A True Top to Toe Spa Experience
April 24, 2017 5:29 AM   Subscribe

If youwere to design a full on, time-and-money-are-no-objects spa and pampering experience that goes from the tips of your hair to the soles of your feet and everywhere else within and without, what would be in it?

I'm kind of a spa bunny (well, with financial limitations) and one of my biggest fantasies is an all-day (or longer) spa session where every last bit of my body and soul is taken care of. I'd like to know what that would entail, if it were real.

There's the standard stuff: shampoo & blowdry with hair cut, colour, oil treatment; facial; threading/waxing/lasering; massage; mani-pedi; maybe some exfoliation or a wrap somewhere; tub soaks of various kinds. Hell, add a yoni massage in there if you're willing. Maybe do some reiki or some other more energetic woo woo stuff. And be fed well through it.

But what am I missing? What other spa treatments or bodywork are out there that may be less known? Which body (or soul) parts am I missing? Is there like a specific treatment for eyes, or a bellybutton cleanse, or a cerebral massage, or some other hyperspecific pampering option out there? Sensory deprivation tanks, hypnosis, ayurveda, all are good - from the very ancient to the very futuristic, anywhere around the world. Even the very woo.
posted by divabat to Grab Bag (24 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
My favourite bit of the spa is always the scalp massage, so make sure you add that on wherever possible.

One thing you might look into is water-based massage therapy. I went to a spa that offered in-pool massage and it was like having someone do yoga to you while you floated around in a warm pool. Like Thai massage is having someone do yoga to you on land, this is in the water -- lots of gentle stretching, and no bodyweight pressure.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:41 AM on April 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've been thinking about trying hyperbaric oxygen therapy. A local spa has a salt room.
posted by FencingGal at 6:02 AM on April 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

Sensory deprivation tank
posted by tilde at 6:02 AM on April 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best for this soul has been spending time outdoors. Super indulgent are hot tubs in the woods or near other bodies of water. Laugarvatn Fontana, outside Reykjavîk, has saunas, steam rooms, and pools of varying temps that look out over the lake. Outside of Santa Fe, NM, there's a spa tucked into juniper and piñon.

At the other end of the scale are deprivation/float tanks. I've done these a few times and while they are restorative, it's more like doing a hard reset instead of a normal shutdown.

Finally, the Vishesh-Swedna ayurvedic treatment at Kripalu was amazing--deep scalp massage with oil, steam inhalation with a snort of an oil/ginger/?? mix was a zinger for inner head stuff.
posted by cocoagirl at 6:20 AM on April 24, 2017 [3 favorites]

The full on Korean akasuri scrub is good. You mentioned exfoliation so maybe you have that covered already. Acupuncture can be very good for those nagging ailments.
posted by Gotanda at 6:21 AM on April 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

Those lovely various temperature rooms at the Korean spas that have different crystals and stuff embedded in the walls for your woo preference: Poultice rooms (amythest, red clay, ice, charcoal, blue onyx, salt)
posted by sperose at 6:27 AM on April 24, 2017

I've also tried shiatsu massage. It was a bit too rough for me, but I can see how some people would like it. And I would try it again if I could find a more gentle practitioner.
posted by FencingGal at 6:41 AM on April 24, 2017

Well for specialty treatments that are probably less known - there is vaginal steaming available at some spas.
posted by Julnyes at 7:07 AM on April 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

You mentioned exfoliation so maybe you have that covered already.

Variations on things I've mentioned already are great!
posted by divabat at 7:35 AM on April 24, 2017

At our local Korean spa, you get to go take the water for a flat fee and then the body shampoos, "clam bake" and so on are add on services. You can also get massage, mani-pedi, acupuncture, take the sauna rooms with woo-crystals, and swim laps if you feel like it. You also just walk around totally stark naked for the most part. I highly recommend it. Our local one is pretty all-inclusive, but I have heard that some of the Korean spas can be kinda weird if you're not a Korean person (I guess this depends on neighborhood) - So it's the kind of thing to research but literally every kind of human goes to the one around here. It's pretty great.
posted by Medieval Maven at 7:39 AM on April 24, 2017

A lot of spas offer back facials. Sounds really nice to me; even though I have clear skin on my back, I often feel like that skin is a little neglected, since I can't reach it well.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 7:39 AM on April 24, 2017

Have you tried the thing where the fish eat your dead skin off your feet? It's tickly. It's also fun to watch the fish.
posted by rmless at 8:20 AM on April 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

Foot reflexology / massage is one of those things that seems unnecessary if not dumb, but when done well can turn you into a happy puddle of goo. At least that was my conversion story.
posted by Mchelly at 8:21 AM on April 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

I think also what's important to note is the in between transit part of going from one treatment to the next. There needs to be absolute peace and relaxation in the movement between all of the different parts to sustain the bliss.
posted by knownassociate at 8:31 AM on April 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

A platza.

Not for the timid, but boy oh boy -- do you ever feel like a newborn baby after.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:34 AM on April 24, 2017

Treatments that include a vichy shower are great. I love not having to get up from the table to rinse off and it feels incredibly pampering. I like a mud wrap, vichy shower, followed by a massage.
posted by vivzan at 8:36 AM on April 24, 2017

I have to second spas that have an outdoor element. I've been to a few of these in the Netherlands and Germany.

I think my favorite is still something like the Friedrichsbad program, where you go from room to room. Each room may have steam or water and is at different temperatures. One of the rooms (#5 in my link above) you walk into and lie down on a table. The attendant then rinses off your body and gives you a scrubby soap massage with a gentle brush. It is probably the cleanest I have ever been in my life.
posted by vacapinta at 8:42 AM on April 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

Delicious water near the pool sauna etc. and wonderful soaps (I am sensitive to many fragrances so nothing too artificial) in the locker rooms. Ten Thousand Waves in Santa Fe has both.
posted by vespabelle at 10:40 AM on April 24, 2017

A Balinese cream bath is a treatment where you sit in a salon chair and the attendant glops on a couple handfuls of hair conditioner and forcibly massages your head (I've checked my scalp for bruises afterwards) followed by a neck, shoulder, upper back and arm and hand massage. It's a struggle to stay upright and not melt into a puddle of bliss.

I've also sat in one of those old-timey steam baths where they zip you in with only your head sticking out. An attendant sits nearby to wipe your forehead and pull you out before you faint.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 10:43 AM on April 24, 2017

Also, after a massage in a semi-open-air pavilion with a gentle rain falling on the thatched roof, the masseuse had me stand up so she could pour warm water over my body from a bucket. A mandi is the shower of the gods.

I don't actually like full on body massages, too painful, but "oil massages" in Thailand are just rubbing scented oil all over and will generally put you to sleep.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 10:53 AM on April 24, 2017

Hawaiian lomilomi massage
posted by cadge at 11:09 AM on April 24, 2017

my favourite spa is one where the main feature is "taking the waters" a large soak pool with jets and waterfalls, a epsom salt hot tub, and a cold plunge. You move between the pools at your own rate, and it's an amazingly relaxing way to spend a few hours gossiping with friends. And your skin feels super soft after!
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:42 PM on April 24, 2017

Number 8 - The Total Bliss Package and I would throw in a spa pedicure as well.
posted by brookeb at 1:49 PM on April 24, 2017

A meditation room
An organic vegan or paleo restaurant
Small quiet conversation areas where I can talk with my companion
A napping area with not too much sun
Fresh high quality towels everywhere
Nice non plastic non foam slippers
A sandy beach
posted by SyraCarol at 2:58 PM on April 24, 2017

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