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Glossary of Spa Terms  
    Content provided by the International SPA Association    



- A washing or cleansing of the body, especially as part of a religious rite.

ACCUPRESSURE - Finger massage designed to release muscle tension and promote healing by applying pressure to "energy points" or "meridians" in the body. The pressure applied to these vital points (the same points used in acupuncture) was identified by medical practitioners in China centuries ago and is believed to improve the flow of energy (chi) throughout the body. Similar in many ways to Shiatsu.

ACUPUNCTURE - An ancient oriental healing technique discovered and developed more than three thousand years ago, acupuncture is based on Taoist philosophy. The aim is to balance the energy meridians to permit the body to "heal itself. A relatively painless technique, it is administered by inserting fine needles at key points of the body that relate to different organs in order to relieve muscular, neurological and arthritic problems, cure disease and relieve pain (as in surgery). Alternative related techniques include the use of low voltage electric current (electro acupuncture), or pinpoint massage (accupressure) to those key body points.

ACUTE DISORDER - An ailment that affects the function of mind or body that has a rapid onset, following a short but severe course.

AEROBIC SHOPPING - Brisk walking in shopping malls, large spaces heated in winter, and air-conditioned in summer, where there is no traffic, where the surface is smooth and conducive to walking, and where there are no fears about safety or traffic. You can feel virtuous if you stop to buy something. Your purchases can serve as exercise weights.

AEROBICS - series of rhythmic exercises, set to music, used to stimulate the aerobic capacity of heart and lungs, burn fat, and improve endurance. These movements are fully supported by oxygen delivered to the working muscles by the blood circulation. Examples of aerobic activity include walking, ballroom dancing, and steady, slow jogging. In contrast to aerobic activity, anaerobic exercise involves muscular work that is not fully supported by the oxygen available from the circulating blood. Activities like weight lifting, bodybuilding, and sprinting (100-yard dash) have a large anaerobic component. (See also Low-impact aerobics)

AEROBICS STUDIO - A gym or large open area used strictly for floor exercise; a cushioned or suspended floor aids in avoiding injury.

AESTHETICS - Pleasing in appearance.

AFFIRMATION - Similar to visualization, this technique is used to overcome physical ailments (e.g. backaches) and emotional problems (e.g., family or professional problems) through repetition of a positive statement. For example, a person who is afraid of flying would repeat "I like to fly" and envision a pleasant flying experience.

AFFUSIONS (KNEE, UPPER, LOWER, SPINAL, LOWER) - A pouring on of liquid, as in baptism.

AIR-DYNE BICYCLE - See Schwinn Air-Dyne Bicycle.

ALCHEMICAL / ALCHEMY - Essentially a reverence for the material world as being the reflection of a more perfect, living, transcendent reality.

ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE - Most people stand and move in imbalanced ways that result in a multitude of physical problems, such as backaches. The Alexander Technique is a massage system created in the 1890s by the Australian actor F. M. Alexander to correct those physical habits that cause stress. This technique teaches how to move with greater ease and coordination by focusing on correct posture, the right way to lift objects, the proper position of feet when standing, the angle of one's shoulders and so forth.

ALGOTHERAPY - Seaweed bath. See Thalassotherapy

ALLOPATHIC MEDICINE - A method of treating disease with remedies that produce effects different from those caused by the disease itself.

ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES - Treatments based on speculative or abstract reasoning. Such treatments include: Acupuncture, Aromatherapy, Ayurveda Treatment, Cathiodermie, Colonic, Cranio-sacral Therapy, Electro Therapy, Energy Balancing, Fango, Flotation, Gerovital, Gommages, Homeopathy, Light Treatment, Lymph Drainage, Mud Therapies, Music Therapy, Panchakarma, Phytotherapy, Primordial Sound, Reiki, Spinal Release Therapy and Ultrasound.

ANAEROBIC - Involves exercise and muscular work that is not fully supported by blood circulation and delivery of oxygen to the working muscles. Weight lifting and bodybuilding are examples of anaerobic exercise. The opposite of aerobic exercise.

ANTHOTHERAPY - Treatments in humid caves where the atmosphere is very vaporous (between 30°-42°C / 86°-107°F). In dry caves the atmosphere takes the heat from the spring (between 50°-70°C / 122° - 158°F).

APPLIED KINESIOLOGY - The study of muscles, especially the mechanics of human motion.

AQUA AEROBICS (AQUAEROBICS) - Aerobics workouts performed in a swimming pool. Water resistance is utilized to stretch, strengthen and increase stamina. This activity is also commonly known as aquacize.

AQUACISE (AQUACIZE) - Aerobics workouts performed in a swimming pool. Water resistance is utilized to stretch, strengthen and increase stamina. This activity is also commonly known as aqua aerobics.

AQUAFIT - See aqua aerobics.

AQUATIC REHABILITATION - To restore to good health or useful life through aquatic therapy and education.

AQUATICS - Consisting of, relating to, or being in water. Sports: Athletic activities performed in or on the water.

AROMABATH - See herbal wrap.

AROMATHERAPY - An ancient healing art dating back to 4500 B. C., Aromatherapy usually refers to treatments such as massage, facials, body wraps or hydro baths with the application of essential oils from plants, leaves, bark, roots, seeds, resins and flowers. These oils are used to treat emotional disorders, organ dysfunction, and skin problems through a variety of internal and external application techniques. Plants and flowers from which these oils are extracted include rosemary, lavender, roses, chamomile, eucalyptus and pine.

ART THERAPY - Characterized by the use of symbolic communication presented by graphic, pictorial, sculpted, modeled, collage-composed, or other art media. Art expression involves a confrontation with the psychic images of the realm of inner perception.

ASANAS - Yoga postures

ASLAN THERAPY (ASLAVITAL) - The use of either Gerovital H3 or Aslavital drugs, both developed by Dr. Ana Aslan of Romania. Both are used for their regenerative effect in fighting the aging process.

ASTON-PATTERNING ® - A method of physical therapy in which a rigid pattern of exercises is imposed to stimulate weak or paralyzed nerves and muscles to act on their own.

ASTROLOGY - The study of planetary (and heavenly) influence on human psychology, character, and relationships.

ATHLETIC MASSAGE - A very deep penetrating massage that concentrates on all muscle groups, but is particularly focused on muscles primarily used in a person’s chosen sports activities. See Sports Massage.

ATTITUDINAL HEALING - A concept based on the belief that it is possible to choose peace rather than conflict, love rather than fear.

ATTUNEMENT - To bring the whole person into harmony.

AYURVEDIC - An ancient system of traditional folk medicine from India that employs a large variety of techniques to restore the organism to perfect balance. These techniques incorporate nutrition, herbal medicine, aromatherapy, massage and meditation.


BACH FLOWER CURES - The use of flowers as a means of healing.

BALNEOTHERAPY - A generic term for mineral water treatments, balneotherapy is the traditional practice of treatments by waters, using hot springs, mineral, or sea waters to restore and revitalize the body. Since antiquity, balneotherapy has been used to improve circulation, fortify the immune system, as an analgesic (pain reliever) and as an anti-stress treatment.

BARRE - A balance bar or rail used during exercise.

BATHS (FOOT, ARM, SITZ, FULL, HALF, PARTIAL) - The act of soaking or cleansing the body, as in water or steam. The water used for cleansing the body. A building equipped for bathing. A resort providing therapeutic baths; a spa.

BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION - Change in personal habits (e.g., bad eating patterns, smoking and other substance abuse) brought about through counseling and psychological conditioning that includes careful repetition of the desired behaviors. Most spas incorporate behavior modification into their weight loss program. Rather than prescribing a special diet, the behavior modification approach teaches people how to change lifelong eating habits so they can still enjoy all types of food, within reason.

