Facials are skin-care treatments that include exfoliation, steam, moisturizers, masks, peels and massages. They remove the dry, dull skin cells from the skin’s surface, massage the muscles to increase circulation, remove clogged pores and completely hydrate the new, fresh layer of skin. Some facials target specific problem areas such as reducing puffiness and dark circles around the eyes. Others help with anti-aging, such as applying collagen to the skin to help it tighten the skin and reduce wrinkles.
Facial skin isn’t the only area that needs exfoliation and moisturizing. Spas provide a variety of skin treatments for the entire body: aquatherapy, body polishes, body wraps and vichy showers. In aquatherapy, you soak in aqua-jet tubs with aromatherapy oils, moisturizers and exfoliates. These soaks improve circulation and exfoliate and hydrate the skin.
Body polishes are essentially body facials. The body is scrubbed to slough dead skin cells and smooth out the skin, and then moisturizers —usually cream — are massaged into the skin for hydration. Salt scrubs are the most common body polishes, where aestheticians use scrubs of sea salt for exfoliation. A salt scrub is often the first step in a body-wrap treatment. After the body has been exfoliated, it’s then wrapped in either seaweed or mud to help extract impurities from the skin and improve overall skin texture. After removing the wrap, you rinse in a shower and then apply extra moisturizer.
Vichy showers are sometimes used at the end of a body polish or a body wrap, but they can be experienced alone as well. These showers have five to seven shower heads that pour water on you while you lie on a cushioned table. They help promote blood circulation as well as skin hydration.
Massages are probably the most popular spa treatments, with a variety of styles offered. A Swedish massage is the most common method. The therapist uses massage oil to ease massaging in long, smooth strokes and covers the parts of the body not being massaged with a sheet. Sometimes the oils incorporate aromatherapy to further aid in relaxation. Pregnancy massages are Swedish massages performed specifically to help ease muscle tension in a mom-to-be’s lower back, shoulders and legs.
Deep-tissue massages use many of the same movements and techniques from Swedish massage but apply more intense pressure to release muscle tension and knots.
Hot-stone massages also implement the same long stroke techniques in a Swedish massage, but therapists stroke the muscles with heated basalt stones. The heat from the stones improves circulation in the muscles and aids in injury healing. Sometimes therapists will leave the hot stones lying on the spine for therapeutic flow.
A reflexology massage focuses primarily on the feet. The therapist will apply pressure to reflex points on the feet to release blockages in the body systems and improve circulation
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