SPA Dictionary

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Acupressure: Traditional Chinese system of healing based on pressure-point massage used to stimulate energy flow in the body and release muscle tension.

Acupuncture: Traditional Chinese healing technique based on inserting small needles into energy points (meridians) throughout the body to stimulate energy flow. Used to treat underlying causes of vairous conditions and to correct organ imbalances.

Aerobics: An exercise performed with music which helps to increase the capacity of the heart and lungs.

Alexander Technique: Method of educating the mind and body to improve movement. The system designed to improve the way we sit, stand and move in our daily routine. It helps to relieve and prevent pain and stress.

Aloe vera: This plant, which is also known as aloe barbadensis, is colloquially called the first-aid plant. There are many species of aloe vera and it is indigenous to South America. The liquid inside the plant contains a large amount of water, aloins, sterols, albumin, and other essential oil, used medicinally for many purposes.

Algotherapy: The use of seaweed in baths as part of Thalassotherapy.

Amino acids: It is body’s protein building blocks. There are 22 amino acids, 8 of which cannot be made by the body and need to replaced in a diet. They are commonly used as emollients and moisturizers in many skin products, and are thought to help the basic products penetrate the skin.

Arnica: This herb is usually found in the Northern Hemisphere. It is applied externally to treat bruising. Taken orally it helps to reduce bruising in patients having surgery.

Anaerobic: It is an opposite of aerobic exercise. Consisting of weightlifting and bodybuilding, it involves muscular work that causes the body to use more oxygen than it takes in.

Anti-aging: Treatment or product that helps to slow down the aging process.

Aqua Aerobics: Aerobic exercises performed in a pool using the support and resistance of the water burn fat, strengthen bones, and increase cardio health.

Aromatherapy: The practice of stimulating the senses with fragrance by using natural essential oils. It is applied in different treatments such as massage, facials, body wraps, or hydrobaths. Aromatherapy refreshes and relaxes the skin.

Ayurvedic: An ancient Indian treatment that utilizes the curative properties of plants, herbs and essential oils to improve the skin’s health and relieve the stress, tension or emotion of daily life. Ayurvedic massage  is meant to release toxins, invigorate, and relax. Uses massage oils chosen  to balance a person’s body qualities. Balancing it is the basis of the ancient Indian system of Ayurvedic medicine.  It incorporates nutrition, herbal medicine, aromatherapy, massage, and meditation. 


Balneotherapy: The use of water to improve circulation, strenghten the immune system and revitalize the body. Since antiquity, balneotherapy has been used fo the body restoration procedures. It is also a field of study that is truly ancient and has been accepted as part of education in medical schools worldwide, particularly in Europe and Asia.

Bindi: Bodywork combining exfoliation, herbal treatment, and light massage.

Bioenergetics: An energy exchange between the giver and receiver of massage.

Biofeedback: Treatment method that uses real time measurements of physiological functions in order to help people to consciously control them. It is used to treat pain, high blood pressure, epilepsy, headaches, and other dysfunctions.

Body-lifting: A non surgical facial treatment performed with galvanic stimulation.

Body Conditioning: A special exercise program that focuses on overall conditioning of the body, which combine exercises for strength and flexibility and use both strength training equipment and floor exercises.

Body Polish: A gentle massaging of the skin with marine or botanical extracts for smoothness. The treatment is similar to a salt glow.

Body sculpting: Fitness program that uses weight, flexibility, and endurance training to shape hips, thighs, upper arms, and buttocks without creating bulk.

Body Wrap: Treatment in which strips of cloth are filled with herbal teas and wraped around the body.

Botanicals: Plant extract used in hair of skin products.

Botox Injection: Usually available at medi-spas, it relaxes  muscles to soften wrinkles on the forehead, eye area and neck.

Brush & Tone: Dry brushing of the skin to remove dead layers while stimulate blood circulation. It is used as a pretreatment for mud and seaweed body masks. 


Caldarium: Hottest room in ancient Roman baths where people would soak in steaming water. Recent versions of caldarium may not have a pool of hot water, but most of them will use humidity or steam, sometimes infused with oils.