BEHAVIORAL MEDICINE - The application of behavior therapy techniques, such as biofeedback, relaxation training, and hypnosis, to the prevention and treatment of medical and psychosomatic disorders and to the treatment of undesirable behaviors, such as overeating and substance abuse.

BINDI - Bodywork combining exfoliation, herbal treatment, and light massage.

BIOELECTRICAL IMPEDANCE ANALYSIS (BIA) - A non-invasive method of measuring body water based on the conductance of an electrical current through the body. This current is injected into the body by means of electrodes that are clamped (usually) to the wrist and ankle. See also electrical impedance measurement.

BIOENERGETICS - The exchange of energy between persons giving and receiving massage. This psychotherapeutic bodywork is based on the interconnection between chronic psychological defense mechanisms.

BIOFEEDBACK - A technique by which one can learn conscious control of biological processes by means of monitoring one's physical responses. This is usually accomplished by placing an electronic sensing device on the skin to measure changes in skin surface temperature and chemistry that, in turn, reflect internal physical changes. Through this method one can learn to control physical functions formerly thought to be involuntary, such as blood pressure, pulse rate, digestion and deep muscle tension. Many people who suffer from headaches, chronic pains and migraines can use this feedback technique to reduce their dependency on drugs.

BIOMETEOROLOGY - The study of the relationship between atmospheric conditions, such as temperature and humidity, and living organisms.

BLOOD PRESSURE - The pressure exerted by the blood on the walls of the body's arteries. Systolic blood pressure is the blood pressure while the heart is contracting and pumping out blood. Diastolic blood pressure is the blood pressure while the heart is expanding and filling with blood.

BODY & BEAUTY TREATMENTS - Various treatments provided by day and destination spas to enhance beauty and overall well-being. Beauty and cosmetic treatments include: beauty salon, facials, image consultation, makeovers, manicure/pedicure, and waxing. Body treatments include massage, cellulite treatments, herbal wrap, salt glow and seaweed wrap and various forms of hydrotherapy, including steam and saunas.

BODY ALIGNMENT - Developed from the system of Rolfing and includes an in-depth structural analysis and strengthening and flexibility exercise program.

BODY COMPOSITION (TEST) - Method of measuring the ratio of body fat against lean muscle mass. Using standard weight charts; a computerized system compares personal data with standard percentages to determine whether an individual is overweight. This test (usually part of an overall fitness analysis) determines the percentage of body fat by using a skin-fold caliper (measuring instrument) that gently pinches the skin below the underarm. Used to develop a realistic weight loss goal and create a nutrition and exercise program suited to individual requirements.

BODY CONTOUR - Body contour exercises work on specific parts of the body, such as the abdomen, buttocks, hips and thighs to promote toning, increased flexibility and mobility.

BODY IMAGE - An individual's perception of his or her own body in such terms as size, shape, thinness, fatness, and degree of attractiveness.

BODY MASS INDEX (BMI) - A measure of body weight adjusted for height.

BODY SCRUB (ALSO SEE EXFOLIATION) - Body Scrubs/Skin Care which include Brush & Tone, Dulse scrub, loofah scrub, paraffin treatment, repaichage and Vichy shower.

BODY SUGARING - Hair-removal process said to date from the time of Cleopatra.

BODY TUNING - Stretching and muscle firming exercises.

BODY WORK - DOMAIN IV - This refers to all forms of therapeutic touch such as massage that retrain the body's posture and movements for optimal functioning.

BODY WRAP - Strips of cloth soaked in herbal teas and cocooned around the body. Also called herbal wrap.

BOICIL FORTE - A drug used to treat rheumatic diseases developed by Dr. Vasile Boici of Romania.

BREEMA BODYWORK - Originated in the mountains of Kurdistan. Practitioners of this method view the body as an energy system, although its meridians are not the same as those identified in the healing arts of China. Breema practitioners regard the body as a self-healing organism. Breema work is designed to create or recreate the natural balance and harmony that governs our mental, emotional and physical energies. The larger aim of Breema is to teach through experience the possibility of living with the full participation of body, mind and feelings.

BRINE (SALT WATER) BATHS - Water saturated with or containing large amounts of a salt, especially of sodium chloride. The water of a sea or an ocean.

BROMINE/IODINE BATH - A heavy, volatile, corrosive, reddish-brown, nonmetallic liquid element, having a highly irritating vapor combined with a liquid containing iodine dissolved in ethyl alcohol, used as an antiseptic on the skin.

BROSSAGE - A fine body polish done with a series of brushes and salicylic salt. Used to create a fine texture of the skin's surface.

BRUSH AND TONE - Dry brushing of the skin, intended to remove dead layers and impurities while stimulating circulation. This is one of many exfoliation techniques used as a pre-treatment for mud and seaweed body masks. The body is brushed in invigorating, circular motions to remove dead skin, followed by the application of moisturizing lotion that leaves the skin silky smooth, alive, and glowing.


CALIPER (TEST) - A device to measure skin fold, determining the percent of fat in the body.

CALORIE (KILO CALORIE OR KCAL) - The amount of heat needed to increase the temperature of 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of water by 1 degree centigrade, i.e., from 15 to 16 degrees centigrade. Most commonly, the energy content of foods and the energy expended by the body to maintain life processes and perform muscular work are expressed in calories. In this use, calories are the heat equivalent of stored or expended energy.

CARBOHYDRATE - A class of foods whose main function is to supply energy. When a food containing carbohydrate is eaten and digested, most of it is turned into the simplest carbohydrate unit, glucose, which enters the blood stream to be used as one of the body's major fuels. Dietary carbohydrates may be classified as simple or complex. Examples of simple carbohydrates include sugars found in syrups, honey, refined sugar, fruits, soft drinks, and milk. Foods rich in complex carbohydrates include potatoes, breads, cereals, pasta, rice, and some vegetables.

CARBON DIOXIDE BATH - A colorless, odorless, incombustible gas, CO2, formed during respiration, combustion, and organic decomposition and used in food refrigeration, carbonated beverages, inert atmospheres, aerosols and spa baths.

CARDIOVASCULAR - Pertaining to the heart and blood vessels. Common cardiovascular conditions include coronary heart disease, arteriosclerosis, hypertension, stroke, and cerebral vascular diseases.

CARDIOVASCULAR ENDURANCE TESTING - Cardiovascular endurance is the ability of the heart (muscles) and blood vessels to meet the demands of physical exertion. Fitness is relative; one must always ask "Fit for what?' Someone who is fit to play tennis may not be fit for cross-country skiing or mountain climbing. Thus, different levels of fitness are achieved by different kinds of physical training. Cardiovascular fitness can be determined with considerable precision in the laboratory by the use of one or more tests of "maximal aerobic power." Maximal aerobic power (Vo2max) is the highest oxygen uptake a given individual can achieve while performing a standardized exercise, like running on a motorized treadmill. The degree of testing and training varies widely from spa to spa. The maximum stress test with electrocardiogram evaluation is performed on a treadmill to detect the possible presence of heart disease, determine the heart's capacity to pump and help provide guidelines for an exercise program. Sometimes body composition and vital capacity also are tested. Training and testing equipment includes Lifecycles, rowing ergometers, Versa Climbers, Stair Masters, stationary bikes, Nordic trainer and Quinton treadmills.

CATHARTIC - A laxative, usually from a natural or organic compound.

CATHIODERMIE - A rejuvenating treatment for the skin using electric stimulation in a low voltage dose. An electric machine is employed, using both galvanic and high-frequency currents that are claimed to deep-cleanse and revitalize your skin and oxygenate its outer tissue layer.

