Spa Dictionary

from the Spa Business Association (mildly edited from Technical Bath Glossary)
  • Acupressure - An ancient form of Chinese medicine using finger tip pressure on the meridian points of the body to channel energy
  • Aerobics - Exercise regime set to music to increase blood circulation and increase the aerobic capacity of the hear and lungs.
  • Affusion Shower - Relaxing shower of warm droplets of water, sea water, mineral or aromatics, whilst lying on a couch. A lymph drainage massage can also be given.
  • Ai Chi - Created using a combination of Eastern and Western methods of Tai-Chi, Shiatsu and aquatic exercise to stimulate both the mind and body.
  • Alexander Technique - A massage system created to correct physical habits of posture that cause stress.
  • Algotherapy - The therapeutic use of algae or marine based products to detoxify, rebalance and relax the body.
  • Aqua Aerobics - Gentle gymnastics in the water, sometimes using water jets to increase resistance and tone up muscles.
  • Aromatherapy - An ancient therapeutic practice of utilizing essential oils from plants, leaves, bark, roots, seeds, resins and flowers used in pressure point massage, hydrotherapy, face and body treatments.
  • Aslan Therapy - Developed in Romania, Gerovital HL or Aslavital drug therapy used for their regenerative effect in fighting the aging process.
  • Ayurveda - An ancient Eastern Indian philosophy and practice of traditional folk medicine using herbs, aromatherapy, nutrition, massage and meditation to create a balance between the mind and body.
  • Bach Flower Remedies - Invented by Dr Edward Bach each plant and flower extract is devised to address a particular emotional condition and promote healing.
  • Balneotherapy - Water therapy treatments using mineral, sea or hot springs water to alleviate stresses and strains within the body
  • Basti - Ayurvedic herbal purification treatment
  • Bindi - Body Treatment combining exfoliation, herbal treatments and light massage
  • Body Composition Analysis - A method used to determine the ration of body fat to lean muscle
  • Body Scrub - (exfoliation) Exfoliation of dead skin cells using various combinations of sea salt, essential oils, water, skin brush or loofah to massage the body and leave the skin silky soft.
  • Body Sugaring - Ancient practice of hair removal using a sugar paste.
  • Bowen Technique - A light and gentle touch therapy to aid self healing. A truly holistic treatment invented by Tom Bowen of Australia in the 1950's
  • Boxercise - Exercise based on boxing techniques.
  • Breema Bodywork - the practice of Breema, from the mountains for Kurdistan, is designed to create harmony and to balance the body and mind.
  • Brine Baths - Water that is saturated with salt (sodium Chloride), similar to the sea. Ideal for floatation.
  • Brossage - A fine body polish using salicylic salt and brushes that literally leaves the skin glowing, soft and silky
  • Brush and Tone - A stimulating body exfoliating treatment using skin brushes, to increase the circulation as a pre body envelopment treatment or followed by a hydrating oil or cream massage.
  • Caldarium - An aromatic steam room
  • Cathiodermie - A rejuvenating skin treatment using galvanic and high frequency currents of electrical stimulation in a low voltage dose to deep cleanse and improve circulation
  • Celtic Roman Bath - A sequence of hot and cold baths, showers and pools combined with heat and steam rooms
  • Chiropractic - The realignment of the spine and bone/body mechanics in order to relieve backache and postural problems
  • Circuit Training - Exercise regime using a series of weight training devices combining the resistance with aerobics
  • Cold Plunge - Deep cold water pool to stimulate blood circulation and rapidly cool the body, especially after a sauna.
  • Colonic Irrigation - Water cleansing of the colon to help detoxify the body.
  • Colour Analysis - An analysis of colours to suit and complement you skin shades. To determine whether you are a spring, summer, autumn or winter colour type.
  • Colour Healing - An ancient philosophy of the vibration of colour that attracts a similar vibration in the human body.
  • Cranio-sacral Therapy - Discovered in the early 1900's by Dr William Sutherland it is based upon the premise that the movement of the skull bones results in different tidal motions in the body which directly reflects the state of health of the bodily systems, mental and emotional states. The treatment will consist of the therapist placing their hands lightly on the client's head or sacrum and 'feeling' for the blockages.
