2012

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