CELLULAR THERAPY - Injections with concentrated live tissue, derived from fetal lamb. Used to reverse the aging process. This treatment is not approved by the FDA and is not available in the US. Also known as live cell therapy or fresh cell therapy, treatment includes injection by an intromuscular route of fresh embryonic animal cells, typically from sheep or cows, suspended in a physiological serum, or frozen, freeze-dried (lyophilized) cells from ampoules. Used for total body revitalization, to maintain or return the body to its state of healthy equilibrium and prevent premature aging. Developed in the early 1930s by Paul Niehan MD, a Swiss physician, it became popular with wealthy individuals and celebrities as a means of reversing the aging process. Wolfram Kuhnau MD, a colleague of Neihans, introduced the treatment in Tijuana, Mexico in the late 1970s as a cancer treatment. It is claimed to help build the immune system. In 1985 the FDA banned importation into the USA of all cellular powders and extracts intended for injection. In 1987 the Health Office of Germany suspended the product licenses of live-cell preparations.

CELLULITE - A nonscientific term used to describe peddly or uneven surface of the skin of the hips, thighs, or buttocks of women. Caused by the sagging or breaking down of the quilt-like strands of collagen which attach the skin to underlying structures and is associated with increased deposits of fat in those areas.

CEREMONY - A formal act or set of acts as prescribed by ritual, custom or etiquette. Comes from the Latin word meaning sacredness.

CHAKRA - Refers to the seven energy centers on your body. Taken from the Sanskrit word meaning, "wheel."

CHANNELING - The art of receiving information, often while in a trance state, from a source, usually someone no longer alive.

CHELATION THERAPY - The intravenous administration of a synthetic amino acid called ethylenediamine tetracetic acid (EDTA), along with vitamins and other substances, to combat arteriosclerosis. Serves as an alternative to the conventional coronary bypass surgery.

CHIROPRACTIC - The realignment of the spine and bone/body mechanics in order to relieve backache and postural problems. This treatment is used to analyze and correct vertebral spinal nerve interferences and helps to maintain the natural organization of the body so that it can function at its fullest capacity.

CHOLESTEROL - A waxy substance that the body uses in the transport of fats and to make certain hormones. The body can manufacture what little cholesterol it needs. The cholesterol that circulates in the blood plasma is present primarily in complex molecules called low-density lipoproteins (LDL), which are used to transport fat to cells in the body that either store it or use it as a fuel. There is a strong relationship between the blood plasma level of LDL cholesterol and risk of developing disease of the heart and blood vessels. About one-quarter of the cholesterol in the blood plasma of adults is carried in high-density lipoproteins (HDL). HDL may serve the function of removing excess cholesterol from tissues. Whatever the case, the risk of heart and blood vessel disease declines as HDL cholesterol increases. Cholesterol is also in foods of animal origin such as meat, poultry, some seafood, and dairy products. Egg yolks and organ meats are very high in cholesterol. Foods of plant origin such as fruits, vegetables, grains, cereals, nuts, and seeds contain no cholesterol.

CHRONIC DISORDERS - Lasting for a long period of time or marked by frequent recurrence, as certain diseases. Subject to a habit or pattern of behavior for a long time.

CHRONOBIOLOGY - The study of biological rhythms.

CIRCUIT (WEIGHT WORK) TRAINING - The blending of aerobics and high-energy workout with weight-resistance equipment such as that produced by Nautilus, Klesser, or Universal. On a circuit, you put yourself through a series of training stations, stopping only briefly before each exercise to keep your heart rate within an acceptable range throughout the circuit.

CLEANSING - To free and detoxify one's body from cumulative poisons.

CLIMATE(S) & CLIMATOLOGY - The meteorological conditions, including temperature, precipitation, and wind that characteristically prevail in a particular region. The meteorological study of climates and their phenomena.

CLUB SPA - A facility whose primary purpose is fitness and which offers a variety of professionally administered spa services on a day use basis.

COGNITIVE TRAINING - In weight control programs, the replacing of negative or defeatist thinking with positive attitudes to help those trying to lose weight to stick to their program.

COLD PLUNGE - Deep pool for the rapid contraction of the capillaries, intended to stimulate circulation after sauna.

COLLAGEN - The main organic constituent in animal connective tissue, produced in gelatin form by boiling. An important ingredient in many natural cosmetics.

COLONIC IRRIGATION - An intense water irrigation (enema) of the entire colon, intended to cleanse out trapped impurities, preventing the recycling of toxins into the blood stream.

COLOR ANALYSIS - Think you look good in blue? A color analysis may prove otherwise. Each season of the year represents a group of colors that are flattering to certain skin tones. To determine whether you're a spring, summer, fall or winter color type, swatches of fabric from each season are held next to your face. The analysis, based on the colors that are most becoming to you, then gives you guidelines for choosing wardrobe and makeup colors.

COLOR HEALING - Based on the law of attraction wherein the vibration of the color attracts a similar vibration in the human body. Dates back to ancient Egypt and other pre-modern societies.

COMBINED SERUM THERAPY - A general biological treatment for the regeneration of the entire organism.



COMPRESSES (COLD AND HOT) - A folded cloth or pad applied so as to press upon a body part.

CONTOUR - Physical training for deep toning of specific muscle groups.

COOL-DOWN EXERCISES - Movements at the conclusion of your exercise session to give your body a chance to ease out of the routine while your pulse rate returns to normal.

COORDINATION - Harmonious functioning of parts of the body during movement.

COUNSELING - To give advice or guidance.

CRANIO-SACRAL THERAPY - Gentle massage centering on the head.

CREATIVE MOVEMENT - This includes dance, aerobic and stretch exercises designed to improve your coordination and mobility.

CREATIVE VISUALIZATION - An effective process of creating what we want in our lives. The art of using mental energy to transform and greatly improve health, beauty, prosperity, loving relationships, and the fulfillment of all one's desires. This relaxation technique is similar to hypnosis except you remain conscious. It is usually done with a group of people lying in a quiet, dark room. In a soft, even-toned voice, an instructor asks the group to imagine themselves in a serene, relaxing environment, such as a beautiful sand beach or peaceful meadow. By describing things like the color of the sky or the smell or wildflowers, the instructor creates a soothing fantasy environment. About half of the group falls asleep; the other half goes into a state of deep relaxation. Visualization is also used to treat phobias by having people imagine successfully doing whatever it is they fear.

CRENOTHERAPY (CROUNOTHERAPY) - All types of treatment carried out with mineral water, mud and vapor.

CROSS-COUNTRY SKI MACHINE - Exercise device that simulates the motions of cross-country skiing, providing total body exercise. Standing on short "skis," legs are moved back and forth while arms alternate pulling on a cable suspended in front or on poles attached at the machine's base. This exercise burns calories at an amazing rate while utilizing nearly every muscle.

CROSS-TRAINING - Alternating high-stress and low-stress exercise or sports to enhance physical and mental conditioning.

CRUISE SHIP SPA - A spa aboard a cruise ship providing professionally administered spa services, fitness and wellness components and spa cuisine menu choices.

CRYOTHERAPY (TREATMENT) - A therapy using a "wand" of frozen products which produce a vasoconstricting effect on skin tissue and muscle mass thereby creating a "lifting" of the areas to be treated.

CRYSTAL HEALING - Healing energy believed to be generated by quartz and other minerals. Crystals are known to have electromagnetic energy, as does the human body. When a natural quartz crystal is brought into contact with a person's etheric body, the electromagnetic attraction is capable of drawing imbalanced energy out of the human body.

CYBEX - Patented equipment for isokinetic strength evaluating and testing.


DANCE THERAPY - Combining self-knowledge and personal analysis with studies in psychotherapy, dance has been rediscovered as a healing art.

DANCERCISE (DANCERCIZE) - Aerobic workout using steps and patterns of movement derived from modern dance.

DAVID SYSTEM - Pneumatic weight training units in which air is pumped. See Circuit training.

DAY SPA - A spa offering a variety of professionally administered spa services to clients on a day use basis.

DAY USE - Not offering overnight accommodations.