Capoeira: Combination of dance, boxing, acrobatics, and martial arts which was invented by Brazilian slaves. Most popular in South America, but recently popularized in United States and Europe.

Casino Spas: Spas who also have a casino on premises. These spas tend to be very luxurious and often do not admit guests under 18.

Cathiodermie: The use of low voltage electric stimulation to revitalize and oxygenate the skin.

Cayce-Reilly Massage: The massage technique which is intensively therapeutic, manipulates tissues and joints, and uses moist heated castor oil.

Cellulite: Buildup of lumpy fat and fibrous tissue that cause dimpling of the skin in the thighs, hips, and buttocks of some women.

Chemical Peel: Facial treatment that temporarily counteracts sun damage and helps dominish scars.

Chi Kung/Chi Kong: Ancient Chinese exercise where breathing and body movement recharge energy and helps to balance it.

Circuit Training: Exercise plan which is performed  on weight resistance equipment to increase mobility, strength, and stamina.

City Spa: Located in urban hotels, these spas sometimes are open only to hotel guests.

Clay mask: It is a deep cleansing treatment for the pores. Usually used as a mixture of different kinds of clays mixed with a creamy base. These clay masks are made for keeping the skin clear, and clogged pores cleaned out.

Club Spa: A facility with primary purpose of fitness, but with daily spa services.

Cocoa butter: Known also as Theobroma oil, it is used to lubricate and soften the skin. Oil comes from the seeds of the cocoa plant and can also be used for other products.

Cold plunge: A combination of circulation-stimulating pool and sauna or steam room sessions.

Collagen therapy: Injection of freeze-dried collagen beneath the skin to fill out wrinkles and lines acquired by stress, sunbathing, or the environment.

Colonic: Intense irrigation of the colon using water, intended to flush trapped debris and prevent the recycling of toxins back into the system.

Compression Wrap: A local treatment for cellulite and fat deposits on arms, legs and buttocks. 

Contouring: A toning of muscles using calisthenics.

Cosmeceuticals:  The combination of cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Cosmeceuticals are cosmetic products with biologically active ingredients purporting to have medical or drug-like benefits. The label applies only to products applied topically, such as creams or lotions. Not recognized by US Food and Drug Administration.

Cranio-sacral therapy: A gentle method of evaluating and enhancing the function of the Cranio-sacral system by balancing the fluid and membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. Used to treat a range of conditions, including stress, insomnia and others. 

Crystal healing: A believe that quartz and other crystals and minerals generate healing energy.

Cybex: Patented exercise equipment used for isokinetic strength training.


Dancercise: Modified dance steps and movements to improve range of motion, endurance, aerobic capacity, flexibility, and strength.

Day Spa: Typically Day Spa provide beauty, health, and therapeutic treatments which can be completed only in one session, which usually last from one hour to one day. Most of the time, these centres do not provide overnight accommodations.

Dead Sea Mud Treatment: Application of mineral rich mud from the Dead Sea to detoxify skin and body and to ease painful symptoms of rheumatism and arthritis.

Deep Muscle Massage: The massage eliminates knots, locked up areas, and emotional blocks in the body due to prolonged stress.

Deep-tissue Massage: Frees congestion of the muscle attachments. Massage method focuses on aligning the deep layers of muscles and connective tissue through kneading and applying slow, intense pressure.

Dermabrasion: Long used to treat scars from acne or trauma as well as fine wrinkling. Treatment are usually supplanted by most of the lasers and topical chemical agents.

Destination Spa: It is a spa whose sole purpose is to provide visitors with lifestyle improvement and health enhancement through professionally administered spa services, physical fitness or educational programming. These places will definetely have on-site accommodation and also offer healthy spa cuisine.

Detoxification: General term which describes a variety of treatments used to cleanse the body of poisons or toxins.

Dry Brush: Procedure using a natural-bristle brush to remove dead skin and impurities while stimulating circulation.

Duo Massage: Massage performed in simultaneously by two therapists.