  • Crenotherapy - Any treatment incorporating mineral water, mud and vapour.
  • Cross Learning - Alternating high and low stress exercises or sports to enhance mental and physical conditioning.
  • Cryotherapy - The use of very cold or frozen products to vaso-constrict the skin and muscle and create a lift in the skin
  • Crystal Healing - The use of crystals to draw out an imbalanced energy from the body.
  • Dancercise - Aerobic exercise routine derived from modern dance.
  • Dead Sea Mud Therapy - Applications of a mineral rich mud from the Dead Sea to detoxify the skin and body.
  • Deep (Tissue) Muscle Massage - A deep muscle massage to help realign the body and give freedom of movement.
  • Doshas - Ayurvedic body functions. Vata for blood, circulation and healing, Pitta for heat and metabolism, and Kapha for the structure of one's spiritual and philosophical self.
  • Dulse Scrub - Exfoliating body scrub with a mixture of Dulse seaweed (sometimes in powder form), oil and water to deep cleanse and re-mineralize the skin. The skin is gently massaged, leaving skin smooth. A very relaxing treatment. 
Duo Massage Synchronous massage performed by two therapists.
  • Edermologie - A French massage therapy that reduces the appearance of cellulite.
  • Esalen Massage - A massage technique creased from the Esalen Institute in California, that combines Swedish and sensory relaxation techniques to release muscle tension and harmonize the whole body.
  • Exfoliation - The removal of dead skin cells by either products, loofah rub, or body brush.
  • Fango Therapy - Highly mineralized mud, rich in nutrients to deep cleanse, purify and revitalize the skin.
  • Flexercise - Stretching and toning exercises to increase flexibility.
  • Floatation Tank - The combination of a darkened room and a shallow pool of Salt or Epsom salt to enable the body to float which induces deep relaxation.
  • Golden Needles - An anti-wrinkle facial programme at Clinic La Prairie. The insertion of golden needles to stimulate blood circulation and strengthen relaxed muscles.
  • Golden Spoons - Alternating hot and cold 23 karat gold plated spoons on the face to stimulate circulation and help the absorption of creams and lotions.
  • Hamman - Turkish or Middle Eastern communal bath house.
  • Haysack Wrap - Kneipp treatment using steamed organic alpine hay to detoxify the body.
  • Hellerwork - Joseph Heller devised a program of eleven 90 minute sessions of deep tissue bodywork and movement to realign the body and release chronic tension and stress.
  • Herbal Wrap - The body is wrapped in herb soaked hot linen sheets and then covered in blankets. A cool compress is applied to the forehead. Herbal wraps help relax the muscles, detoxify and soften the skin.
  • Hot Spring - A natural, sometime volcanic, spring of hot mineral water.
  • Hot Tub - A wooden tub of hot or cool water to soak the body.
  • Hydro Massage - An underwater massage in a hydro bath equipped with high pressure jets and hand manipulated hose to stimulate the blood and lymphatic circulations.
  • Hydro Pool - A pool equipped with various high pressure jets, air beds and neck fountains.
  • Hydrotherapy - Term meaning and therapeutic use of water.
  • Hydrotherm - A massage technique using a cushion of warm water beneath the clients and involves a pulling rather than a pushing action. Clients usually lie on their back and therefore it is particularly suitable for those who cannot lie on their stomachs to receive a massage such as pregnant women or those with back problems.
  • Indian Head Massage - Also known as Champissage, this ancient technique involves the massage and rubbing of the whole head and scalp area as well as the neck and shoulders. It is amongst the best stress-relieving techniques and client will often fall asleep during a treatment. It can be performed anywhere as no clothing need be removed. It can be combines with Chakra cleansing and essential oils.
  • Infra-Red Treatment - A heat treatment to aid muscular relaxation.
  • Inhalation Therapy - Treatments involving the inhalation of steam vapour combined with essential oils.