DEAD SEA MUD TREATMENT - Applications of mineral-rich mud from the Dead Sea in Israel. Used to detoxify skin and body; also used to ease painful symptoms of rheumatism and arthritis.

DEEP (TISSUE) MUSCLE MASSAGE - This massage technique separates muscle groups and loosens fascia (a thin layer of connective tissue covering and supporting or connecting the muscles or inner organs of the body) so as to bring about the realignment of the body and freedom of movement. Sometimes called deep tissue massage, this massage is a deep, sometimes painful kneading of the muscles. The best-known types of deep muscle massage include Rolfing, Reichian, Heller and Benjamin. It's not for everyone as some people find deep muscle massage very uncomfortable and not the least bit relaxing. Its proponents, however, claim that the massage has ample benefits (e.g. improved posture and relief of chronic tensions).

DEEP-CLEANSING FACIAL - Use of sophisticated machines or manual techniques to open pores, extract blackheads by hand, purify skin, close pores, and revitalize skin.


DERMATOLOGY (SKIN CARE) - A branch of science dealing with the skin, its structure, functions, and diseases.

DESTINATION SPA - A destination spa is a facility with the primary purpose of guiding individual spa-goers to develop healthy habits. Historically a seven-day stay, this lifestyle transformation can be accomplished by providing a comprehensive program that includes spa services, physical fitness activities, wellness education, healthful cuisine and special interest programming.

DETOXIFICATION - Cleansing the body of accumulated poisons often from over-taxation due to addictive habits.

DIASTOLIC BLOOD PRESSURE - See blood pressure.

DIETARY FIBER - A number of chemically different components of plant cell walls and cell contents that are not broken down by the digestive enzymes in the human gastrointestinal tract. Some types of fiber help move food more rapidly through the body, aid in bowel regularity, and promote a healthy digestive tract. Certain types of fiber can also effect a modest lowering of blood cholesterol levels. Fibers are found in a wide range of foods, including fruits, vegetables, grains, cereals, nuts, seeds and legumes (dried beans and peas). Only foods from plant sources contain fiber.

DIETETICS - The study of the kinds and types of food needed for health.

DIETITIAN - A person qualified in or expert at practicing dietetics.

DIURETIC - A medicine that promotes the loss of salt, water, and other constituents from the body via the urine. Diuretics are used in the treatment of high blood pressure and certain types of edema.

DRINKING CURE - Medically prescribed regimen of mineral water consumption. See also Crenotherapy/Crounotherapy.

DRY BRUSH MASSAGE - See brush and tone.

DRY FLOAT - Hydro-massage bed that uses warm water and a flexible skin to support the floater during treatment.

DULSE SCRUB - A vigorous scrubbing of the entire body with a mixture of powdered dulse seaweed and oil or water to remove dead skin and provide a mineral and vitamin treatment to the skin. This is a gentle treatment for sensitive skin which leaves the skin incredibly smooth.


EASTERN MEDICINE - A holistic perspective on health and illness which sees the relationship of a symptom to the person as a whole, physiologically and psychologically.

EDEMA - Swelling of a part or parts of the body (for example, the feet or ankles) due to abnormal retention of water in certain body tissues.

ELASTICS - See rubber-band workouts.

ELECTRO-ACUPUNCTURE - Use of an electrical pencil-like instrument that is placed on the same body points used in accupuncture, generating current through the tip of the wand without penetration of the skin. It is highly sensitive to body heat and thus can immediately pick up trouble spots.

ELECTROCARDIOGRAM - A graphic, systematic record of the electrical currents produced by the heart. Often referred to as EKG or ECG.

ELECTROTHERAPY / DIATHERMY (ELECTRO-IMPULSE) - Treatments using the stimulating properties of a low voltage electric current. Used to reaffirm muscle, eliminate cellulite and help in weight loss treatments. Electrotherapy is the generic term for the treatment of disease by means of electricity (e.g. nemectron, galvanionization, ultrashort waves, infrared rays, ultraviolet rays, illumination - partial and total baths, diadynamic currents, and ultrasound). Diathermy refers to the generation of heat in tissue by electric currents for medical or surgical purposes.

EMOTIONAL - Of or pertaining to the expression of feelings.

EMOTIONAL CLEANSING - Healing and health of the emotional body.

ENERGY BALANCING - A general term for techniques which channel and stimulate energy in the body.

ERGOMETER (TRAINING) - Exercise machine designed for muscular contraction. Includes a built-in digital timer and workload indicator to enable you to measure your performance in a given time. These instruments can help you avoid overexertion at the start, and measure your improvements on a continuing basis.

ERICKSONIAN HYPNOSIS - Different from traditional hypnosis, the Ericksonian hypnotist takes care not to impose any outside ideas of change on the client, but instead carefully reinforces the client's abilities to generate change from within.

ESALEN MASSAGE - Developed and refined over the last 20 years by the Esalen Institute in California, this massage combines Swedish and sensory relaxation massage techniques. This soothing and comforting massage utilizes long, full handed strokes, maintaining a sense of presence with another being throughout the massage, allowing full contact through hand touch. It is both energetic and relaxing because it releases muscle tensions and opens and harmonizes the whole body.

ESSENTIAL OILS - Aromatic liquid substances which are extracted from certain species of flowers, grasses, fruits, leaves, roots and trees which are used in the medicinal, food and cosmetic industries. The positive effect of essential oils on blood circulation is due to bringing oxygen and nutrients to the tissues while assisting in the disposal of carbon dioxide and other waste products produced by cell metabolism.

EXERCISE WEIGHTS - Small weights gripped in your hand, strapped or Velcroed to your wrist, or worn across your chest while working out to add to the impact of exercise routines, build upper body muscles, and intensify workouts.

EXERCOURSE - See Parcours/Parcourse.

EXFOLIATION - Skin treatment where the upper layer of dead skin cells is sloughed off. A variety of techniques can be used and the treatment is called accordingly: loofah rub, salt scrub, body glow, brush and tone, etc.


FACIAL - There are many types of facials. A standard facial usually includes massaging the face, cleansing, toning, steaming, exfoliating and moisturizing. Other types of facials, mask and skin treatments are available at most spas. They include a European facial (similar to a standard facial except the products are European); a peeling mask designed to lift dead skin and encourage new skin growth; a paraffin mask, which helps increase circulation and rehydrate the skin; and a deep cleansing facial which purifies and revitalizes the skin.

FACILITIES / SERVICES TYPES - Facilities and services offered by hotel/resort spas. Includes: business center, boutique/gift shop, child care/ baby-sitting, guest laundry, library/study, nature trails, spa wardrobe: workout clothes, etc.

FANGO TREATMENT (THERAPY) (FANGO BATH) - The Italian word for mud. Used in treatments, a highly mineralized mud may be mixed with oil or water and applied over the body as a heat pack to detoxify, stimulate the circulation and relieve muscular and arthritic pain. Sometimes only an area such as a shoulder is covered. Otherwise the whole body is dipped or covered. "Parafango" is similar, using mud mixed with paraffin. This treatment relaxes the body, alleviates sore muscles, and softens the skin. Radioactivity is present in the mud at several spas. Pregnant women and women in their reproductive years should not risk possible genetic mutation by avoidable exposure to radioactivity. Fango creates an all-encompassing, gooey warmth and works like a poultice, softening the skin. Natural ingredients, such as peat moss and sea kelp, often are mixed into the mud to help contain the warmth and increase mineral content.

FARADISM - Electric muscle stimulators used to tone muscles through low-level electricity conducted through contact pads attached to the body for "passive exercise," often used for treatment of certain medical conditions such as bursitis, running injuries, broken limbs, muscle spasms, and muscle atrophy from disuse. Should not be used by pregnant women, people with heart problems, including those who wear pacemakers, or people with cancer or epilepsy. See also slendertone.