Ear Candling: A natural procedure for those suffering from wax build-up, swimmer’s ear, itching ears, and allergies. Hollow tapers made of beeswax coated muslin are place gently into the opening of the ear, while the attendant monitors the slow burning of the “candle” while the gentle, slow, warm smoke trickles from the inside of the hollow candle into the ear candle. It helps to loose and comfort the ear, while at the same time creating a mild vacuum to draw out moisture, excess wax, and in some cases, pus from infection.

Ecospa: It is spas set in natural or protected areas that incorporate organic landscape, water conservation, and ecological building design. They usually encourage protection of the natural environment and wildlife.

Effleurage: Massage technique involving quick, long strokes at the beginning and end of a certain treatment.

Electrolysis: A method of lasting hair removal that involves the use of electricity or radio wave energy to damage hair follicles.

Emu oil: It is the oil gathered from a very large bird which cannot fly. They are found to have anti-inflammatory properties which penetrate the skin.

Endermologie: It is a relatively new French massage therapy said to reduce the appearance of cellulite. This is thought to work by helping to break up pockets of fat underneath the subcutaneous area.

Equilibropathy: A method of balancing the body to treat ailments from asthma, migraines, sore muscles, sinus congestion, vertigo and many more common conditions.

Ergometer: Exercise machine designed for muscular contraction.

Essential Oils: Aromatic liquids extracted from grasses, flowers, herbs, shrubs, trees, resins and spices, usually through a process called steam distilation. The oils maitain the odors and tastes, and thus the essence, of the plant they are extracted from.

Esalen Massage: A long, gentle and stroking style of massage.

Estrogen: Generic term for any steroids hormones secreted by the ovaries and placenta. Promotes the development of the female secondary sex characteristics.

European Facial: A skin care procedures which includes deep cleansing, steam, exfoliation and professional massage of the face, shoulders, and chest area, followed by special mask that hydrates the skin.

Exfoliation: Procedure to peel away dry skin cells and removes deeply-trapped secretions that impede oxygenation.

Experience Shower: A shower that evokes natural elements (rain forest, etc) through changes in lighting schemes and water pressure.

Eyebrow Threading: An ancient method to remove hair, developed in the Middle East and Asia. It uses cotton thread to pull out unwanted hair at the root.

Extractions: The manual cleaning of sebum, debris, and dead cells from the pores. 


Facial: Generic term for treatment of skin in the face. It includes massaging, cleansing, toning, steaming, exfoliating, and moisturizing.

Fango Body Treatment: Thermal fango (fango – italian for mud) from Italy is appliead to the entire body to cleanse, release toxins, remineralize, nourish, and soothe the skin.

Feldenkrais: A method is named for its Russian-born originator, Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais. An education-bases system for restoring physical function to a burdened or impaired body. It consist of intensive verbal and touch-therapy workshops.

Feng Shui: Chinese art of arranging buildings, objects, and furniture in optimal positions for achieving a harmonic flow of energy between places and people.

Flotation: Procedure when patients float in tanks filled with sterile water regulated so that its temperature is precisely the same as the body temperature for a sense of buoyancy and weightlessness.

Free Radicals: These are molecules which are formed from various pollutants, smoke, and sun exposure. Free radical molecules can cause significant damage to the skin. Antioxidants serve to diminish the effects of free radicals, mostly used are Vitamin C, E, superoxide dismutase, and certain forms of Vitamin A.

Frigidarium: A special room in ancient Roman baths where bathers plunged into a cold pool of water to refresh and close pore after visiting the warmer areas.

Fruit Acid Wash: A mildly acidic peeling application to the skin, which both lowers the pH of the skin and permits dead cell layers to slough off more easily.

Functional Foods: Foods that have been fortified with herbs, vitamins, minerals, or other supplements.


G5: Percussive hand massage to relax tense muscles.

Glycolic Facial: This breaks down the glue bond that holds dry skin on the face.

Golden Spoons: A unique treatment utilizing gold plated massage spoons with a shape ideally designed for the anatomy of the face. The cold-warm-cold stimulation in a Golden Spoons treatment triggers a natural feedback permitting cells, connective tissues and organs to get a better supply of blood.

Gommage: Cleansing, rehydrating treatment using creams that are applied in long movements.


