Top 10 Complimentary Spa Therapies

Top 10 Complimentary Spa Therapies


There are so many spa therapies to be explored, originating from unique practices in countries across the world. Some treatments target specific areas of the body, while others offer full-body or psychological release. A combination of traditional, tailored, and pioneering treatments are now becoming available in spas across the continents, merging eastern and western practices for enhanced wellbeing. Keep reading to discover the top 10 complimentary spa therapies and which spa holidays and retreats you can experience them on!



1. Abhyanga



Abhyanga is a traditional synchronised full body massage given by two therapists using herbal infused sesame oil. It is the most popular massage in Ayurveda, a traditional system of medicine originating from India. Abhyanga is done with warm oil. The oil is applied to the entire body from the scalp to the soles of the feet. The oil is the central component of this treatment; when combined with massage it is thought to promote overall health and wellness. Abhyanga has been practiced for thousands of years and is said to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, improve skin health, reduce muscle stiffness, promote lymphatic drainage and much more.


Best retreats for Abhyanga: Ayurveda Weight Loss at Vilnius Grand Resort, Ayurveda Rejuvenation at Shanti Maurice, Ayurveda at Atmantan Wellness Resort


2. Shirodhara



Shirodhara comes from the two Sanskrit words “shiro” (head) and “dhara” (flow). It is an Ayurvedic healing technique where lukewarm liquid (usually herbal oil) is poured in an even stream onto the forehead to pacify and revitalise the mind and body. It’s often combined with a body, scalp, or head massage. The liquid is heated roughly to body temperature and lands between your eyebrows. Your eyes will be covered for protection. Shirodhara is said to have soothing, relaxing, and calming effects on the mind and body. It is also suggested that Shirodhara may help to reduce stress, lessen anxiety, and improve sleep.


Best retreats for Shirodhara: Body Solution at RAKxa Wellness & Medical Retreat, De-Stress at BodyHoliday, Mindful Triathlon at Santani Wellness Resort & Spa.


3. Thalassotherapy



Thalassotherapy is the use of seawater in cosmetic and health treatment. Though it is defined as a seawater cure, it isn’t limited to the water itself and treatments can include the use of seaweed, mud, sand, and other substances that come from the sea. The salinity of seawater makes it rich in natural minerals that are great for skin purification, detoxifying and pore-refining. The use of heated seawater for therapeutic benefits dates back to the Romans, however, modern thalassotherapy was pioneered in France. Thalassa treatments are designed to cleanse, soothe and revitalise. The benefits of thalassotherapy include pain relief, slimming and toning, skin care, detoxification, improved sleep, and relaxation.


Best retreats for Thalassotherapy: Thalasso Detox at Forte Village, Thalassa Break at Vilalara Longevity Thalassa & Medical Spa, Cleanse & Purify at Marbella Club.


4. Algotherapy



Algotherapy is the use of algae in treatments such as baths, scrubs, wraps, and skincare. Algae are a rich source of carbohydrates, protein, enzymes and fibre. Algae are also abundant in many vitamins and minerals making them a source of essential nutrients. Algae have been a part of traditional medicine in treating a number of ailments since ancient times, especially in China. Primarily, brown seaweeds are used in algotherapy. After being washed and rinsed they are processed and preserved to retain all their active ingredients. Algotherapy is said to detoxify the body, delay symptoms of ageing, reduce cellulite, reduce fatigue, and improve blood circulation.


Best retreat for Algotherapy: Cyprus - Psoriasis at Ayii Anargyri.


5. Watsu



A sister to hydrotherapy and thalassotherapy, Watsu is a form of Shiatsu massage that takes place in water. The term “watsu” comes from the words “water” and “shiatsu”. Shiatsu is a type of traditional Japanese massage that uses acupressure to promote relaxation. Watsu was created in 1980 by a massage therapist called Harold Dull. Dull observed that it was easier for his clients’ muscles to relax in water. During Watsu, your therapist is in the water with you and gently moves your body in specific motions. Watsu therapy is used to relieve pain and discomfort and soothe the body. It is also said to help with anxiety, depression, sleep disorders and joint mobility.