FAST (FASTING) - To abstain from certain, or all, food and certain drink, except water, for a period of time for the purpose of physical detoxification and rejuvenation. A supplemented fast, or very low-calorie diet, consists of small amounts of regular foods and extra vitamins and minerals, or of a liquid "formula" diet which is nutritionally adequate except for its content of calories. A protein-sparing modified fast (PSMF), another term for a very-low-calorie diet, is usually limited to lean meats, poultry, and fish (supplemented with vitamins and minerals), which in aggregate provides 600 to 800 calories a day.

FAT - An organic nutrient which provides the most concentrated source of calories available (9 calories per gram). Saturated fat, which is usually of animal origin, tends to raise blood cholesterol levels. It is solid or semisolid at room temperature. Examples include lard, butter, hydrogenated vegetable shortening, palm oil, and coconut oil. Monounsaturated fat may reduce blood cholesterol levels. Examples include olive oil, peanut oil, and avocados. Polyunsaturated fat, usually of plant or fish origin, also tends to lower blood cholesterol levels. These fats are liquid at room temperature. Examples include safflower, corn, sunflower, soybean, and cottonseed oils. The terms saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated refer to the predominance in a fat or oil of fatty acids whose carbon bonds are saturated in varying degrees with hydrogen atoms. A polyunsaturated fat is rich in fatty acids that are highly unsaturated (containing more than one double bond). A monounsaturated fat is rich in fatty acids that contain only one double bond. Saturated fatty acids, with no double bonds, have their full complement of hydrogen atoms.

FELDENKRAIS (METHOD) - System of bodywork developed by Moshe Feldenkrais that attempts to reprogram the nervous system through movement augmented by physical pressure and manipulation.

FIBER - See dietary fiber.

FINNISH SAUNA - A simple form of traditional bathing aimed at cleansing the body through perspiration. A pile of stones covering a stove is heated by wood, preferably birch, spruce or pine until it turns red hot. Water is then thrown over the heated stones to generate steam; leafy birch twigs are used to stimulate the circulation by beating the body.

FITNESS & CONDITIONING (EVALUATION) - A test for aerobic capacity, flexibility, and strength administered under the direction of an exercise specialist. Results enable a spa to design an individualized program, based on personal goals, abilities and lifestyle.

FLEX AND STRETCH - Continuous movement exercises intended to increase endurance, flexibility, and muscular strength. See flexercise.

FLEXERCISE - Sometime called stretch and tone or stretch and flex, these gentle stretching exercises increase flexibility. A popular early morning activity, flexercise helps you wake up and prepare yourself for more rigorous exercise later on.

FLEXIBILITY - Muscular elasticity; the ability to stretch over the joints.

FLOTATION (ISOLATION) TANK - A little larger than a twin-size bed, filled with 10 to 12 inches of water, this enclosed tank, containing warm water and Epsom salts, allows you to float comfortably in a totally dark, silent environment. This can be a serene, deeply relaxing experience for some, but claustrophobic for others. It creates a sensation that has been likened to returning to the womb.

FLOWER REMEDIES - Directly correlated to specific moods or mental attitudes. Serve as catalysts for the subtler levels of the healing process.

FORMULA DIET - A liquid food used in the treatment of overweight people, varying in calorie content but often supplying in the range of 420 to 800 calories a day. Formulas are usually designed to be nutritionally adequate except for calorie content. Some formulas require supplementation with potassium, calcium, magnesium and other nutrients.

FREE WEIGHTS - Hand-held dumbbells or barbells whose use allows isolation and toning of selected muscle groups.

FRESH CELL THERAPY - See Cellular Therapy.


GASTEIN CURE - Radon treatments taken at the spas of the Gastein Valley in Austria. Radon is a radioactive inert gas which is absorbed into the body, stimulates organic functions and promotes glandular secretion without radiation damage.

GASTROENTEROLOGY - A branch of medicine concerned with the structure, functions, diseases, and pathology of the stomach and intestines.

GEOGRAPHIC GROUP - Grouping of spas found in the Global Spa Guide by geographic region. Includes: Eastern US, Mid US, Western US, Canada, Caribbean, Mexico, Africa, Asia-Pacific, Central & South America, Europe and Middle East.

GERIATRICS - The branch of medical science dealing with diseases and problems specific to old people.

GEROVITAL - Drug therapy developed by Romanian geriatric specialist, Dr. Ana Aslan, used to reverse the effects of aging in the cardiovascular, central nervous and immune systems.

GESTALT (THERAPY) - Meaning "the whole picture," this therapy seeks to resolve incomplete or conflicting gestalts within a person to enable one to be more fully aware and enlivened in the present moment.

GLYCO-PEELING - An alpha-hydroxyl acid based peeling derived from different fruit acids, used to reduce age spots, soften age lines, control acne, improve complexion and in general revitalize the skin's texture and appearance.

GOLDEN NEEDLES - The use of acupuncture applied to the face as an anti-wrinkle program at Clinic La Prairie. The insertion of golden needles re-stimulates blood circulation, re-intensifies the strength of relaxed muscles, and tightens up the face again. A natural alternative to a surgical face lift.

GUIDED IMAGERY - A process which involves listening to music or a person's voice in a relaxed state for the purpose of allowing imagery, symbols, and deep feelings to arise from the inner self. This visualization may be used to stimulate the body's immune system.

GYNECOLOGY - The branch of medicine which deals with the diseases and hygiene of women.


HAKOMI THERAPY (HAKOMI INTEGRATIVE SOMATICS) - A unique approach to personal growth wherein the body is used as a source of information about the unconscious mind, serving as a vehicle to contact those key memories and basic emotional attitudes which determine the overall quality of our daily experience.

HAMMAM - Turkish-style steam bath.

HAND AND FOOT TREATMENT - This often includes a standard manicure and pedicure, followed by a seaweed or paraffin mask to soften and smooth the skin.

HAYSACK WRAP - Kneipp treatment with steamed hay intended to detoxify the body.

HEAT / MASS EXCHANGE - A device used to transfer heat from a fluid on one side of a barrier to a fluid on the other side without bringing the fluids into direct contact.

HELLERWORK - Named after its founder, Joseph Heller, Hellerwork is a series of eleven 90 minute sessions of deep tissue bodywork and movement designed to realign the body and release chronic tension and stress. Verbal dialogue is used to assist the client in becoming aware of emotional stress that may be related to physical tension. It is regarded as preventive rather than curative and reflects a holistic approach to health. Hellerwork is designed to produce permanent change.

HERBAL BATH - See herbal wrap.

HERBAL WRAP (HOT AND COLD) - The body is wrapped in warm linen or cotton sheets which have been steeped like tea bags in a variety of aromatic herbs, then covered with blankets or towels, preventing the moist heat from escaping. Additionally, a cool compress is applied to the forehead. Herbal wraps help relax the muscles, soothe soreness and soften skin. However, some people find the heat oppressive and the cocoon effect of the wet sheets and blankets smothering. To avoid feeling claustrophobic, the arms may remain outside of the wrap. See also aroma bath and herbal bath.

HERBOLOGY (HERBALISM) - The study and use of herbs for healing purposes and diet. Herbs are prepared for internal and external use in a variety of ways including teas, tinctures, extracts, oils, ointments, compresses, and poultices.

HOLISTIC HEALTH - Also known as wholistic (from whole), this is a non-medical approach to the healing and health of the whole person that looks to combine physical and mental well being. This philosophy of health views the environmental, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of life as intricately interwoven, and seeks to create balance by attending to all. When one aspect is out of sync, the others are affected. For instance, even regular exercise and nutritionally balanced meals don't make up for a mentally troubled state. To induce relaxation, holistic-oriented spas often teach ancient Eastern systems such as T'ai Chi and yoga, as well as Western systems such as biofeedback.

HOLISTIC MEDICINE - General term for various forms of alternative or complementary medicine includeing homeopathy, chelation therapy, clinical ecology, acupuncture, stress reduction, nutritional therapy and other alternative medicine methods.