Hammam (also Turkish Bath): Traditional bath house in the Middle East which involves a series of steam rooms of increasingly elevated temperature, with bathing rituals including a massage, a cold shower, or time in a relaxation area.

Hair Extensions: Synthetic fibers or real human hair that is woven into existing hair to increase length, volume, or color.

Hatha Yoga: Branch of yoga devoted to the physical processes (as opposed to wisdom, meditation, etc. ) and involves breathing and physical exercises.

Heliotherapy: The treatment of disease by exposing the body to the sun’s rays, commonly known as sunbathing for therapeutic use.

Hellerwork: Deep tisue bodywork, stress reduction and movement reeducation.

Henna: Dye from a natural plant substance, mostly used in Middle East to decorate skin as part of ceremonial rituals.

Herbal Wrap: Treatment using strips of cloth soaked in a heated herbal solution to wrap around the body to eliminate impurities, detoxify the body, and induce relaxation.

Herbology: Therapeutic use of herbs in treatments and diet.

Holistic Medicine: System of health care that looks at the entire person, taking into account nutritional, physical, environmental, emotional, social, spiritual and lifestyle values. It treats patiens with natural substances that cause symptons much like those manifested by the ailment, thus stimulating the body to heal itself.

Homeopathy: Form of medicine based on the principe that “like cures like” and it treats patients with minute quantities of natural substances that cause symptons much like those of the disease they are meant to cure.

Hormone Replacement Therapy: Medication containing one or more female hormones used to treat women experiencing symptoms of menopause or amenorrheoa.

Hot Stone Massage: A bodywork involves the use of heated and cooled stones applied to the body in various ways to bring relief to stiff and sore muscles.

Hot Stone Therapy: Relaxing, therapeutic treatment in which dark, smooth stones heated in hot water or hot spring pools are places or stroked with light pressure on various body areas.

Hydration Facial: Utilizes enzymes and hylauronic acids to promote superior hydration of stressed skin cells.

Hydrotherapy: A term for therapeutic procedures where water is being used as a form of treatment by way of jet massages, showers, and baths.

Hypoallergenic: Cosmetic products, alleged by maker to be less allergic among those who are sensitive.


Indian Head Massage: Massage based on Ayurvedic principles that focuses on the face, neck, and shoulders to relieve stress and tension.

Infrared Treatment: A treatment that uses infrared light to mimic sunlight without the exposure to harmful ultraviolet light.

Injectables: A term for fillers with collagen, biological acids, or synthetic compounds that are injected under the skin to eliminate small wrinkles. Results are temporary.

Inhalation Therapy: Steam vapor treatment especially useful for those suffering from impaired respiratory function due to illness or a smoking habit. Vapor can also be mixed with herbal elements, like eucalyptus.

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL): A nonablative photorejuvenation treatment that uses multiple wavelengths of lightto moderate lines and wrinkles or unwanted facial hair.

Interval Training: A combination of high energy exercise followed by low intensity activity.

Iridology: The study of patterns and structures in the iris (colored part of the eye) to diagnose disease. Although the practice is widely disputed, but many holistic professionals claim that response of nerves in the iris corresponds to bodily phenomena.


Jacuzzi: First introduced by Roy Jacuzzi in 1968, today it is the trademarked name for the free-standing whirpool bath.

Japanese Enzyme Bath: The procedure of immersing in wooden tubs, generally filled with a fragrant blend of finely ground cedar, rice ban, and plant enzymes.

Jin Shin Acupressure: It is gentle but deep finger pressure on specifi acu-points to help release physical and emotional tension, assist the immune system, and harmonize the flow of life energy within the body.

Jin Shin Do: An ancient art of harmonizing life energy in the body by placing fingertips on designated areas.

Juice Fast: A short-term diet regimen consisting of only fresh fruit or vegetable juices.


Kinesiology: The study of human movement and how it relates to health. Differs from applied kinesiology, which is a system that aims to diagnose and treat disease throughout the body by testing various muscles.

Kinesthetic Awareness: Sensitivity of the body to movement that contributes to ability to balance and move rhythmically and fluidly.

