Naledi Sande Lifestyle Reporter
What would you do, when you have a fat wallet, nice cars and cinema in your posh house? With all that money can buy, how do you relax? In the circle of the rich and famous, the most ideal way of relaxing is going for a massage at a beauty spa. Victoria Beckham, Katy Perry, Beyonce, Brad Pitt and P. Diddy all share one thing in common; they go to the spa frequently to keep themselves looking and feeling like superstars they are.
Locally, popular names like Wicknell Chivhayo and Pokello Nare have shared their experiences at the spa on social media.
Popular beauty spas in Harare are Amara’s Health Spa in Pomona, Skin Spa and Crystal Spa among a dozen others that are scattered around the city.
According to Europe-mountains.com, wherever the term “spa” came from, examples of water treatments have been famously found in at least two ancient cultures. Thus, the first period in spa history is actually 500 BC, when the ancient Greeks used social baths, as well as hot air baths
A body treatment, spa treatment, or cosmetic treatment is non-medical procedure to help the health of the body. It is often performed at a resort, destination spa, day spa, beauty salon or school.
There is something healthy about taking a break from your ordinary routine and visiting a spa. Whether you are visiting a local one or visiting one on vacation, the spa is sure to bring you plenty of relaxation, comfort, and ease to your life.
Destination: These spas are typically the largest and utilize the most variety of different methods of skin and body rejuvenation. People typically visit these spas as a vacation for 2-3 days.
All aspects of health (nutrition, physical fitness, relaxation, mental, etc) are addressed. In addition, spas of this type will typically offer various health and wellness packages that you can choose from, hence, you will be able to somewhat customize your treatments.
In Zimbabwe these include Victoria Falls Hotel and Meikles Hotel.
Resort: Usually located in hotels, these spas offer short term services like facials, massages, pedicures, manicures and fitness classes. Zimbabwean examples are Amanzi Guest Lodge and Bumi Hills Safari Lodge and Spa.
Day: The most common type of spa. They typically offer the same services as resort spas but generally utilise several different techniques over the course of a day to refresh and revitalise skin.
These are more common in the city. Examples of which are Lee Val’s, Amara’s Health Spa and Radiant Beauty Spa.
Health: These spas focus more on the big picture. Health professionals assist visitors in all aspects of a healthy body through massages and classes.
Medical: Botox injections and Laser resurfacing treatments are typically found at medical spas. Some patients choose to take advantage of the recovery services that these spas usually provide.
Mineral Springs: These spas focus on organic means of refreshing the skin. The use of different types of water is employed for optimal skin health.
Why you should have a spa treatment
Harvestmd.com states that a single treatment can release built up stress. A spa treatment offers a variety of methods to release the build-up of stress in your body, but one of the most common and most popular methods is through massage.
A spa massage is certainly more highly regarded than an ordinary one you might receive from a friend. A spa specialist is trained in the muscles of the body and familiar with stress points and where they can relieve the build-up.
Other people have a spa treatment as part of their doctor’s orders. For those suffering from muscle pain, tension, depression, stress, and high blood pressure, a therapeutic massage can increase circulation and work out those negative areas you have so long kept knotted up in your muscles.
Since there are different types of massages, each one has its own benefit.
During a survey this week, this writer talked to a couple of people whose doctors recommended a spa treatment for health reasons.
Andrew Chikore, a 31-year-old soldier suffered a fractured arm during one of the army’s intense training sessions.
He said after weeks of wearing a plaster, the pain never really went away until he had a few sessions from a beauty spa in Bulawayo.
“There was always a sharp pain whenever I tried moving or carrying heavy things. My doctor encouraged me to have a treatment. A few visits, and now the pain is completely gone.”
After a car accident, Lydia Moyo was left with muscle pain on her entire left side.
“I would feel the pain here and there weeks after the accident. But I went to a full body massage at a spa in Greendale and after that, I never felt any kind of pain,” she said.
Spa treatments also include treatments like stone massages and saunas. These steaming, warm therapy treatments rid the body of toxins, bacteria, pesticides, and micro-organisms through sweat and your body’s internal temperature.
