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Thailand Paradise for Spa Lovers By Ninnar
   
 

No trip to Thailand is completed until you have experienced a pampering Thai spa treatment . At present, Thai spas are very popular with travellers as is evidenced by the key findings of the Spa Industry Surveys & Spa Consumer Surveys conducted by Intelligent Spa, Singapore, which show the following statistical data.
 
 
Potential spa-holiday destinations (%)
Thailand 22% Europe 6%
Indonesia 19% India 5%
Malaysia 13% New Zealand 4%
Australia 7% United States 4%
Singapore 6% Others 14%
Destinations for next spa
Thailand 42% Maldives 5%
Indonesia 30% Others 8%
Malaysia 5%  
Favourite spa treatment
Massage 54% Facial 4%
Body Scrub 14% Others 18%
Body Wrap 10%  
 

As Thailand has earned a reputation as the spa capital of Asia, we think it is interesting to learn some aspects of spas in Thailand.

Back ground
At the beginning, spas in Thailand were chiefly located in luxurious hotels. They were established around the year 1994 to meet the needs of foreign visitors at that time. The services gained popularity very soon. That's why new spas have sprung up like mushroom in cities and famous attractions. Many of them have developed with advanced techniques such as hydrotherapy and aromatherapy.
Since 2001, the concept of spas has been widely spread among the Thai urban populations because they have suffered from health problems caused by their rushing lifestyles and the polluted environment. And spa treatments have been found to be alternative ways to maintain their health balance.
 
 
Factors supporting Thailand
as Spa Capital of Asia
Spas of Thailand are second to none because of the distinctive traditional Thai massage and the outstanding Thai hospitality presented through the well-trained therapists. Most clients are impressed by their smiles and tender attention. Ubonrat Somprakit, Managing Director of Jasmine Spa, revealed that many of her clients had revisited the spa because of the overall hospitable service. She added that the relaxing atmosphere and the expert therapists who are service-oriented are also the key factors.
 
 
As for the government, it has been doing its utmost in promoting Thai spas. For example, Thailand is scheduled to hold "ISPA Asia Pacific Conference & Exhibitions" in 2006, which, according to Watchara Phannachet, Deputy Minister of Industry, will be beneficial to the economy in general. Moreover, the government has provided training to personnel in the spa industry to enhance the standards of Thai spas. The Thai Spa Association and the Thai Spa Operators Association were set up to bring together all those involved in the local spa industry to steer Thai spas in the same direction.

"Even though the number of spas has increased, it is delightful to learn that along with quantity has come quality", said Naphalai Areesorn, President of the Thai Spa Association. However, because of the intense competition, the trend of Thai spas will have to change. Monica P. Orias, PR Marketing and Sales Manager of Mandara Spa said that Mandara Spa is looking forward to developing spa programmes for the total well-being of mind, body and soul. This means that spa therapies have to be able to nourish the mind (by providing meditation programmes, for example) and to strengthen the physical body (by arranging workout programmes).

Several day spas and hotel spas are scattered throughout Bangkok and other tourist destinations like Chiang Mai, Hua Hin, Pattaya, Samui and Phuket. If you wish to experience this comfortable indulgence, go for one at a spa near you.
 
 
About Spas
The Origin of spa

The name derives from the Belgian town "Spa", where a natural hot spring was open to the public to take a bath as a way of self healing. Because of its benefits, it became popular among health enthusiasts. Later, the meaning of spas changed to cover a relaxation in natural surroundings, using water as the main constituent, combining other natural therapeutic methods like massages and aromatherapy together with chemical-free ingredients.

Spa Categories
According to International Spa Association, there are seven categories of spas:
1. Hotel and Resort Spa refers to any spas situated in hotels or resorts serving both hotel guests and walk-in guests.
2. Destination Spa is a spa established in its own building which includes recreational areas. Most of its clients will stay overnight, participating in selectable activities like meditation programmes or yoga.
 
 
3. Medical Spa means a spa providing medical treatments and utilising medical instruments under specialised personnel's instructions. Generally, this kind of spa is located in hospitals or clinics.
4. Day Spa and City Spa refers to spa services that can be finished at any time during the day. It may take only 30 minutes or one hour. The locations are usually in cities or business centres.
 
 
5. Mineral Spring Spa is a spa service at a natural spring which has been developed to be a tourist attraction.
6. Club Spa means a spa combined with a fitness centre.
7. Cruise Ship Spa is a spa service on a cruise ship. This is operated together with useful diet for passengers during the voyage.
 

Why is it so beneficial ?
Spas originated from mineral water bathing, which helps eliminate toxin out of the body and helps calm down the mind, making it fresh again. Soaking in a well of hot mineral water can bring a person happiness and peacefulness due to the warm vapour containing mineral salts.

 
 
This ancient spa concept has been carried on up to the present time but with a variety of choices for different clients. According to Khun Ubonrat Somprakit, Managing Director of Jasmine Spa, the frequency to receive treatment depends on clients' purposes. Those who aim to lose weight, need to go under treatment every other day, while those who would like to recharge can do so every two weeks.
 
 

Spa and physical senses
Spa treatments also emphasize on pampering the five senses of human beings, viz. sight, taste, smell, hearing and touch. All these are held significant to provide visitors with utmost satisfaction.
Sight refers to the decoration styles and the surroundings of a spa, which differently affect human being's emotions. That is why most spas use pale hues to create a peaceful atmosphere.
Taste means flavours of foods or beverages which people like or dislike and can affect people's emotions, too.
Smell comes from essential oils and herbal treatments. Different oils yield different medicinal properties.
Hearing derives from relaxing instrumental music.
Touch is obtained by relaxing massages

*Special thanks to:
Khun Ubonrat Somprakit, Jasmine Spa
Ms Monica P.Orias, Mandara Spa
Jasmine Spa, The Siam Heritage, Andaman Seaview Hotel and Seaview Patong hotels for facilitating Thaiways to take photographs.
The Ministry of Public Health for allowing Thaiways to use photographs.


For the correct pronunciation of romanized Thai words, see
Romanization System of the Thai Language.

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