Beauty bliss: When to speak up at a spa appointment
Photo of the Four Seasons Toronto Spa by Christian Horan.
In a heated, tangential convo amongst the beauty team during a recent story meeting, we discovered that a lot of
questions come to mind during a spa appointment that have nothing to do with the treatment itself. (Read: those awkward can-I-ask-my-esthetician-
that debate going on in our heads while getting a back massage.) To put our racing minds at ease, we consulted Todd Hewitt, senior spa director at the Four Seasons Toronto Spa.
What questions should we address with a massage therapist before beginning a treatment? "Don’t be afraid to talk to your therapist. They are going to have their hands all over your body, after all! Address any issues you have about the type of oil used, whether it contains perfumes, etc. Speak up when the pressure is too much or too little. Same goes for volume of music and brightness of lights. The therapist actually prefers that people know exactly what they would like."
What requests can we make to tailor a treatment to our liking? "Most spas will have protocols and standards that they are to perform. It is always up to the guest as to whether these get changed or not. So in a massage for example, if there are areas you would like the therapist to concentrate on, don’t be afraid to ask them. And even go as far as being specific, such as asking for them to concentrate on your neck and back for 30 minutes. For facials, the same applies. If you prefer a scalp massage, instead of forearm massages, then ask the esthetician if they would take the time to massage your scalp instead of touching your arms."
Read on for more of your spa questions answered!
Can we change our minds mid-treatment? "Strike up a conversation at the beginning of the treatment. Ask the therapist if you can let them know when they want more pressure, less lighting, etc. during the treatment. The answer should always be ‘yes’! This is always a conversation to be had at the beginning of the treatment so you don’t feel awkward later on."
What do first-time spa-goers need to know? "I always let clients know that our therapists are professionally trained. We ask clients to remove their clothes for treatments (mainly so that we don’t get oil on their undergarments) and remind them that they will be professionally draped at all times. But of course, they can wear what makes them most comfortable and that always takes precedence."
Can we express preference for a male or female massage therapist? "When booking an appointment, one should always state their preference for gender of therapist right away. If they don’t care who they get, then they should just say that they have ‘no preference’. This is sometimes the best way to discuss new fabulous therapists that you were unaware of."
Is there a such thing as ‘no awkward question’ when it comes to spa etiquette? "There are no questions or scenarios that we have not heard of in the spa world. So one should never feel awkward or that their question is too dumb. We have seen it all! We actually prefer when you tell us all of your likes and dislikes. This information stays between you and your therapist."
Tell us something that all spa therapists wish their clients knew! "To relax and drift away. Too many clients want to talk the entire treatment and this usually comes from just being nervous. We don’t have a problem with Chatty Cathys but we would really love for the person to be able to get some me-time and not worry about what the therapist is doing or thinking."
Visit the Four Seasons Toronto Spa, 60 Yorkville Avenue, Toronto. (416) 964-0411. And check out the
top 10 spas to get pampered at this year!