A sauna treatment simply cleanses your pores through the method of perspiration, releasing toxins and impurities.
Another reason to visit the spa is for the facial treatments. Facials enhance relaxation and improve skin problems. They are both relaxing and healthy for the skin. Deep cleansing facials exfoliate and clear pores of any excess oil and filth that may be hiding. After only a few facial treatments, some people may see their acne clear right up.
Most importantly one needs to experience the spa life to forget about the outside world. Whether it is a holiday resort or a day visit, spa etiquette will surely get someone wishing they stayed there forever.
Visits to local spas revealed that the treatment room separates the client from their cellphones and technology. The mere purpose of doing so is a healing experience, the environment the client which includes music, lighting, scent relaxes the mind and body. After a massage one is given time in silence for reflection and mindfulness.
The flip side of it
Nothing that is good comes without its faults. The whole idea of a spa treatment may sound like music to ears but spas are usually expensive.
Few Zimbabweans from the high end take trips to the spa. While spa prices can vary greatly, a single package ranges from $50 to $150.
So, when has the money and wants to relax, a spa is the best place to be. For most, it is only but a dream.
Also, many people with busy schedules cannot find the time to spend in a spa since even the shortest sessions tends to last about 50 minutes.
In addition, although spa employees are professionals, some people are uncomfortable with services like full body scrubs that may require full or partial nudity.
Some people are more sensitive about stripping in the name of a massage.
Patricia Kunaka, manager of Skin Spa, however, says it is all about understanding the procedure.
“When you come to get a massage, you are not going to immediately strip down. One has to understand that it is a massage and there is a procedure to this. It is a matter of understanding what a massage is all about,” she said.
Catherine Dzondora, manager for Radiant Beauty spa said their clientele is more men than women.
“Most men go to work and they need to relax so I think that is why we have more men coming in,” she said.
Lorraine Adams of Amara’s Health Spa said their clientele is balanced. They have diplomats coming in for spa treatments.
Men over women?
Over the years, it has been availed that more men visit the spa more than women.
However, in Zimbabwe it is generally agreed that women still have more trips to the spa than men.
Patricia said that men are not quite comfortable with spa treatments the same way women are.
“Men think it is a feminine thing to do. But I guess it is lack of education.”
A client at a spa identified as Gerald said he enjoys going to there because it is the only place where he can take a break after a long busy week at work.
“I come here for a massage and a steam relaxing because I run a business. It is very stressful so once or twice in a month I come here and spoil myself,” he said.
Another man, who refused to disclose his identity, said his wife cannot give a good massage so he prefers to get it from professionals.
He said, “Sometimes all I want is a foot massage but my wife is not experienced in that department so instead I go to the beauty spa to release the tension in my body.”
Often women come in for the full treatment when they are having a bridal shower or baby shower.
A regular customer at Amara’s, Jackie Dhliwayo said she enjoys getting her pedicure by a professional.
“I love unwinding that way in a nice relaxing and clean environment. And my feet look good afterwards,” she said.
She added how she also loves having a body massage to relieve stress and facials as part of her skin care routine.
“I’m a busy woman and a massage helps me relieve stress related to my busy schedule. It is definitely worthwhile and priceless.”
Meanwhile, it is also a norm in other countries that beauty spas end up not being just that.
Other spas offer more than just a full body massage and have young women offering also their sexual services.
There are also masseurs and masseuses who service clients at home, with massage and sex.
Although it is illegal in Zimbabwe, some adverts in the local press stating “ . . . more than just a body massage . . . ” suggest that some unprofessional spas are fast becoming sex salons.
These spas mostly operate underground where some thigh vendors are beginning to hide behind the salon business just to pump in more money in their purses. Studies have shown that some innocent customers at bogus spas have been victimised by masseurs offering more than just a massage.
On the other hand, some customers have victimised genuine masseurs often demanding sex or other sexual favours.
In Phuket, Asia there are spas that openly offer what is popularly known as “Happy endings” after a massage.
However, most professional spas in the country have kept the processes strictly business and untainted.
Only dubious ones have been overzealous to go the mischievous extra mile.