Joy Magazine

Visiting a Day Spa: an Escape Close to Home

Fresh off of the holiday season and tackling yet another year of work and chores, what better way to unwind and be pampered than visiting a spa for a relaxing foot massage, facial or body scrub?

Sure, the idea of getting luxurious spa treatments brings to mind exotic pampering at a tropical getaway, but seaside view aside, being at home — and not on vacation — is more than enough cause to justify seeking out pampering spa treatments.

Costs and tips

Far from free, some planning is likely in order for most spa clients, but the investment is worth the expense. Price wise, spa services vary from one spa to the next with most places offering package deals including some locations that provide catered lunches for lengthier spa visits.

Basic services are as follows, but may vary from spa to spa. Don't be afraid to ask the price of any service:

Manicures: $25 to $40 depending on what's included

Pedicures: around $50 (includes massage and exfoliation)

Body Salt Scrub: $30 for 30 minutes

Algae Body Wrap: $45 for 45 minutes

Makeup Application or Lesson: $35 and up

Self-Tanner Treatment: from $15 for face to $60 or more for full body

Facials: range from $30 to $40 for a half hour to $70 to $85 for an hour or longer

Glycolic peel or collagen mask added to facial: $15 and up

Full body massage: $1 or more per minute (for example, around $60 to $75 per hour)

Haircut and Style: $35 and up; add a hair "facial" or mask for $20 to $45

Waxing: ranges from $10 for upper lip to $70 for full leg

Foot treatment: $45 and up (includes foot soak, extended massage and moisturizing paraffin dip)

A final note, gratuities are not usually included in spa pricing and should be based on spa personnel performance. Fifteen to 20 percent is customary.

Resort-quality services are available at a handful of places in the Rogue Valley with professionally trained personnel and high quality spa products ready and waiting for a time-challenged society.

For first timers, choosing a spa can seem daunting. While day spas were once for society's elite, local spas are seeing an increasing clientele base of regular folk eager to de-stress and indulge.

Doing away with some of the mystique, European Touch Day Spa & Salon of Medford's Shelly Staten says to walk right in and ask for a tour. Any spa worth their paraffin and salt scrub should be more than willing to oblige.

Things to check into when touring potential spa locations include available services — the more the better, licensing and qualifications of staff, ambiance and cleanliness of the facility and quality of products used.

Staten recommends visiting more than one site, reviewing brochures and checking websites for further details. Once you've found a place to try, a consultation will take place to discuss services you'd like done and any concerns you have such as modesty or product allergies.

While spa personnel are usually accommodating in scheduling last minute appointments if available, proper spa etiquette calls for booking a reservation one week or more in advance.

For multiple guests, such as a bridal party or group session, schedule weeks in advance and expect to pay a 25 percent deposit. Cancellations usually require a 48-hour notice or penalty fees can range as high as full cost for "no shows."

When heading to your appointment, show up early and in a relaxed state of mind to ensure you get the most from your spa experience. Most places will encourage a hot shower for clients prior to treatment and most provide complimentary niceties such as foot soaks or sauna sessions.

Getting down to business, plan for more than enough time to enjoy your spa visit. If you're eager to see what's available, opt for a package deal with an abbreviated version of multiple services. If relaxation is the focus, opt for just one or two services and plan to take time relaxing before and after.

Not sure about getting a full body scrub or waltzing around in a strangely colored mud mask your first go-round? Central Point's Four Oaks Salon and Day Spa owner Vicky Smith suggests a good old-fashioned pedicure, complete with a lower leg massage, exfoliation, foot soak, nail trim and polish.

"I always tell people to start out with a pedicure. Most people enjoy having their feet rubbed and there's no undressing. You just take off your socks and shoes," Smith says. As for more involved services, most spas offer gowns and/or robes for keeping covered and patrons are permitted to wear swimsuits or shorts and sports bras if they feel the need.

As for spa etiquette, firm spa no-nos are cell phones and children, for obvious reasons.

"If you're trying to let go of the day, it's not relaxing to you or anyone else if you're having to answer your phone," Smith notes.

"And some people bring their children when they're going to be there for the day. Remember this is for you to relax"¦ it's a wise thing to get a sitter."

Finally, while services are being performed, don't be shy about suggestions or feedback. Spa personnel want to know if the water needs to be warmer or a certain product doesn't feel good.

"We want everything to be completely relaxing and the focus on you. When you come in here, you get a warm neck wrap, tea or water and sit down for a foot soak," says Medford's Gervais Day Spa & Salon manager and cosmetologist Gina Ennis. "We basically want you to roll out of here."

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