Spas of the Desert: Your Internet Guide to the Spas of the Palm Springs Area


Definitions of major Massage & Spa Terms


Acupressure is an ancient Chinese healing method that involves applying pressure to meridian points on the body to relieve pain. Acupressure relaxes muscular tension and balances the vital life forces of the body. By using deep but gentle finger pressure on specific points the blocked energy starts to release, allowing your body/mind to relax.

The use of volatile plant oils, including essential oils, for psychological and physical wellbeing. Aromatherapy is based on the theory that organic matter can have healing properties. The preparations must be true essential oils and not synthetic; otherwise they are useless. In addition to their effect on mood, essential oils have healing properties for the skin.

This Indian philosophy maintains that health is a state of balance between the body, mind, senses and the soul. In western medicine only the body is treated while the mind, senses and soul are largely ignored. Any infirmity at these levels is recognized as an illness in Ayurvedic medicine.

Body Scrub/ Body Rub/ Exfoliation
A skin treatment where the upper layer of dead skin cells is sloughed off using a variety of techniques and combinations of sea salt, essential oils, water, skin brush or loofah. It is crucial that the therapist balances the treatment so that the skin is gently exfoliated without stripping off essential moisture.

Body Wrap
Body wraps cocoon you in hot, wet linen sheets, over wrapped with Mylar or cotton blankets. Sometimes a wrap simply consists of sheets steeped in herbal formulas, seaweed or it can follow a mineral mud. Cool compresses should be applied to your forehead to keep your temperature from climbing too high. Not for the very claustrophobic. The mildly claustrophobic can leave their arms outside the wrap.

Deep Muscle Massage
Deep massage is an intense massage directed to individual muscle fibers and is both corrective and therapeutic. It unsticks the muscle fibers while releasing deep tensions and removing toxins and re-educating the muscle to operate at full capacity. Creates a prolonged state of reduced muscular tension by applying deep muscle compression and cross fiber friction to increase blood and lymphatic flow.

Duo Massage or 4 Handed Massage
Two therapists massage you at the same time. This experience can be quite intense and relaxing.

Essential Oils
Extractions from plants can affect the entire body. They work:

On the skin by dissolving dead surface cells, improving texture, adding softness, stimulating and toning.

On the nervous system by calming and soothing the nerve endings, causing a sense of euphoria. They normalize glandular function.

On the muscles by relieving fatigue, reducing soreness and stiffness, improving resistance and elasticity of muscles.

On the blood and lymph by increasing metabolism and elimination of waste.


Exfoliation helps to smooth and clear the skin of dulling dead cells and debris. The treatment can either be chemical or physical.

All facials have some basic procedures in common: cleansing, surface-impurity extraction, exfoliating, toning and moisturizing. In getting a facial your skin will be cleansed of makeup and dirt. Then an exfoliant will be massaged lightly into your skin. Then a toner will be patted or misted on to refine the pores; this may be applied before or after the moisturizing step. Moisturizing may be accomplished with a masque, or with lotions that are removed after only a few minutes. A facial massage helps to firm, tone and relax the muscles.

Therapeutic massage is one of the best, most non-invasive, and enjoyable forms of health, fitness, and general wellness therapy available today. Human touch as a form of therapy can positively affect all of the body's systems simultaneously without any unpleasant side-effects.

Foot and Hand Reflexology is based on the premise that there are zones and reflex areas in the feet and hands which correspond to all body parts. Applying specific pressures using thumb, finger and hand techniques, reduce stress causing a physiological change in the body.

Salt Glow
Sea salt rich in trace minerals is mixed with warm massage oil to exfoliate the top layers of dead skin from the whole body (except for the face). It leaves your skin moist, glowing, and satin-smooth. It is slightly stimulating and is a good way to finish after a day of relaxing treatments.

Sauna / Steam Room
Renewed vigor and vitality, Muscle relaxation, Increased energy levels and stamina, Sensory enhancement and softer skin, Greater resistance to illness, An improved sense of total well-being. Sauna raises your body temperature, which makes your blood vessels dilate and increases circulation. The increase in circulation helps your immune system empty toxins and waste from your blood stream and the increase in circulation also speeds up your metabolism.



-- Look for Spa Deals--