What makes a good spa therapist?

May 9 2013

Summer Spy

3 min read

Good therapist

How much you enjoy your trip to a spa can depend almost entirely on the therapist who gives you your treatments. 

The perfect spa therapist

I liked my therapist. Can I ask for her again?

Will I be able to choose whether I have a male or female therapist?

The perfect spa therapist

A good spa employs well-trained, professional therapists. You can expect a good spa therapist to:

  • greet you, and introduce himself or herself by name
  • be friendly, polite, attentive and professional
  • be clean, fragrant, well presented and appropriately dressed
  • ask you if you have any questions, concerns or worries
  • tell you about the treatment beforehand, and ask how you are during it
  • be sensitive to how much or how little you want to chat during your treatment
  • check on you during the treatment; for example, ask you if the pressure is okay if they're giving you a massage
  • tell you what products they are using, or have used
  • advise you to drink water after any kind of body treatment
  • give you some advice on future personal skin/body care
  • NEVER say, "Right, then, let's get on with it!"

Common complaints we've received at The Good Spa Guide about therapists include:

  • "They were too young and/or inexperienced"
  • "They talked too much -- to me, and to each other; they don't need to know about my holiday plans or Christmas shopping and I certainly haven't come along to hear about their problems"
  • "They didn't tell me anything about the treatment or what they were doing."

People also don't appreciate it when a therapist does a hard sell on the spa's products or lingers obviously at the end of a treatment waiting for a tip.

That said, if you've found a therapist who is sensitive, responsive, calm and competent, no matter how many clients she's seen that day, something extra for that therapist would be welcomed. Appreciate the good ones!

I liked my therapist. Can I ask for her again?

Of course you can. It's always worth asking for a therapist who you know is on the right wavelength for you. If that therapist isn't available, it's possible that the person taking the booking can suggest someone who has a similar outlook.

Will I be able to choose whether I have a male or female therapist?

Many people feel more comfortable having close-contact treatments such as a massage with a therapist of the same gender.

If you're female, you might prefer to have a female therapist. That said, there are some very skilled male masseurs in UK spas, and some women feel that male hands and arms can bring extra pressure to knotted muscles. Some women simply don't care!

Most spas will ask you if you mind if your therapist is male, or tell you in advance. If you feel strongly about having only a female to massage you, let the spa know when you call to book your appointment. Most spas have enough female therapists to adjust the rotas and make sure that you get what you want.

Male therapists are much more common in international spas than in the UK so, if you are booking a spa holiday somewhere exotic, check beforehand or when you get there as to whether you get a choice.

The majority of therapists in the UK are female -- some spas will not have any male therapists at all. If you're male and would prefer to have a male therapist, call the spa to ask if that is possible. Most large towns and cities have spas or grooming salons for men that may be able to oblige.

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Header photo courtesy of Rookery Hall Hotel and Spa, Cheshire.

Spy12

Summer Spy

9th May 2013

Spy Likes:

Warmth and sunshine; spas which take me away to another country; fruit infused waters; beach-worth pedicures; deep tissue massages.

Spy Dislikes:

High footfalls; treatments that over promise and under deliver; heavy lunches; loungers drapped in used towels.

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