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How To Relax At The Salon Or Spa


Kathy Adams Salon Buford, Georgia Stylist: Nicki Hodges Makeup: Melinda Sanford

If you're like me you look forward to a trip to the hairsalon or spa as a relaxing treat that will provide an oasis from ringing phones, IMing or other mind cluttering stresses.

While it sounds great in principle to head to the salon or spa for a relaxing visit, it's not always easy to turn off the stress and strain of daily life and leave it at the front door. I should know, I have squirmed, jiggled, twitched and fidgeted like crazy while trying to enjoy scalp and body massages. I have also gritted my teeth at the shampoo bowl, while my strands were being highlighted and at more than one facial treatment.

Over the years I have learned some tricks to turn stress off so that I could reap the benefits of relaxing spa days and get my money's worth of relaxation.

Listed below are the tricks that you may employ to guarantee the ultimate relaxation at your next hair, skin, nails or body treatment appointments.

Tips For Relaxing At The Salon Or Spa

1. Make sure you book your appointment for a day that is slow for you.

It's crazy to try and squeeze a body relaxing massage into a short lunch break only to lose the benefits in traffic on the way back to the office. Even better, schedule your massage at the very end of the day and have a loved one drive you home so you don't lose your newly relaxed limbs fighting rush hour chaos.

Even better, when possible, book appointments on days and times that the salon or spa is least crowded. Not only can you better relax but your therapist will be less harried and there will be more parking places and less people vying for the restrooms. Usually early in the day is a great time to visit, especially early in the week. When in doubt ask the phone agent when you call.

2. Book with a professional that is calming.

The last thing you need at the salon or spa is a therapist that chatters incessantly, taps their feet or revs up your already stressed psyche. Yes, I have had it happen and I needed tranquilizing aromatherapy to recover from my relaxing scalp massage which was more stressful than before I arrived, thanks to the therapist.

When you book your appointment, if you don't already know the therapists on staff that you can select from, tell the booking agent you want the most calm and laid back person on staff.

3. Arrive at your appointment early so you are not rushing.

Allow plenty of time to arrive at your appointment. Take a few minutes before entering the salon or spa to take a few deep breaths and clear your mind of any stress right at the forefront of your brain.

One thing that really works for me is to jot down all the things, people or events that are currently bothering you on a piece of paper. When you have written everything down, look at the paper, mentally tell yourself you are putting those things temporarily on hold and then tear up the paper and throw it away.

It may sound silly but it works. Another option is to write down the names or stressful things and tuck them away in your handbag, promising to get to them later.

4. Breathe deeply to help relaxation set in.

Once you enter the salon or spa take a few deep breaths and feel your body soften. Visualize your entire body relaxing starting with your feet. When possible close your eyes for any of the treatments and do not talk any more than you have to.

If you are having a massage or facial, tell your therapist at the beginning of the treatment that you wish to be silent so that they know not to talk to you unless necessary. If you have special needs such as a sore shoulder or lower back, tell them before you start the treatments.

5. Bring your own music

While this option may not work at a salon full of people, it is a great option for massages, facials or other body treatments when the rooms are closed and music is piped in. Although not all facilities will be able to play your music, you might be able to bring in your own iPod and listen to preloaded relaxation music.

Discuss this option when you book your appointment and ask your therapist if there are any issues with you listening to music during your treatments.

6. Turn off your cell phone

Make arrangements for someone to be on call for you at your job or with your family. Tell everyone you will be MIA for a short period of time and then do not answer IMs or the phone. This is also common courtesy to other salon or spa guests that wish to maximize the relaxation time during their treatments.

7. Ask for aromatherapy options

My long term massage therapist at Cooper clinic in Dallas - Wendy Menedez - would offer me the option to have relaxing aromas added to the oils. Some therapists will put a few drops of relaxing scent into a warm washcloth and allow you to take deep breaths. Others will burn candles or incense to help add relaxation.

You can also bring a tiny vial of your favorite relaxing aromas to the salon and take a few deep breaths right before your services are started.

8. Limit your caffeine intake before visiting the spa

I am always amazed when I see massage clients arrive at the spa with Starbucks in their hands. I love Starbucks. I am addicted, but right before a massage, facial, mani pedi or hair treatments I abstain from my caffeine fix so that I am not jittery during the sessions.

9. Pay in advance

At Cooper Clinic I always pay when I arrive for my massage or other treatments. That way, I don't have to worry about digging through my handbag, arranging the tip or any other details that adds stress. If you are not sure how much to tip in advance, have your tip money close at hand and leave it for the therapist at the end of the treatments.

10. Dress in comfy clothing

When you have a massage or facial you often are given special robes to wear. The same may not be true at the hair or nail salon. However, always wear clothing you feel most relaxed in. Remember you aren't going to be rated by fashion critics. You are out to have a relaxing treatment.

Additional Options

There are other options to help you park your stress at the door including silently saying affirmations such as I am completely relaxed or Stress has completely left me now.

I normally advise against reading while having any treatments performed because so much in the press is stressful these days.

When possible it is best to go to the spa or salon completely alone. If you go with friends, kids or partners, you have to worry about them. Why? Everyone needs time for themselves to find inner peace and give their hair, skin, nails and body some down time.


I am a classic workaholic maniac and have had to learn how to instantly turn off my stress so that I get maximum enjoyment from hair, body and nail treatments at the salon or spa. If I can do it, anyone can.

In the meantime, even before you get to the salon or spa visualize a fantastic experience and it will be so.

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