  • Iridology - the study of the Iris of the eye to determine information about bodily health.
  • Japanese Enzyme Bath - Relaxing and detoxifying treatment in a wooden tub filled with fragrant blends of cedar fibres and Japanese plant enzymes, which stimulate the circulation. You are served a refreshing hot enzyme tea.
  • Japanese Facial - Energizing technique, to stimulate the accupressure points on the face and scalp.
  • Jin Shin Do - A form of energy balancing massage.
  • Jinn Shin Jyutsu - A form of energy balancing massage.
  • Jungian Therapy - Therapy based on the work of Carl G Jung that focuses on the realization of personality. Exploring the subconscious.
  • Kinesiology - Diagnosis and treatment of a disease through muscle testing.
  • Kirlian Photography - A special photographic technique that shows the energy field surrounding the body.
  • Kneipp Baths - Herbal / mineral baths of varying temperatures combined with diet and exercise.
  • Kneipp Kur System - The Five Pillars of Kneipp - Hydro, Phyto, Kinesi, Dietetic and Regulative. Treatments combining hydrotherapy, herbology and a diet of natural foods developed by Father Sebastian Kneipp to achieve physical and emotional well being.
  • La Stone Therapy - Heated smooth lava stones and frozen marble stones are placed on the body and used during a gentle massage. The result is a deep intense massage therapy.
  • Laconium - An evenly distributed dry heat room.
  • Lap Pool - A shallow swimming pool with exercise lanes.
  • Liquid Balancing - Floating in salt water at body temperature.
  • Liquid Sound - Light music under and above water for relaxation and visualization.
  • Lomi - Lomi - Hawaiian rhythmical, rocking massage.
  • Loofah Body Scrub - Dried plant used as a friction massage to exfoliate the body.
  • Lymphatic Drainage Massage - A therapeutic massage using a gentle pumping technique to reduce pockets of water retention. Lymph drainage can be achieved through manual, hydro or aromatherapy massage.
  • Mandala - A mandala consists of a series of concentric forms, suggestive of a passage between different dimensions.
  • Mariel A form of energy balancing massage.
  • Marine Hydrotherapy - A form of thalassotherapy bath / shower, where water jets massage the body.
  • Massage Therapies - Different massage therapies have evolved throughout the world over many centuries, for stress, muscle and tissue relaxation as well as manipulation of skin, muscle and joints.
  • Meditation - A form of focusing on a specific thought, memory and breathing which encourages the body to relax and achieve a greater sense of inner balance and peace.
  • Meridian Therapies - The concept of Meridians is the cornerstone of Chinese therapies. Meridians are the channels through which energy flows around the body. By exerting pressure or stimulating (as in acupuncture), particular points along the Meridian lines the energies can be rebalanced.
  • Metamorphic Technique - Used a catalyst to unlock the life force of each individual. By using light touch to the spinal reflex points on the hands, feet and head the practitioner helps to release blocked energy.
  • Mineral Water Bath - Soaking in hot or cold mineral spring water.
  • Moor Peat Bath - A natural peat, rich in organic matter, used to ease pains and stiffness.
  • Morphology - Specialized form of massage with essential oils that target the digestive areas.
  • Moxibustion - A Chinese medical treatment. Small pyramid-shaped blocks containing herbs, oils and healing plants are burnt over the clients body to aid healing.
  • Naturopathy - The discipline of natural medicine and healing through the power of nature and all natural substances.
  • NIA - Non-impact aerobics - not as rigorous as traditional aerobic exercise.
  • No-Hands Massage - Massage using the arm rather than the hands of the therapist.
  • Nuat Thai - A form of energy balancing massage.
  • Nutrition Counseling - Consultation with a qualified nutritional practitioner to review an individual's eating habits and dietary needs.
  • Oleation - Ayurvedic adapted friction massage treatment using blended essential oils.
  • Onsen - A Japanese natural mineral thermal spring.
  • Oxygen Facials - Oxygen and other nutrients applied to the face to stimulate and reinforce the collagen level of the skin.