Kneipp (Kneipp Cure, Kneippism): In the 19th century, Bavarian priest Sebastian Kneipp founded the naturopathic medicine and dedicated his life to harnessing the healing power of water, specific plants and herbs. He is considered to be one of pioneers of holistic healing. The town where he lived and studied, today is devoted to Kneipp’s philosophy and almost every hotel and guest house of Bad Worishofen offers treatments of the well known “Kneipp Cure”. The four core elements of Kneipp healing techniques are plants, water, exercise, and nutrition. Popular bath and body products are still manufactured and available at better department stoes and beauty suppliers. Many spas also offer a “Golde Spoons” treatment, which was also created by Sebastian Kneipp (see also Golden Spoons).

Kneipp Bath: Created by holistic teacher and proponent of natural remedies Sebastian Kneipp, the Bath originally involved dips in the icy Danube, but the modern version offers immersion in both warm and cold water, complemented with movement therapies, massage, herbal medicine, and nutrition.

Krauter Bath: Originated in Germany, it is a strong, aromatic herbal bath solution.

Kukui nut oil: Also known as aleurites moluccana, it is an oil extracted from this tropically found tree, which is used to make soap. Hawaiians have been using this oil to treat dry skin, psoriasis, and other skin problems.

Kur: German word for “cure”. It is a planned course of spa treatments typically involving soaking in mineral waters, mud baths, body wraps, and massage. The “kur”process may last from 10 to 20 days.


Lactid Acid: A naturally occuring substance in the skin and is produced by muscles during the work out. The most common acids used in skin care are lactic and glycolic acid.

LaStone (Hot Stone) Therapy: The use of heated and cooled stones for relaxing, therapeutic treatment. They are usually placed or stroked with light pressure on areas of the body such as back, in the palms, and between the toes.

Labyrinth Walking: Following a man-made, spiral pattern  path to meditate, focus, and calm the mind.

Laconium: A hot room in ancient Roman baths with low humidity. It is milder than a Finnish sauna.

Lomilomi: Hawaiian massage technique derived from ancient Polynesian cultures which uses energy in the form of waves. The therapist uses long, broad strokes and rocking movements, and may even walk on client’s back.

Loofah Scrub: Brisk rubbing with a Loofah, a vegetable from the gourd family, sponge to exfoliate the skin. Extensively used in Europe and Asia.

Low Impact Aerobics: A type of aerobics without jumping.

Lulur: Body treatment that typically involves a coconut oil massage, exfoliation with a mix of rice and fragrant herbs,  and a floral bath. The treatment is followed by a hot shower and yogurt mix wiped over the body.

Lycopene: The substance that makes tomatoes red, it is also a powerful antioxidant. Used to help prevent aging and even some form of cancer and heart disease.

Lymphatic Drainage: Therapeutic massage technique devoted to increase circulation and drain tapped water from the body through the lymphatic system. It is non-evasive and used to reduce swelling, detoxify, regenerate tissue, and relieve pain.


Massage: Manipulation of tissues, usually manualy, to improve health and wellbeing by relaxing muscles and improving circulation. There are over ū0 types of massage in use today.

Medical Spa: Institutions comprised of medical and spa professionals whose primary purpose is to provide  comprehensive medical and wellness care together with other spa services.

Medical Tourism: Practice of travelling to a medical facility in other country to seek quality, yet less expensive, health care services.

Meditation: The use of mental skills to perform various practices, like focusing attention on a single object for a long period of time. Meditation is believed to increase emotional wellbeing and to have alleged benefits to physical health.

Microdermabrasion: Facial exfoliation procedure during which the top layer of skin is abraded away with crystals of aluminum oxide or other ingredients.

Mineral Spring: A source of thermal water filled with naturally occuring elements from surrounding soil, sand, and rocks.

Mineral Springs Spa: A spa offering an on-site source of natural mineral, thermal or seawater for hydrotherapy treatments.

Mocktail: Non-alcoholic drink made from fresh fruits and vegetables.