HOLISTIC NUTRITION - A nutritional philosophy based on the concept that food is a natural medicine and that the body only needs whole foods to remain healthy.

HOLISTIC SPA - Spas focusing on alternative healing methods and nutrition, mainly vegetarian or macrobiotic. Holistic healing seeks a "high level of wellness", integrating body and mind in a higher consciousness.

HOMEOPATHY - A form of medicine based on the principle that "like cures like". Patients are treated with natural substances in minute quantities which cause symptoms much like those manifested by the disease. In this way, the body's own vital force is stimulated to cure itself.

HOT PLUNGE - Deep pool for the rapid expansion of the capillaries.

HOT SPRING - A place in the earth's surface, often volcanic, where hot mineral waters rise to the surface.

HOT TUB - A soaking pool made of wood or other materials.

HYDROMASSAGE - See hydrotub.

HYDROPATHY - The internal and external use of water to treat disease.

HYDROSTATIC WEIGHING - Underwater weight test.

HYDROTHERAPY - Long a staple in European spas, this is the generic term for water therapies using jets, underwater massage and mineral baths (e.g. Balneotherapy, Iodine-Grine Therapy, Kneipp Treatments, Scotch Hose, Swiss Shower, Thalassotherapy, and others. It also can mean a whirlpool bath, hot Roman pool, hot tub, Jacuzzi, cold plunge and mineral bath. These treatments use physical water properties, such as temperature and pressure, for therapeutic purposes, to stimulate blood circulation, dispel toxins and treat certain diseases.

HYDROTUB - Underwater massage in a deep tub equipped with high-pressure jets and hand-manipulated hose. See also hydromassage.

HYPERTENSION - High blood pressure, which may eventually lead to blood vessel damage and increased heart size.

HYPNOSIS - Inducing an altered state which has been compared to a state of deep meditation or transcendence in which the innate recuperative abilities of the psyche are allowed to flow more freely.

HYPNOTHERAPY - May be described as the use of hypnosis as a psychotherapeutic tool.

HYPOGLYCEMIA - Low blood sugar.


IDEAL WEIGHT - Strictly speaking, this confusing expression refers to the tables of "ideal weights" published by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in 1942-43. In 1959, Metropolitan Life replaced the ideal-weight tables with new "desirable-weight" tables. In 1983, the desirable weight tables were, in turn, replaced by "The 1983 Metropolitan Life Tables" based on more recent mortality statistics. Although "ideal weight" is an outdated term, it continues to be used (improperly) to refer to the desirable weights for height determined by Metropolitan Life in 1959 or associated with the greatest longevity in the 1983 tables.

IMMUNOTHERAPY - A biological therapy for revitalization and improvement of the immune system, this therapy consists of cell therapy, enzymes, placenta and/or vitamins. Some trade names are Omnigen and Transvital.

INFRARED TREATMENT - A heat treatment to aid in muscular relaxation and increase blood circulation.

INHALATION THERAPY (ROOM) - A wood-paneled room filled with hot vapors and/or steam from sea water, mineral water, or thermal water, sometimes augmented with pine eucalyptus and other oils for relieving respiratory congestion and enjoying the pleasures of aromatherapy. Hot vapors, or steam combined with eucalyptus oil, for treatment of respiratory, pulmonary and sinus problems are breathed through inhalation equipment or in a specific steam room. In Europe, this sometimes refers to breathing vapors piped from below ground for varying treatments.

INTERNAL MEDICINE - The medical study and treatment of non-surgical constitutional diseases in adults.

INTERVAL TRAINING - A series of high-energy exercises succeeded by a period of low-intensity activity. A combination of high-energy exercise followed by a period of low-intensity activity.

INTUITIVE CHANNELING - The art of being receptive to "knowing" without the use of rational processes.

IODINE-BRINE BATH THERAPY - Mineral baths, naturally rich in salt and iodine, used mostly in Europe for recuperation and convalescence.

IONIZED WATER BATH - See Functional Water: hyper-oxidized water, hyper-reduced water

IONOPHERESIS - The active passage of any group of organic compounds that facilitate the transport of ions across the cell membrane.

IRIDOLOGY - A science by which a doctor or practitioner can determine, from the markings or signs in the iris of the eye, the condition of various organs in the body.

ISOKINETIC EXERCISE - Resistance balances effort applied against a device.

ISOMETRICS (EXERCISE) - Pushing against a stable object to tone muscles. Movements in which opposing muscles are so contracted that there is little shortening of the muscles but a great increase in the tension of the muscles involved. For example, attempting to lift a weight that is too heavy to move will result in increasing the tension of certain muscles without muscle shortening. See also isotonic exercise.

ISOTONIC EXERCISE - Movements that involve muscle contraction with shortening. Exercises like tennis, running, and golf are isotonic. See also isometric exercise.

ISPA - The International SPA Association.

IYENGAR YOGA - Exercise system developed in India by B.K.S. Iyengar.


JACUZZI - A patented design of a whirlpool bath or a mechanism which swirls water in a bath with underwater jets.

JAPANESE ENZYME BATH - A three part treatment lasting about an hour. First you are served hot enzyme tea, then you submerge in a large wooden tub filled with fragrant blends of cedar fibers and plant enzymes imported from Japan. The enzyme bath stimulates circulation and metabolism.

JIN SHIN DO ® - A form of energy-balancing massage.

JINN SHIN JYUTSU ® - A form of energy-balancing massage.

JUNGIAN THERAPY - Therapy based on the work of Carl G. Jung. Focuses on the realization of personality and our search for meaning through the use of dreams, symbols, journals, and Jung's particular theory of basic human archetypes to explore the unconscious.


KEISER CAM II - A patented system of pneumatic weight training units. Keiser Cam III is the new version.

KETOSIS - The accumulation in the body of ketone bodies, generally associated with a low carbohydrate intake and commonly observed in cases of starvation, prolonged ingestion of low-calorie, low-carbohydrate diets, and poorly controlled insulin-dependent (Type I) diabetes.

KINESIOLOGY - Diagnosis and treatment of a disease through muscle testing. Virtually any diseased area of the body will have a structural manifestation, a specific "body language," represented by specific muscle weakness patterns. This system restores the structural, mental and chemical balance of the body through the strengthening of weak muscles, stimulation of meridian points and diet.

KINESITHERAPY - Physically active or passive movement of various areas of the body. Known more generally as physiotherapy.

KIRLIAN PHOTOGRAPHY - A special photographic technique that shows the energy field around the body, typically the hands.

KNEIPP BATHS (THERAPY/TREATMENTS) - Treatments combining hydrotherapy, herbology, and a diet of natural foods, developed in Germany in the mid-1800s by Pastor Sebastian Kneipp. Includes the use of herbal bath oils, eucalyptus, lavender, rosemary, meadow blossom, spruce, pine, juniper, chamomile, and hops to comfort body and mind as a component of treatment. See Kneipp Kur System.

KNEIPP KUR SYSTEM - Treatments combining hydrotherapy, herbology, and a diet of natural foods, developed in Germany in the mid-1800s by Pastor Sebastian Kneipp. Includes the use of herbal bath oils, eucalyptus, lavender, rosemary, meadow blossom, spruce, pine, juniper, chamomile, and hops to comfort body and mind as a component of treatment. These highly regarded European therapies are particularly popular in Austria, Switzerland and Germany. Kneipp combined the practice of physical exercise with health diet and hydrotherapy to achieve physical and emotional well being.

KUR - A planned course or supervised series of spa treatments over a period of time, traditionally in European countries, for a period lasting from 3 to 4 weeks.


LACTO-OVO - Latin for milk and eggs, generally used in connection with a vegetarian diet that is extended with the same.

LAP POOL - A shallow swimming pool with exercise lanes; the standard lap length is 50 feet.