  • Ozonized Baths - A tub of thermal water or sea water with a system of jets that provide streams of ozonized bubbles, used for relaxation and stimulation of circulation.
  • Panchakarma - Ayurvedic cleansing and purification treatment using essential oils, massage and meditation.
  • Parafango - Combination of fango mud and paraffin wax to detoxify, heat and exfoliate.
  • Parcours - Outdoor exercise trail with exercise stations along the way provided instructions and equipment for various exercises and obstacles designed to be fun and challenging.
  • Pfrimmer Therapy - Massage technique which works across muscles, manipulating deep tissues, and is aimed at stimulating circulation, and regenerating the lymphatic flow in order to promote detoxification and oxygenation of stagnant tissues.
  • Physiochineitherapy - Therapeutic use of light, heat, electrical and mechanical means to regenerate strength and flexibility.
  • Phytotherapy - Healing treatment through plants, herbs, aromatic essential oils and seaweeds applied through massage, wraps, steam therapies, inhalation and herbal teas.
  • Pilates - Exercise routine of stretching and strengthening the body through coordinated breathing techniques. Improves overall flexibility and body strength without building bulk.
  • Polarity Therapy - A technique of gently rocking, holding and massaging the body, designed to balance the subtle or electromagnetic energy through touch, stretching exercises, diet and mental-emotional balanced attitude.
  • QiGong - (pronounced Chikung) Chinese art related to Tai Chi which seeks to relieve symptoms of excessive unnatural stresses which often contribute to other ailments. Similar to Yoga, participants learn breathing techniques and slow movements.
  • Radon Therapy - A inert gas used in many European Spas as part of a treatment process to stimulate organ functions.
  • Rasul Bath - A cleansing ceremony using different grades of mud from fine, for delicate areas of the body, to deep cleansing, courser muds that are baked on the body whilst sitting on ceramic seats underneath a Planetarium ceiling. A tropical rain shower of warm droplets of water washes the mud away and the treatment is finished with an application of oil.
  • Re-birthing - An extension of Yogic breathing technique combined with guided meditation that allows total relaxation and clearing of the mind.
  • Reflexology - Ancient Egyptian, Chinese and Indian Technique using finger-point pressure on the reflex zones of the feet and hands to restore the flow of energy through the body.
  • Regression Therapy - Healing through being take back to previous states or past experiences.
  • Reiki - A technique of channeling energy to balance the body and stimulate the body's own natural healing capacity.
  • Rolfing - A technique of deep muscular manipulation and massage for the relief of rigid muscles, bones and joints, to relive stress and emotional trauma.
  • Roman Bath - Ancient cleansing sequence of varying water temperatures, heated rooms, mineral pools and relaxation.
  • Rubenfield Synergy Method - A practice developed by Llana Rubenfeld of merging body and mind through verbal expression and gentle touch.
  • Salt Glow - A hydrating and exfoliating treatment consisting of salt, essential oils and water. This followed by shower and body lotion to complete the treatment.
  • Sauna - A Finnish dry heat treatment in a wood-lined room. The heat induces sweating to cleanse the body of impurities.
  • Scotch Hose - Jet Blitz Standing body massage delivered by a therapist with a high pressure hose of alternating warm and cold water to stimulate the circulation and relieve tension.
  • Seaweed Wrap - An envelopment of warm seaweed on the body, wrapped in a heated blanket to remineralise, revitalize and rebalance the body.
  • Shamanism - (Shamanic) Spiritual and natural healing performed by a medicine man.
  • Shiatsu - A Japanese finger pressure technique, working the energy meridians to stimulate the body's inner powers of balance and healing.
  • Shiro Dhara - Ayurvedic treatment of warmed oil slowly poured over the third eye in the centre of the forehead to induce deep relaxation.
  • Sidda Vaidya - Ayurvedic massage treatment using a couch of blended herbs dipped in essential oils and massaged over the body.
  • Siliceous Thermal Bath - Hot Sand Treatment using silica.
  • Sitz Bath - A chair like bath where the hips and lower body are immersed in herbal hot water while the feet are soaking in alternating hot and cold water to stimulate the immune system.
