What Services Do Day Spas Offer?

You hear talk about spa treatments all the time, but no one ever seems to explain what they are. So what is a spa treatment exactly? In the dictionary, it's defined as a non-medical body procedure designed to promote health and wellness. In plain English, a spa treatment is any of the services offered at a spa. And all spa services offered by day spas have one thing in common: to encourage wellness through relaxation.
Spa Treatments
There are multiple categories of spa treatments out there, and the confusing thing is each spa will offer slightly different services under different names. But, in general, there are seven types of spa treatments provided; these are massages, facials, body treatments, bathing treatments, spa salon offerings, nail care, and fitness services. Get a grasp of these six categories and you’ll have a good understanding of what to expect at any spa. Keep in mind, however, that although at least one category of services will be offered at every spa establishment, not all kinds of treatments will be readily available at all spas.


Massages are by far the most popular spa treatment in the United States. They're all about giving into relaxation, and they're associated with many health benefits. Most massages involve a therapist rubbing the back, neck, arms and legs of the client, who lies on a padded massage table. Usually, patrons are nude when receiving massage therapy, but they remain draped under sheets so their bodies aren't exposed.

There are multiple varieties of massage available, some of which are personal styles designed in house at spas. As a good rule of thumb, start with a Swedish massage if you're new to the spa world. This is the gentlest variety of the treatment, and it's a good way to introduce your body to the pressure and muscle work associated with massages. If your spa doesn't list a Swedish massage on its service menu, ask the concierge about an equivalent treatment.


Another popular spa treatment is the facial, and it does what its name implies - relaxes and rejuvenates the face. Most facials entail multiple steps, usually including an exfoliating segment, a cleansing segment, a massage segment, and a moisturizing finale. Some facials can be too harsh for first-time spa goers; if you're interested in this treatment but have never gotten a facial before, ask the spa staff to recommend a gentle facial suitable for you.

Body Treatments

This is a general category that includes exfoliating scrubs and moisturizing wraps. Often, these two services will be combined into one treatment. For scrubs, the body is covered with a slightly abrasive material, rubbed into the skin, and then washed off. Wraps involve enveloping spa patrons in a therapeutic substance, like seaweed, mud, or hot linens. Usually, a wrap will include both herbal compounds that are good for the skin and aromatherapy to promote healing. Body treatments can be a wonderful cleansing experience, but anyone who is nervous about spa nudity should avoid them; in almost all cases, you have to be nude to get a scrub or wrap service.

Bathing Treatments

Bathing services include hot springs, hot tubs, mud baths, saunas, steam rooms, and hydrotherapy. These kinds of spa treatments are popular in European spas, but most can be found in many American spas as shared amenities to be enjoyed before and after treatments with therapists. Sometimes, spas will charge a low entrance fee for guests who want to use the available bathing services without purchasing a pricier private treatment. Bathing services are typically self-served, group therapies. They may be segregated according to gender, especially when nudity is allowed.

Hydrotherapy is the one exception to the rule that bathing services are shared, group treatments. In hydrotherapy, customers are treated to a private bath in a tub filled with relaxing elements, like salts and botanical extracts.

Spa Salon Offerings

Most big spas will offer treatments that are typically found at salons. The standard examples are manicures and pedicures, which will be found at almost every spa facility. Another common salon service offered is waxing, which removes hair with hot wax. Less often, spas will offer scalp treatments and a full array of hair care services. If these kinds of services are available, they will usually be performed in a separate salon area.

Fitness Services

Many hotel spas provide fitness classes in addition to the standard menu of spa treatments. Yoga, Pilates, tai chi, and other mind and body exercise techniques are most often found in a spa environment, although some spas hold aerobic fitness classes too. These kinds of wellness classes are typically included in the cost of a stay at a hotel spa.

Nail Care

Not all day spas offer nail services, but the vast majority do. This category contains both finger and toenail treatments, including manicures, pedicures, and full sets of false nails in different materials for the hands. Spas can get creative with their nail services, often including high-end additions to the treatments such as aromatherapy oils, massage segments, wax dips, and even chemical peels.

If you like getting your nails done, a spa mani/pedi combo could be the ultimate luxurious treat. But if you’ve never had a nail treatment, get your first manicure or pedicure at a small nail salon before shelling out big money for a spa service.

Self-Serve Amenities

Most big spas have plenty of services that don’t require one-on-one time with a therapist. These self-serve offerings include saunas, hot tubs, steam rooms, relaxation lounges, pools, plunge pools and wellness classes, like yoga. Most spas charge an entrance fee for customers who wish to use these services without buying a full treatment. Basking at a spa can become an all-day affair if you take advantage of self-serve amenities. Just remember to follow spa etiquette at all times: shower before entering pool-type environments, keep your voice low, and be respectful of other patrons and the spa staff.

Now that you’ve learned about the kinds of spa treatments, you can find one that’s right for you. Remember that each spa will offer different variations of the treatments in the categories listed above, and not all spas will provide all services. If you get confused about which service to choose, just ask for help. The staff at any spa is trained to point you in the right direction.