LAYING-ON-THE-HANDS - Among the most direct approaches to healing. A "body therapy" for removing energy blockages, balancing, and improving one's healing journey through life.

LIFECYCLE - A computer-programmed exercise bicycle made by Bally.

LIFEROWER - A computer-programmed exercise machine that simulates rowing, made by Bally.

LIPIDS - A general term for fats and fat-like substances. Lipids include fats, cholesterol, lecithins, phosopholipids, and similar substances which are generally insoluble in water.

LIPOSUCTION - A cosmetic surgical procedure that sucks excess fatty tissue out of various areas of the body.

LIQUID BALANCING - Floating in body temperature saltwater alone or balanced by a physical therapist.

LIQUID SOUND ® - Light and music under and above the water for relaxation and vitalization.

LIQUID-PROTEIN DIET - A term originally used to describe the type of very-low-calorie liquid diet associated with the deaths of 58 obese dieters in 1977 and 1978. The diets consisted of heavily flavored gelatin or collagen hydrolysates (predigested from such animal sources as skin and hooves of cattle). These protein products, even when supplemented with the amino acid tryptophan, proved to be nutritionally inadequate.

LIVE CELL THERAPY - See Cellular Therapy.

LOCATION TYPE - Global Spa Guide categories used to differentiate spas by their physical surroundings and environment. These categories include Desert, Golf Resort, Lake/River, Mountain, Mountain/Alpine, Mountain/Desert, Mountain/Lake, Mountain/Sea, Ocean/Seaside, Urban, Other.

LOMI-LOMI - Hawaiian rhythmical, rocking massage.

LOOFAH - A natural plant, like a dried sponge, used to slough off dead skin, especially after a sauna or steam bath. Once dried, this natural plant looks like a mutant piece of shredded wheat, but it doesn't feel scratchy.

LOOFAH BODY SCRUB - Full body massage with loofah sponge and a mixture of sea salt, warm almond or avocado oil for exfoliation of skin and renewed circulation. Includes a deep but soft massage of skin and subcutaneous tissues of specific body sites located around lymph nodes.

LOW-IMPACT AEROBICS - A dance-like exercise where side-to-side marching or gliding movements replace the jumping, hopping, jogging movements of conventional aerobic exercise without subjecting your body to excessive stress. One foot is almost always kept on the floor, and the body is kept closer to the floor than in conventional aerobics, using the body's pressure against the floor to create resistance and condition muscles. Most spas offer low-impact aerobics as they are easier and safer to do than high-impact aerobics, which involves a lot of jumping, skipping, hopping and jogging. Some spas offer high-impact aerobics, but usually only to advanced students.

LUCID DREAMING - A type of dream-state that is very clear and easily understood.

LYMPHATIC DRAINAGE MASSAGE - A therapeutic massage using a gentle pumping technique to drain away pockets of water retention and trapped toxins. Considered by many European cure doctors as a premier anti-aging treatment. Lymph drainage can be achieved through manual massage, hydro massage, or with aromatherapy massage. Sometimes called lymphatic drainage massage, it requires serious knowledge of the location of the lymph nodes. Be sure the masseuse or masseur knows what she/he is doing. Sometimes done on the face and neck, other times the entire body, lymph massage helps stimulate lymphatic circulation, which boosts the body's ability to eliminate wastes and absorb nutrients. It can also reduce swollen or puffy tissue and tone underlying tissue. Normally, lymph is drained by changes in the body's position and by the pumping action of nearby muscles. In otherwise healthy people who are physically very inactive and whose muscle tone is greatly diminished, excess fluid may accumulate in the lowest parts of the body such as the feet, ankles, or the small of the back. Large accumulations of fat under the skin can also cause mechanical interference with lymphatic drainage, resulting in edema. Increasing physical activity, muscle strengthening exercises, and when appropriate, calorie restriction to reduce the size of the fat deposit, best treat impaired lymphatic drainage in sedentary but otherwise healthy persons. Massage of the involved areas may provide temporary relief.


MACROBIOTIC SHIATSU - The theory or practice of promoting well-being and longevity, principally by means of a diet consisting chiefly of whole grains and beans.

MACROBIOTICS - An extremely restricted vegetarian diet, low in fat and high in antioxidant vitamins. This Eastern philosophy is perhaps best known in the West through its dietary principles. The macrobiotic diet offers a way to achieve a fuller sense of balance both within ourselves and with the world around us by synchronizing our eating habits with the cycles of nature.

MAGNETOTHERAPY (IMPULSE MAGNETIC FIELD) - Following an acupuncture treatment, a small magnet is taped over the treatment point and left for a period of approximately one week. This provides for a continuous treatment and is thus more effective.

MAKEUP CONSULTATION - This usually involves learning to apply makeup appropriate for your skin type, look and age. If this is not a spa's area of expertise, you may be disappointed with the results. However, if the spa has a full-service beauty salon, the results probably will be pleasing.

MANDALA - Sanskrit word literally meaning "circle" or "center." A mandala consists of a series of concentric forms, suggestive of a passage between different dimensions. Through the mandala, man and woman may be projected into the universe and the universe into man and woman.

MANICURE - A cosmetic treatment of the fingernails, including shaping and polishing.

MANUAL LYMPHATIC DRAINAGE MASSAGE - See lymphatic drainage massage.

MARIEL - A form of energy-balancing massage.

MARTIAL ARTS (KARATE, TAI CHI) - Any of several arts of combat and self-defense (as karate and judo) that are widely practiced as sport.

MASSAGE (THERAPY) - Manipulation of skin, muscle and joints (usually by hand) to relax muscle spasm, relieve tension, improve circulation and hasten elimination of wastes. It also stretches connective tissue and improves circulation. A wonderful antidote to stress and muscle tension, massage does not rub away weight, but will rub away fatigue, inducing relaxation. Various forms of massage include: Accupressure, Athletic Massage, Polarity Massage, Reflexology, Rolfing, Shiatsu, Sports Massage, Swedish Massage, Traeger Massage, Watsu.

MASSERCISE - A thermal mask applied to the lower body combined with massage to break up cellulite.

MAXIMAL HEART RATE - An individual's highest attainable heart rate (the number of heartbeats per minute). It is best determined by means of a graded maximal exercise test, but an estimate can be made by subtracting one's age from 220. See target heart rate.

MEDICAL HYDROLOGY - A form of energy-balancing massage.

MEDICAL SPA - A facility that operates under the full-time, on-site supervision of a licensed health care professional whose primary purpose is to provide comprehensive medical and wellness care in an environment that integrates spa services, as well as traditional, complimentary and/or alternative therapies and treatments. The facility operates within the scope of practice of its staff, which can include both Aesthetic/Cosmetic and Prevention/Wellness procedures and services.

MEDICINAL WATER - Mineral water, which has curative effects confirmed by medical observation and experiments. Medicinal waters can be cold or hot, but their curative effect and composition is essential. Most medicinal waters are thermal waters.

MEDITATION - A state of focused attention through which one emerges into an ever-increasing clear awareness of reality. Many forms of meditation are practiced. The deep relaxation of meditation heals the body, quiets the mind, and stimulates creativity and efficiency, thereby providing a sense of inner balance and peace. Often used as part of a stress reduction program, meditation is usually done in a peaceful setting outdoors or in a quiet room, away from distracting sounds and sights. As meditators assume a comfortable sitting position, an instructor tells them to concentrate on breathing in a slow, rhythmic motion, imaging the release of tension as they exhale. Often a simple word (or mantra) is repeated with each breath. The general purpose is to relax the body and quiet the ongoing chatter of the conscious mind. Practice is required to meditate effectively, but the physical benefits are well worth it. Meditation decreases the heart rate, oxygen consumption, blood pressure, blood lactate levels, muscle tension and metabolic rate. It increases alpha brain waves, alertness, awareness, creativity and psychological well being.

