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A Complete Guide to Spa Etiquette

Zini Mehta
Can I choose to have a female therapist? What should I wear to the spa? Should I wax before the session? These questions commonly crop up in our mind before we visit the spa. Don't worry as you will find your answers in this complete guide to spa etiquette.
A visit to the spa is meant to relax and rejuvenate you, but if it's your first time, you might be a little anxious as to what etiquette is expected of you. The following list will remind you of some basic rules that you probably already know.
So, know all about what to wear, what to carry with you, how to tip, whether you should come on an empty stomach and all other dos and don'ts before you visit the spa. Adhere to these rules while you are being pampered to make the most of your visit.


Never be late for your appointment, you do not need to go way in advance either. Ideally, 20-25 minutes before the appointment is appropriate. By going late, you are reducing the time of your session.
Also, by going early you will get consultation time with your therapist. Many spas have various relaxation facilities, check with the spa as to what facilities they have. It's a good idea to go early and get a steam and sauna or maybe swim in the pool and relax, before your session begins.


It is better to take a shower before your treatment. Make sure you take a shower, particularly if you have used the pool, as the chlorine water may interfere with your treatment.
Show some respect to your therapist by maintaining hygiene. You do not want to show up for your treatment all sweaty and dirty. Even if you are running late, talk to your therapist and take a few minutes to rinse off before the spa session.


Do not shave or wax right before your session, it may cause irritation during a massage or any other treatment. Some sessions, such as in a facial treatment, men may be asked to shave. In that case, shave at least 2-3 hours before your spa session.


Eat at least an hour before your treatment, it is not advisable to get a massage done soon after eating. Different therapies may have different requirements.
Check with your therapist if you can eat before the session and if there is anything that you should avoid eating.

Male/Female Therapist

You have the choice to decide whether you would like a male or a female therapist to do your treatment. In case they do not ask you for your choice, do not hesitate to make your preference known.
It is advisable to let them know when you take an appointment itself, as later a therapist of your choice may not be available. It is perfectly normal to be uncomfortable with a therapist of the opposite gender. So, be clear and voice your choice.


The whole purpose of going to a spa is to relax yourself, do not stress over what to wear. You can wear whatever you are comfortable in. Some spas have a dress code, which you will have to adhere to.
Check with the spa, when you make an appointment. During the treatment, you may be expected to be in your birthday suit. However, if you are not comfortable, tell the therapist. Spas are concerned about your comfort and will make suitable arrangements to maintain your modesty.

Jewelry and Other Valuables

You are not supposed to wear any jewelry or accessory during the treatment. Most spas have a locker arrangement where you can keep your jewelry and other valuable items. However, it is best to leave all expensive items at home.


Some spas have a zone for children and may have arrangements for them. Check with your spa, if there is an activity area for children and if there is supervision available. It is possible that a spa may have rules wherein children below a certain age may not be allowed. If possible, leave your kids home to enjoy a relaxing session, without any disturbance.

Cell phone

Talking on your cell phone in the spa is not acceptable. Have the courtesy to maintain peace for other people in the spa. Switch off your phone or keep it on silent mode.
If at all, you need to attend a call, go to the lounge area and speak softly. It is best to leave your mobile phone at home, to avoid any disturbance for you and others in the serene environment of the spa.

Medical Conditions

In case you have any ailment, it is best to let them know, when you make an appointment.
There may be specific treatments available for you according to your condition, also some treatments may not be good for you. To avoid any complications later on, discuss your condition and decide on a treatment that is most suitable for you.


Whether you wish to have a conversation with your therapist during the session or not is completely up to you. Most people would prefer just relaxing while they are getting a massage.
It is not considered rude to be quiet, you can simply tell your therapist that you will be closing your eyes, that way he/she will get the hint. However, do not hesitate to let the therapist know if you are in pain or are feeling uncomfortable.


If you are not happy with the treatment for any reason, it is fine to not give a tip. Otherwise, the tip amount should be about 15% of the treatment price. You can tip the therapist directly or leave it in a gratuity envelope at the reception. Some spas include service charge in the price of the treatment; in that case there is no need to give an extra tip.


If for any reason you have to cancel your appointment at the spa, do so well in advance or else you may be required to pay a certain amount. In case you are sick, it is better to cancel your appointment as you will not be able to relax and also certain treatments may aggravate your condition.
Those were some etiquette that you must observe at the spa. Hope these tips, have removed doubts that you may have had regarding behavior at the spa.
Remember that you do not need to do anything that you are not comfortable with. It is better to voice your discomfort immediately rather than complain later. Most importantly, do not stress yourself, choose the best spa and enjoy your session!