What Is a Signature Spa Treatment?

And How To Decode What Will Happen

signature spa treatment
••• A luxurious Turquoise Wrap.

Signature spa treatments are spa services that are unique to a spa, and are most often found at resort, hotel and destination spas. Signature spa treatments often use local ingredients and traditions, so are also sometimes called indigenous spa treatments. They're often in a special part of the spa menu and are called "rituals" or "experiences".

Signature spa treatments tend to last longer and cost more than the usual massage or facial.

They can be wonderful, and if you've been to a lot of spas it's fun to experience something new. Sometimes you get master therapists and have transforming experiences.

But there are pitfalls to signature spa treatments. it's easy to get caught up in the romance and wonderful-sounding descriptions.

"Wow, they'll smudge me with sage and massage me with turquoise...." and not realize that you're getting a body scrub, spending time in a tub by yourself, and then get an "application" of lotion that may or may not be by a massage therapist.

And I always cringe when the therapist starts reading a script to me off a card while my eyes are covered.

So you're not disappointed in your signature spa treatment, CAREFULLY READ the description and break it down into its component parts. Think about whether that is a combination of services you want, and that will meet your needs.

Here are some of the elements that you might find a signature spa treatment, underneath all the bells and whistles:

Body Scrub.
Any time they talk about exfoliation in a signature spa treatment, it's usually a body scrub with an abrasive material like salt, sugar, coffee grounds, rice bran, powders, even pecan hulls, usually mixed with some kind of massage oil and sometimes essential oils. Think about the material they're using and if it's good for your skin.

If you're sensitive, salt or pecan hulls might be too much!

Body Wrap.
Next, the therapist might apply a body mask to either encourage detoxification and remineralization, or a heavy cream to hydrate your skin. You will probably be wrapped up in foil or disposable paper or plastic for twenty minutes. If you're clastrophobic, this might not be the treatment for you.
The therapist might give your a foot or scalp massage during your body wrap, but sometimes they leave the room. (You can always request they stay.) Afterwards you might shower off yourself, or they might remove the body mask with a Vichy shower", where you continued lying down. I love Vichy showers, so this is a plus for me.

Hydrotherapy Bath.
This involves getting into a tub of warm water that might have simple jets or a programmed cycle to stimulate your body's lymphatic system. Sometimes it has "chromatherapy," which involves different lights. This is okay, but I can sit in a tub by myself at home, so I tend to pass these up.

A Mini-Facial.
I never want a mini-facial from a massage therapist. Unless they're a dual-license (and sometimes even then), most just don't know their way around the face very well. If a mini-facial is part of the signature spa treatment, I just ask for extra massage time.

A Massage.
The massage portion is often cut short to make time for all the other components that give the signature spa treatment its "sizzle". If the description says it's an "application" of lotion then the therapist might be an esthetician!

The Extras.
They might be smudging you with sage, placing gemstones over your chakras, clearing your aura, doing sound healing -- this is all energy work and you will be disappointed if you like a good deep tissue massage. Finally, if it's a guided meditation, you might be laying on the table while the person talks without touching you at all!

So when you're booking a signature spa treatment, be sure you ask a lot of questions, visualize what they're describing, and ask yourself if it's the kind of thing you usually like.