Moor Mud Treatment: Formed thousand years ago, Moor Mud, harvested from a moor or peat marsh, is a complete nourishing matter with over 800 plants, proteins, and minerals. Treatments remineralize, hydrate and exfoliate the skin.

Mud Treatment: Mineral-rich mud used to detoxify the body, loosen muscles, and stimulate circulation.


Naturopathy: Holistic medical system based on natural healing treatments using plants and flowers. It focuses on prevention and treating causes, not symptoms.

Neuromuscular Integration: Body work and exercise system that focuses on the interaction between the central nervous system and the muscles.

NIA (Neuromuscular Integrative Action): A form of exercise that encourages free expression and combines martials arts, yoga, dance, and various cultural practices.


Onsen: A Japanese hot spring. In Japanese Bathing tradition the hot spring water is usually piped into a bathing facility.

Organic: Food produced without the use of chemicals in any fashion with only the use of fertilizers of plant or animal origin.

Osteoporosis: Progressive disease in which bones become weaker.

Oxygen Facial: Treatment in which after cleansing, steaming and exfoliation, face is sprayed with ozone. It increases circulation and creates a warm, healthy glow.


Parafango: Volcanic mud mixed with paraffin wax to alleviate aches and pains caused by rheumatism and arthritis.

Paraffin Mud Treatment: Mud mixed with paraffin to provide the benefits of both mud and paraffin.

Paraffin Treatment: A treatment when a melted paraffin is applied to the skin to trap heat, absorb toxins, and induce relaxation.

Paraffin Wrap: A process of removing dead skin cells with hot oil and Japanese dry brushing techniques. After that an emollient was is applied all over the body for an intense hydrating.

Parcourse: An outdoors fitness and exercise trail consisting of several “stops”at which one performs recommended exercise, before moving to the next. Some stops might be simple, while others may require more comprehensive exercises.

Perfector Therapy: The use of low current that send electrical impulses to the muscles to stimulate them and lead to cell regeneration or toxin removal.

Pfrimmer Deep Muscles Therapy: The type of massage that eliminates knots, locked up areas, and emotional blocks in the body due to prolonged stress.

Phytotherapy: Healing through plants with the use of herbs, aromatic essential oils, seaweeds and floral extracts.

Photo Rejuvenation: Series of laser treatments that stimulate new collagen, smoot fine wrinkles, and diminish the appearance of age spots.

Pilates: Conditioning program of the body meant to increase flexibility and strength with a system of controlled exercises. Can be performed either on a mat or on specially designed equipment.

Polarity Massage: Therapeutic, relaxing treatment which involves hands put along the energy meridians, stretching, and light rocking to bring the body’s energy into balance.

Polish: A process of using sea sponges to cleanse, hydrate, and soften the body.

Poultice: Consisting of a paste-like substance, poultices are a long-standing traditional remedy used most often to relieve swelling and inflammation between layers of cloth.

Portion-Controlled Meals: A special weight loss program used to limit the amount of calories consumed.

Power Walking: Energetic form of fast walking to maintain cardiovascular health and burn calories.

Power Yoga: Energetic workout involving a sequence of postures that flow into one another and emphasize building body heat and breaching mindfully.

Practitioner: Someone who administers spa or medical therapies on a professional level.

Pressotherapy: Treatment with pressure cuffs to increase the blood circulation in the feet.

Primordial Sound Meditation: An ancient Vedic meditation technique which is practiced in silence and uses a personal sound matra to achieve deep peace, balance, and harmony.


Qigong (Chi Kong, Chi Kung): A group of Chinese self-healing exercises where breathing and body movement recharge energy. 


Rasul (Rassoul): Traditional Oriental cleansing ceremony involving a cleansing seaweed soap shower, mineral rich Moroccan mud, and an invigorating herbal steam bath. It is followed by relaxation in a steam room.

Reflexology: An ancient Chinese technique that use pressure-point massage, usually on the feet but also on the hands and ears, to restore the flow of energy throughout the body.

Reiki: The Japanese art of balancing the body’s energy on a physical and emotional level to promote deep relaxation, stress reduction, and well-being.

Relaxation Response: A simple form of meditation that encourages a restful physical state.

