Although they are supposed to be paradises of relaxation, spas come with their own set of vexed issues. For a beginner, the stress of wondering how to navigate spa etiquette can almost outweigh the relaxation they came for. But spa experts know there are easy ways around every problem. The best thing to do is remember that your therapist is a trained professional who wants you to feel comfortable and happy. They will do their best to ensure a happy, relaxed client. Armed with this knowledge, you can employ a well-placed sentence and trust them to get the message.
One common problem is the overly chatty therapist. This is also a divisive issue in nail and hair salons: some people love a bit of a chinwag, but what do you do when you just want to relax but your therapist won’t stop talking? You want to be polite – after all, they hold the fate of your manicure, facial or expensive seaweed treatment in their hands. Perhaps you are British and extreme politeness is a natural impulse, like coughing and breathing. But you came all this way for a massage in London and you want the best experience money can buy. Many beleaguered clients resort to gritting their teeth and making polite noises as the therapist chats on about commutes, boyfriends, whatever, when what they really want is an hour of blessed silence. By the end, you’re stressed and annoyed, and the hard-earned money you spent to relax is wasted.
Now, of course, a good therapist should be able to pick up on your mood from your body language or responses, but sometimes they need a helping hand. The best thing to say is: “I’m going to drift off and relax now.” This lets your therapist know you’d like some peace and quiet without overtly telling them they were doing something wrong. It keeps the mood peaceful and without awkwardness. Now you can focus on the treatment with no distractions, and come out feeling completely de-stressed.
If you’re getting a facial, you should expect a few preliminary questions about your skincare routine. Your beautician needs to know why your skin looks the way it does and what they should do for it – for example, are you simply having an acne breakout or do you wash your face with harsh soap every day? This is all normal and expected, since it’s part of their job to help you care for your skin at home. But the trouble starts if they try to sell you on certain products that the spa just happens to carry, or talk the whole way through the treatment about everything they’re doing. This is especially irritating during a facial when you can’t always reply back.
If your beautician is getting pushy, all you need to say is: “I’m happy with my routine, thanks.” Leave it at that, and repeat until they get the message if necessary. With all the spa special offers and deals in London, it’s easy to get a spa treatment at a discount – why waste that extra cash on expensive products you don’t need? If they talk you through every technique they use on your face, remember that some people like this sort of thing and find it helpful. Just tell them: “I’m just going to drift off and relax, I don’t need to know what you’re doing.”You never know, they might be grateful for the opportunity to stay quiet for once.
If you encounter a therapist who just won’t take a hint, it’s perfectly okay to be blunt. You don’t need to be rude – just remember that you’re the customer and you’re within your rights to “have it your way”, within reason. If they still won’t shut up, complain! You may be saving scores of other clients from chatty-masseuse hell.