With the health consciousness of hoi polloi rising by the day, commoners often stumble upon hitherto unheard fitness jargon. And the word – spa is in grave danger of becoming a cliché, now that almost all health talk is considered incomplete without an abundant scattering of it. Despite its frequency of use in day-to-day chatter, the word remains a mere eardrum acquaintance for many. Here’s a lowdown on spa basics.

The word is an acronym of the Latin phrase ‘sanus per aquam’ which means health through water. Today its meaning has evolved to include a host of services on its menu – right from wholesome physical well being or getting treated for an ailment, to mental peace or an overall body rejuvenation package. Head to a spa and bid adieu to all your worries of shaping up, toning down, relaxing, de-stressing, and getting rid of the extra flab.

The panache of a spa lays in the right blend of stress management and beauty treatment that it offers on menu. And while we do not strip stress management of its due importance, we all know the effect of a good physical therapy on the emotional well being of a person.For example a foot massage or a simple facial can energize and enliven your spirits equally well as it works on your skin.

Some of the most popular spa treatments are discussed here, which might prove to be of some help to first timers.

Body wrap
As the name suggests, a body warp is a procedure where the whole body is wrapped in paste. This paste could well be a mud pack or herbal oil wrap. Varied wraps are used to tone, moisturize, cleanse and treat skin. Mineral rich mud is one of the most popular wraps, and the mud from Dead Sea is particularly known for its healing effects.

Massage therapy
A massage relaxes your body, pressurizing muscles and particular points to increase the blood circulation and, in turn, metabolism. Ayurvedic massage therapies have lately caught on the fantasies of spa goers, but other massage therapies like Shiatsu, hydrotherapy and watsu are also quite popular. While shiatsu massage is an oriental technique based on acupressure, where fingertip pressure is used to stimulate energy flow and solve specific physical problems, hydrotherapy comprises of treatments that are tailored to individual needs, be it relaxation, muscle-healing, or losing weight. Watsu is an amalgamation of water and shiatsu massage therapies. LaStone therapy is a technique involving the use of alternating hot and cold stones to relax muscles and repair stressed bodies.

Cosmetic treatments
A spa is also home to purely cosmetic procedures such as deep conditioning hair treatment, or intensive facials, manicures and pedicures. These treatments target the proverbial skin deep beauty and are aimed at customers who have little time on hand for a quick makeover. One of the most popular cosmetic procedures is waxing treatment, a painless hair removal treatment.

This therapy is based on one of the strongest human instincts – sense of smell. In this, a visitor is treated to the odor of particular scents that can relax and revitalize. Usually used as a part of a massage or a facial, it effectively brings about mood changes.

Medical treatments
Muscle stiffness, psoriasis, joint aches, injuries and other disorders can be treated at a spa with the help of alternative therapies and medication. Medical spas are the next booming thing.

Detox treatments
Given our daily intake of junk, processed food and the polluted environment that we live in, our bodies are storehouses of toxins. Detox treatments aim at ridding the body of all these toxins to help in its quick rejuvenation and increased metabolism.

Weight management
Weight management therapies are the top grossers among spa services these days. Weight reduction programs do not merely concentrate on temporary weight loss, but target at a lifestyle change that assists you in retaining the reduced weight over time. Aimed at both the sexes, muscle toning and weight gain programs are the newest addition to these weight management programs.

Stress management
A timely effort to de-stress the tensed nerves is of utmost importance to working people, whose high profile jobs prove demanding upon their well being. A series of stress management programs can instill a sense of achievement and take some burden away from the mundane chores of work.

Other services
Spas have been rather quick in jumping onto the bandwagon to offer honeymoon packages, bridal packages, romantic packages, and anniversary packages. Mushy couples on their honeymoon can enjoy while getting pampered in each other’s company. Brides-to-be, eager to put up their best face despite immense pre- wedding stress, can take a week off before the d-day to soothe nerves and look their best. Couples looking for spicing up their life together can head for a destination spa, where spiritual well being, physical health and togetherness await them. You could also treat your loved one to a spa service of your choice for an anniversary.

Wrap up
All in all, a spa is a place where you can put your feet up, relax and comfort yourself no end, to face the challenges of life with a renewed vigor.