Repaichage (Repichage): Full body treatment that uses a combination of clay, herbs, seaweed, and mud to cleanse and moisturize.

Resort Spa: A spa located within a resort or hotel providing a wide range of spa treatments on-site and also offering such activities as golf, tennis, skiing, water sports and other.

Restorative Yoga: Passive yoga poses meant to encourage relaxation and release tension in the muscles and spine.

Rolfing: Very intense, and at times very painful, deep tissue massage that improves balance and flexibility. Intended to relieve stress and improve energy.

Roman Bath: Also known as thermae it is a facility of hot, warm, and cold pools and room where ancient Romans would go to bath and socialize. (See also caldarium, frigidarium, laconium, and tepidarium).


Saint-John’s-Wort: Herb taken in tablet or brewed as tea believed by some to relieve moderate depression.

Salicylic Acid: Occurs naturally in many plants, however can also be synthetically made. Used as antiseptic agent and skin sloughing ingredient.

Salt Glow: Body treatment in which skin is rubbed with coarse salt to remove the top layer of dead skin and stimulate circulation.

Sauna: Dry heated wooden room designed to promote sweating and boost circulation. Sometimes followed by a shower or a dip in a pool to cool off. The most popular is Finnish sauna, heated by hot rocks, but other cultures also have similar concepts of baths, like Turkish hammams, Roman laconiums and caldariums.

Sclerotherapy: A procedure in which a solution is injected into veins to eliminate varicose veins and superficial telangiectasias.

Scotch Hose Massage: Water massage received while standing through high-pressure hose used by a therapist to spray strong jets of hot and cold water.

Seaweed Wraps: A wrap of concentrated seawater and seaweed that contains nutrients including minerals, rare trace elements, and vitamins to revitalize the sking and the body. Used to detoxify, increase circulation, and improve appearance of cellulite.

Sensory-Deprivation Flotation Capsule: Closed tank filled with warm water and Epsom salts to create a dark, peaceful environment and promote total relaxation.

Shea Butter: It is natural fat from the Karite tree used as a therapeutic emollient to heal dry, cracked, aged and damaged skin. Shea Butter is rich in Vitamins A and E and is easily absorbed by the skin.

Shiatsu: Japanese acuppresure massage, in which pressure is applied to specific points of the body to stimulate and unblock the meridians (pathways through which energy is said to flow).

Shirodhara: Ayurvedic treatment lasting from 7 to 10 minutes during which oil is poured on forehead in order to help focus and relax mind and body.

Sleep Health Therapy: Treatments and procedures specifically designed to improve the quality of sleeping. 

Spa: There are many different theories about the origin of the word “spa”, however two are the most popular. First one claims that it came from the Latin term “Sanum per Aqua” (health through water) or “Sanus Per Aqua” (“cure of water”). This is very unlikely, because the derivation doesn’t appear in any sources before the early 21st century, nor does it match the known Roman name for the location. Second theory is more likely and it claims that the word is derived from the name of the town of Spa, Belgium, whose name is known back to Roman times.  The town is famous for healing waters. Today the word means a place devoted to enhancing overall well-being with professional services.

Spinning: Performing a series of exercises while seated on special exercise bikes.

Sports Massage: Deep muscle massage directed specifically at the muscles used in athletic activities. It combines classical Swedish style with trigger points, compression and eletro-neuromuscular techniques.

Sports Spa: Hotel or resort offering therapeutic baths, body treatment together with special sports programs. It includes anything from golf to marathon.

Steam Room: Room in which steam is generated at high pressure and temperature. It helps to clean the pores, soften the skin, calm the nervous system, and relieve tension.

Step Aerobics: Low-impact Aerobic sessions performed by stepping on small platform up and down to tone hips, legs, and buttocks.

Stress Management: Combination of physical exercise and deep relaxation techniques to combat the effects of stress on the body.

Stretching: Extending and lengthening muscles slowly by assuming different positions when hitting resistance. Helps to increase flexibility, relieve stress and eliminate tension.

Structured Spa: A spa with a strict rules whose entire facility is dedicated to only one goal, like weight loss, smoking cessation, or fitness.