  • Slendisium Body Wrap - A detoxifying body-envelopment treatment using natural oils.
  • Spinal Touch Therapy - Aims to correct the influence of poor spinal posture on the whole body. Measurements will be taken of your spinal alignment before treatment begins. A gentle massage will then take place along your back and a reassessment given at the end of the treatment.
  • Spinning - An aerobic form of exercise using special stationery bicycles.
  • Sports Massage - A deep tissue massage - often around the joints - for treating specific muscle groups.
  • Steam Room - An area of wet hot steam that softens and cleanses the skin and relaxes the body.
  • Stress Management - A programme of meditation and deep relaxation intended to reduce the effects of stress on the system.
  • Structural integration - A system that relieves the patterns of stress and impaired body functioning due to poor posture, chronic and acute conditions (such as lower back pain, or neck and shoulder injuries) through manipulation of deep and superficial connection tissue, plus movement education.
  • Sweat lodge - An ancient Native American body purification ceremony using intense heat, similar to a sauna to stimulate vision and insight.
  • Swedish Massage - Traditional Massage technique created in 1812 by Per Henrik Ling at the University of Stockholm using 5 different movements of massage (known as classical movements) resulting in a firm but gentle pressure.
  • Swiss Shower - Powerful water jets aimed at different parts of the body to create an invigorating massage.
  • Tai Chi (Chaun) - A Chinese Taoist martial art discipline of meditation in movement using slow, controlled deep breathing techniques together with slow graceful physical movements.
  • Thai Herbal Heat Treatment - A traditional herbal massage using Pai root, taramind leaves and essential oils to relax tired muscles.
  • Thai Massage - A vigorous form of massage involving stretching of the client into different positions. The practitioner will use their hands, arms, legs and feet to achieve this end.
  • Thalassotherapy - Therapeutic use of seawater and marine by-products that are rich in minerals and vitamins to restore the balance of the body.
  • Thermo-Auricular Therapy - The use of herbal Hopi Indian ear candles to cleanse the ear. The candles are hollow tubes made from herbs, linen, and honey. These are placed in the ear and lighted. Once removed the ear is massaged. The benefits are said to help a number of conditions affecting the head, ears and sinuses.
  • Traegar Massage - A gentle rhythmic shaking or rocking of the body to release tension from the joints. Developed by Dr Milton Traeger over 65 years ago.
  • Tui Na Massage - Chinese massage which rebalances Chi (QI) energy. Can be done through clothing and combines massage, acupressure and manipulation techniques.
  • Ultra Sound - High frequency sound waves to alleviate pain and discomfort to injured parts of the body.
  • Vertical Reflexology - Also called VRT or the Booth method it works like conventional Reflexology but on the ankle and top of the foot rather than the sole.
  • Vibrational Healing - A combination of colour, light and sound therapy.
  • Vichy Shower - (Affusion shower) Multi-jet shower of varying temperatures and pressures, which are often infused with aromatics that is suspended over a wet table - very relaxing.
  • Vision Quest - Native American tradition and old native culture's rite o passage. A call for a period of time to be alone with nature.
  • Visualisation - A form of light hypnosis used to create a soothing environment for relaxation.
  • Watsu - a method of rhythmic movements, pressure point massage and stretching the body, working with a therapist, in warm water that leads to a state of deep relaxation.
  • Whirlpool - A heated pool with high-pressure jets that circulate the water and relax the body.
  • Yoga - An ancient Hindu discipline comprising focused deep breathing, stretching and toning the body using various positions designed to improve circulation, flexibility and strength. A philosophical approach to balancing the body and mind.
  • Zen Shiatsu - Japanese use of finger accupressure to ease tension, balance the body and unblock and release 'energy channels' producing general well being.
  • Zero Balancing - Developed by Dr Fritz Smith in 1973 it is designed to promote good health and a sense of well-being. Clients begin seated and then move to a reclining position. The practitioner will concentrate on the skeletal system and particularly the joints which will receive a gentle touch. The aim is to create harmony and balance.