It seems pretty ironic that spas are meant to calm our nerves and help us relax after a long week, but we often end up being more stressed over the who, what, where-s in finding the perfect spa.

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“Do I sound silly asking the therapist what is a Shiatsu massage?”

“What if they make me sign a package but I am not ready for the commitment?”

“It’s my first time trying out a spa, how do I go about doing it?”

We hope your concerns are put at ease after reading this article!

1. Massages, facials, baths… what do all these terms even mean?

A “spa” is the umbrella term for the services in a salon. Sometimes, they refer to the salon itself.

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You’ll be surprised to know that manicures and pedicures are considered a form of spa too!

2. All these fancy spa names… what am I REALLY getting?

When doing research on spa menus, many might get turned off from the lengthy descriptions that say little about what the spa is for. Some might even get enticed by the flowery narrative, only to find the actual service was far from expectations. Here are some general rules to find a suitable spa:

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3. Is opting for “organic” or “natural” any different?

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This is a very legitimate concern, especially when “organic” spas are able to charge a premium for their unique ingredients.

The answer to that question: yes, and no. Some people swear by organic treatments because they feel it works better for them, or simply because they want to avoid potential harmful chemicals on their faces. At the other end of the spectrum, there are others who are allergic to natural ingredients like plant extracts and such treatments. If you have any worries, speak to your therapist about the ingredients used.

4. I’m worried about being badgered to sign a package!

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Salons who are confident with their services usually don’t do hard selling, but if you’re still worried, here’s a tried-and-tested formula (by this writer’s mother). Research on the price of a session you intend to go for, and only bring that amount of money for it. Do without your bag and wallet; just a small pouch with cash. You’ll be sending a clear message that you don’t have cash or cards to sign up for packages that day!

5. How would I know if a spa I’m trying for the first time is good?

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Salons usually have a package where customers get a “taste menu” of their best offerings – try to go for those to have a feel of their overall service. An alternative would be to pick out a spa of a similar variety as compared to previous ones you’ve done, so you get to benchmark the experiences to each other.

Jazreel Low, founder of Aramsa The Garden Spa also highlights that the therapist is a very important factor. “A massage is a very personal experience. Once you find a very good therapist, it is almost certain that you will want to create that experience again the next time,” she says. This is why some of Aramsa’s clients, after meeting a therapist that they like, tend to stick to the same therapist for their subsequent treatments. You should, therefore, consider sticking to a spa based on the service level of the therapist.