Sugaring: An ancient depilation process when a  warm mixture of sugar, lemon and water is used for removal of hair from the eyebrows, upper lip, bikini area, legs and underarms. Like waxing, but less painful, it removes hair at the root so the skin stays smoother longer.

Swedish Massage: A classical European massage technique performed with special oils by therapeutic stroking and kneading muscle tissue to promote stress relief. It combines three basic strokes to the skin: long, firm strokes, kneading strokes, and small circles and helps to increase soothe tense muscles, circulation and flexibility, and de-stress.

Sweat Lodge: Traditional Native American sauna-like place for ceremonial purification.

Swiss Shower: Powerful shower jets directed at the body from various heights and alternating hot and cold water to stimulate an invigorating massage.



Tai Chi: Chinese martial art that combines mental concentration, slow respiration and graceful movements. Used to reduce stress and improve flexibility, energy, strength, and well-being.

Temazcal: Ancient steam bath used by indigenous Mexican and Central Americans made of a domelike structure built around a pit where water is poured over hot rocks. Sometimes herbs were placed on the rocks to create  aromatic steam.

Tepidarium: Warm room in ancient Roman bath complex to prepare for bathing. Modern version usually is a heated lounge area with comfortable furniture.

Thai Massage: Full body treatment that involve passive stretching and pressure-point massage. The technique is applied through clothing without oils and helps to release blocked energy, relieve tension, and increase flexibility.

Thalassotherapy: The use of sea products, like seawater, seaweed, and other natural elements from the ocean, to detoxify, exfoliate, and hydrate.

Thalassotherapy Massage:  A massage using seaweed oil.

Trager Massage: A technique developed by boxing trainer Milton Trager that involves rhythmic rocking and shaking movements to relieve joint tension, ease movement, and induce relaxation.

Tui Na: An ancient Chinese therapy used to balance body’s flow of energy, flush toxins, and treat specific ailments with massage and acupressure techniques.

Turkish Bath (also Hammam): Bathing procedure that involves visiting a series of steam rooms of increasing elevated temperature.

T-Zone: The T shaped oily area generally extending across forehead and down the nose.


Ultrasound: Spa treatments that use low-frequency sound waves to promote rejuvenation by causing friction beneath the surface of the skin.

Underwater Massage: The massage that is being performed while client lies relaxed in a large tub of warm water. It features the benefits of warm water relaxing effect applied at variable force on the muscles, particularly on deep-lying muscle layers. 


Vegan: Vegetarian who eliminates dairy products or any other food derived from animals  from daily diet.

Vegetarian: A person that practices following plant-based diets, with or without the inclusion of dairy products or eggs, and with the exlusion of meat.

Vichy Shower: A shower treatment, usually offered after a body wraps or scrub, in which jets of water spray from above and below. Inspired by treatments in the French thermal spa city of Vichy.

Vinotherapy (Vinotherapie): Skin treatment that use the residue of wine making (the pips and pulp) in a variety of scrubs, baths, and masks. It is said to have excellent exfoliating qualities and help reduce the ageing problems. The term “vinotherapie” is trademarked by the beauty products company Caudalie.

Vodder Massage: A manual lymph drainage massage.


Watsu: Combining the words water and shiatsu, this relaxing, back-to-the-womb experience is designed to release tension, boost energy and remove blockages from the body’s energy channels. The massage is performed in a warm pool in which a therapist supports the client and administers rhythmic movements.

Waxing: The removal of unwanted body hair with hot wax.

Weight Training (Weight Lifting): Aerobic exercises that use free weights or weight machines to both tone the body and add or replace lean muscle mass.

Wellness: The state of being in good health, including physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional components.

Whirpool: A tub of hot water equipped with hydrojets and automated air vents to soothe muscle tension, aches, and pains with stream of heated water from the sides and bottom.


Yoga: Oriental practice that uses special positions (asana) and breath control to stretch and tone the body and improve circulation. It is aimed at self-development and self-realization.


Zen: Japanese teaching, originated in China during the 6th century, whose belief is that the only path to enlightenment and self-realization is through meditation and dharma practice.