Best retreat for Watsu: Turkey - Sleep & De-stress at Six Senses Kaplankaya.


6. Acupuncture



Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese alternative medicine that uses thin but solid needles inserted into the skin at specific points to relieve pain and various other mental and physical health problems. Acupuncture aims to assist people in achieving balance, or qi. Each acupuncture needle produces a tiny injury at the insertion site. This is a minimally invasive method to stimulate nerve-rich areas of the skin to trigger a bodily response. The body’s response involves stimulation of the immune system, promoting circulation to the area, wound healing, and pain modulation. Acupuncture is said to be able to treat a range of ailments including depression, insomnia, morning sickness, chronic pain, anxiety, allergies, headaches, and cramps.


Best retreats for Acupuncture: Emotional & Physical Transformation Retreat at Euphoria Retreat, Natural Renewal at Chiva-Som International Health Resort, Sleep Well at Lefay Resort & SPA Lago di Garda.


7. Aromatherapy



Aromatherapy is a holistic healing treatment that uses natural plant extracts to promote health and wellbeing. Aromatherapy uses essential oils to achieve different purposes, most commonly relaxation. Essential oils are massaged into the skin which releases aromas that heal through the senses. Each essential oil has an array of uses and effects, your therapist may ask you to smell a few different oils to find out which one most appeals to you. Aromatherapy works through the sense of smell and skin absorption and enhances both physical and emotional health. Aromatherapy is also said to manage pain, improve sleep, reduce stress and anxiety, improve digestion and boost immunity.


Best retreats for Aromatherapy: Ayurveda Aromatherapy at Porto Elounda Golf & Spa Resort, Relax & Pamper at Conrad Algarve, Active Spa at La Palma & Teneguia Princess Vital & Fitness.


8. Cupping



Cupping is a Chinese therapy that uses heated cups to stimulate blood flow by placing them on the skin. This is thought to relieve muscle tension and promote cell repair. Cupping was originally performed using animal horns but nowadays cupping tends to be performed with rounded glass cups. Suction is achieved through heat. When the hot cup cools on your skin it creates a vacuum that draws the skin and muscle upwards into the cup. Your skin may turn red in response to the change in pressure. Cupping is used to treat a variety of conditions but is particularly effective in easing muscle pain and is often a complimentary therapy on medical spa holidays.


Best retreat for Cupping: Holistic Health at Atmantan Wellness Resort


9. Chi Nei Tsang



Often offered as a complimentary spa therapy on emotional healing retreats, Chi Nei Tsang Is an abdominal massage that relieves stress, tension, and negative emotions. The massage technique was developed following the traditional Chinese medicine principles that emotional blockages are physically hosted in the body. This means that emotional pain provokes physical pain. The massage is mainly centred around the abdominal region because the digestive system is believed to be an emotional regulator. Deep and gentle massage techniques are intended to improve the functioning of the abdominal organs. Chi Nei Tsang is said to help detoxify and cleanse internal organs, strengthen the immune system, restore posture, stimulate the lymphatic and circulatory system, and release emotional pain.


Best retreats for Chi Nei Tsang: Immunity & Resilience at Kamalaya, Detox at Porto Elounda Golf & Spa Resort.


10. Hot stone therapy



Hot stone massage uses smooth, rounded basalt stones that have been heated in water to around 130 degrees. They retain heat well which helps to warm up and relax your muscles. Using hot stones with massage balances the energy flow around the body and helps to ease tense muscles and damaged soft tissues. Sometimes cold stones are used after hot stones to calm blood vessels and soothe the skin. Hot stone massage is a popular complimentary spa therapy that’s benefits include; reducing stress and anxiety, improving sleep, boosting immunity and helping to relieve autoimmune conditions such as fibromyalgia.


Best retreats for Hot stone therapy: Detox at Shreyas, Fitness & Wellness at La Palma & Teneguia Princess Vital & Fitness, Pamper at Aphrodite Hills.



Make the most of the complimentary spa treatments on a luxury wellness holiday and be sure to try one of our top 10 therapies - your body will thank you!



Talk to one of our Wellness Travel Specialists on 0203 397 8891 or contact us here to discuss tailor-making your perfect spa holiday.

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