My mother was a big believer in complete, holistic wellness growing up, and as such I regularly enjoyed massages, facials, and even the occasional acupuncture session. I looked forward to my once or twice monthly massages, especially when I was in the throws of growing pains or sore from playing sports all year long, and now as an adult I still love trying new spas, new spa services, and I encourage my readers to try new luxury spas as well! For those who have never wanted to, been interested in, or had the opportunity to pamper themselves with a spa day, I’ve written this simple guide about what to expect from your first spa appointment, so you’ll feel like a spa-going pro and be at ease in a new situation.
Scheduling Your Spa Service(s)
It’s best to schedule your services as far in advance as possible. Some spas may have walk-in availability for certain services, but most don’t. I try to book at least a week or more out, and popular spas or spas in busy cities may require booking even further in advance. Call ahead to ask about their availability.
If you want to receive regular services, like a massage each month, or a waxing schedule at regular intervals, set up 1-2 appointments in advance so that you don’t have to worry about remembering to call and book. Then, when you visit for your next appointment, you can book out 1-2 more appointments, and so on. This will save you time so you don’t have to remember to call in to book in advance.
Schedule back to back services for a full spa day. My favorite spa days involve a deep tissue massage, pedicure, manicure, facial, and some sort of body wrap, to give you a couple ideas. If you don’t want to set up an entire set of spa services, schedule a massage and treat yourself to a healthy brunch for an extra special afternoon, then head home and enjoy a luxurious bubble bath.
Prior to Your Appointment
Try to eat about 2 hours prior to your appointment, so that you’re neither too full nor too hungry to enjoy your spa service(s).
Personally, I like to take a warm shower, stretch for about 10 minutes, and do a bit of yoga to warm up my muscles before I head out of the house before getting a massage.
Arrive at least 20 minutes early to your appointment to change (if necessary), fill out paperwork, discuss any concerns with your masseuse, use the restroom, and relax in the spa environment to unwind and decompress prior to your service.
Before you get out of your car at the spa, turn your phone to silent mode, and put it away. Taking a break from social media, texting, and answering calls for a few hours will do wonders for your mental health, I guarantee it.
If you have any allergies to things like soy, gluten, nuts, or other common allergens, be sure to communicate this to your spa professional prior to your appointment, because some oils, wraps, or other products commonly used in a spa might contain something you’re allergic to, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
If you’re receiving a facial or a massage, I recommend heading to the spa sans makeup, so that you don’t have to remove any makeup or products, or worry about your makeup being smudged.
If you’re a female who would prefer a female masseuse, aesthetician, etc. be sure to let the spa know when you’re booking your appointment, and they can arrange your appointment with someone the same gender as you. The same goes for men as well.
What to Expect During a Spa Service
Here’s what to expect from your first spa appointment. If you’re receiving a massage, you’ll be asked to undress to your comfort level, once the masseuse has stepped out of the room of course, and climb under the sheet on the table, lying face down. Generally, this means to remove all of your clothing, but you’re welcome to leave on underwear if you’re more comfortable that way. Your masseuse will ensure that at no point you are inappropriately exposed, they will instead drape the sheet over you and rearrange it as necessary to access whichever body part they are working on. When you flip over about half way through your massage, they will lift the sheet or blankets, placing them between you and the person doing the massage, so that you aren’t exposed at all, and they can’t see you.
If at any point during your service, whether it’s a massage, pedicure, facial, wrap, or something else, you feel pain or discomfort, don’t be afraid to tell them. They are being paid to pamper you, and you shouldn’t feel any pain. Of course, the only exception to this might be a sports massage or a really deep tissue where you’ve communicated ahead of time you’d like the masseuse to work out a knot, but even then if it is too uncomfortable, ask them to lighten up on the pressure.
If you feel uncomfortable at any point, for any reason, don’t hesitate to speak up or tell them to stop. You have the right to immediately end any spa service for any reason at all. Thankfully, in all of my spa going, I’ve never once felt uncomfortable in the slightest, but every experience is unique and you have a right to feel safe and secure.
Should you have any allergies, let your masseuse know before you arrive and remind them upon your arrival. If you feel like you may be having an allergic reaction to anything at any point, speak up and ask them to remove the product immediately, just in case. I have very sensitive skin and I always mention that my skin reacts easily to a number of things, and anywhere I’ve gone they’ve been able to work around that so I can be comfortable. Health-wise, this is one of the most important things to be aware of during your first spa day.
If you’re receiving a massage, you’ll almost certainly be asked to lie on a heated table. If it becomes too warm, simply ask them to turn down the heat, or turn it off completely.
What to Expect After Your First Spa appointment
Feel free to shower, stretch, do some yoga, sit in the sauna and decompress, pamper yourself by taking extra care to do your hair and makeup if you’d like, and stay awhile. Spas expect you to linger and relax, and unless they’re closing soon, or they’ve specified that there’s a limit to how long you can stay, don’t feel rushed to head out immediately.
If you’ve had any sort of massage or facial appointment, be sure to drink at least 25% more water than you normally would for the next few days to help flush out the lactic acid and other toxins that were worked out of your muscles, which may otherwise make you feel sore or uncomfortable. Plus, drinking more water will help your skin really glow! I’ve never been to a spa that didn’t offer infused water after each service.
Some spas offer food & drinks afterwords, and some even have full cafés or may offer a light lunch as part of special packages. When booking your appointment, discuss your options if you’re interested in eating after your services.
I hope this guide helps put you at ease so that you know what to expect from your first spa appointment, during your appointment, and after!
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Larissa Page says
This was spot on! I love visiting spas, and this perfectly describes what to expect for a first timer!
Cory Kelly says
Great tips! I’ve only been to a spa once and I wish I’d read this before I went!