METABOLISM - All the biochemical activities occurring in living organisms, which, in aggregate, sustain life and support function. The chemical and physical processes continuously going on in living organism and cells, comprising those by which assimilated food is built up (anabolism) into protoplasm and those by which protoplasm is used and broken down (catabolism) into simpler substances or waste matter, resulting in the release of energy for all vital processes.

METAPHYSICAL - Based on speculative or abstract reasoning.

METAPHYSICS - The branch of philosophy that examines the nature of reality, including the relationship between mind and matter, substance and attribute, fact and value.

MIND / BODY (CONNECTION) - Category of activities based on speculative or abstract reasoning. These include: Reflection: Breathing exercises, gardening, meditation, nature walks, relaxation classes, stretching techniques, Tai Chi and yoga. Creative Activities: Arts and crafts, music, painting, poetry and writing. Workshops: Astrology, emotional health, lifestyle interview, relationships and couples, smoking addiction and stress-management.

MINERAL SPRINGS SPA - A spa offering an on-site source of natural mineral, thermal or seawater used in hydrotherapy treatments.

MINERAL WATER BATH - Soaking in hot or cool water from thermal springs which contains mineral salts, natural elements, and gases.

MINERAL WATERS - Water from springs and wells, which contain a minimum of 1,000 mgr./l solid components of rare, biologically active elements or compounds. Mineral waters can be cold or hot, but their mineral composition is essential.

MIRACLE - An event that appears unexplainable by the laws of nature and so is held to be supernatural or an act of God.

MOOR / PEAT BATHS - A natural, peat preparation (often imported from Austria), rich in organic matter, proteins, vitamins and trace minerals, applied to ease aches and pains. Can also be applied on a cloth as a pack.

MOVEMENT - DOMAIN III - Exercise, Fitness & Kinesiotherapies.

MOVEMENT THERAPY - A form of dance therapy.

MUD BATHS - See Fango therapy.

MUSCULOSKELETAL HEALTH ASSESSMENT - This often involves examining the range of motion, muscle strength, posture, gaits, flexibility and skeletal alignment in order to focus on problem areas that might require special exercises.


N.I.A. - Non-impact aerobics class.

NAPRAPATHY - A system of treatment by manipulation of connective tissue and adjoining structures (as ligaments, joints, and muscles) and by dietary measures which are held to facilitate the recuperative and regenerative processes of the body.

NATURAL HEALTH (FOOD) - Although no formal or legal definition exists, the term is generally used to describe foods that have not been processed or refined and do not contain additives or other artificial ingredients. Often "organic" means that the food has been grown without the use of any imbalanced fertilizers or harmful sprays. "Natural" foods are not necessarily more nutritious or safer to eat than processed foods available in the supermarkets.

NATUROPATHY - Natural medicine based on the healing power of nature. The term was coined in 1895 by Dr. John Scheel of New York to describe his methods of health care. Naturopaths believe that virtually all diseases are within the scope of their practice. Current methods include: fasting, "natural food" diets, vitamins, herbs, homeopathy, tissue minerals, cell salts, manipulation, massage, exercise, colonic enemas, acupuncture, "Chinese Medicine", natural childbirth, minor surgery, and applications of water, heat, cold, air, sunlight and electricity. Radiation may be used for diagnosis but not for treatments.

NAUTILUS - Patented strength-training equipment intended to isolate one muscle group for each exercise motion which shortens and lengthens against gravity.

NEPHROLOGY - A branch of medicine concerned with the kidneys.

NETWORK - A link that binds us together, making it possible for us to share work, aspirations, and ideals. Networking is a process of making connections with other people.

NEUROLOGICAL PROGRAMMING - A comprehensive approach to developing more effective communication skills. Students learn how the understanding of language and behavior affects how we present ourselves and interact with others.

NEUROLOGY - The scientific study of the nervous system especially in respect to its structure, functions, and abnormalities.

NEUROMUSCULAR THERAPY - Of, relating to, or affecting both nerves and muscles.

NEW AGE - Refers to the Aquarian Age which according to astrological calculations we entered in February of 1962. It is the period on this planet that has been predicted to usher in the Golden Age of love, joy and peace on earth. It requires our responsibility to live by nature's ways and to evolve spiritually in order to do our part in bringing this new world into being.

NEW AGE MUSIC - A synthesis of many different forms of music, resulting in a peaceful, somewhat "otherworldly" sound sometimes described as "spacey music."

NONDENOMINATIONAL - Not pertaining to any particular group, organization, or religious tendency or system of beliefs, but rather encompassing them all.

NORDIC TRACK - A patented cross-country ski machine design.

NUAT THAI ® - A form of energy-balancing massage.

NUTRIENTS - Substances derived from foods which are necessary for the functioning of the human body, including proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Nutrients are used by the body in three ways: to permit growth and repair of its tissues, to furnish energy and heat, and to regulate body processes.

NUTRITION COUNSELING - The review of an individual's eating habits and dietary needs by a qualified practitioner.


OBESITY - A bodily condition marked by excessive fat in adipose tissue. Obesity is often defined as being present in an individual who is 20 percent above the "optimal weight" for height and sex in standard height-weight tables.

ONCOLOGY - The study of tumors.

ONE-ON-ONE TRAINING - Personal instruction on exercise equipment from a professional exercise therapist.

ONSEN - Japanese natural mineral hot springs.

ORTHION (MACHINE) - A 3-dimensional mechanical massage table used to align spine and neck. The entire body, even the head, is strapped to the table that then gently pulls, stretches, lifts and massages strategic points to help loosen and relax muscles. An attendant controls the duration and degree of movement from a control panel.

OSTEOPATHIC (MEDICINE) - A system of medical practice based on a theory that diseases are due chiefly to loss of structural integrity that can be restored by manipulation of the parts supplemented by therapeutic measures (as in the use of medicine or surgery).

OVERWEIGHT - Usually defined as 20 percent or more above "desirable weight," using the midpoint of the range for persons of medium frame size in the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company height and weight tables (1959 or 1983).

OVO-LACTO DIET - A dietary program that includes eggs and dairy products.

OZONIZED BATHS - A tub of thermal water or sea water with a system of jets that provide streams of ozonized bubbles, used for relaxation and stimulation of circulation and as an aid for the relief of minor aches and pains.


PACKING (SEE COMPRESSES AND WRAPS) - Used on head, throat, chest, foot, knee, legs, abdomen.

PANCHAKARMA - Succession of cleansing and purifying treatments from Ayurveda, using nutrition, herbs, massage and meditative techniques aimed to restore the body’s own ability to create health.

PANTHERMAL - Lying in a fat metal tube which resembles an iron lung, hot dry air circulates around your body (with the head outside the tube) and you work up quite a sweat. Gentle jets of warm soapy water then hit you from all directions. Panthermal is designed to break down cellulite. It is not recommended for people who get claustrophobic.

PARAFANGO - Combination of mud and paraffin wax. See “Fango” and “Paraffin Treatment”.

PARAFFIN TREATMENT (BATH) - Warm paraffin wax is brushed over the body. The liquid wax coats the skin and, as it solidifies, forms a vacuum that causes any dirt in the pores to be drawn out, removes dead skin, and induces a loss of body fluid in the form of perspiration. The deep heat created by this treatment helps to relieve stress and promote relaxation. Treatments leave the skin silky-smooth.

PARCOURSE / PARCOURS - A path or trail with exercise stations along the way provided with instructions and equipment for sit-ups, pull-ups, chin-ups, and a variety of other "obstacles" that are fun and challenging and designed to increase balance, agility, flexibility and body awareness. Also called vita course and exercourse and written as two words, par cours(e).

PAST LIFE THERAPY - Utilizes past life experiences and images to explore unconscious and conscious parts of ourselves in a manner similar to analyzing our dreams.

PEDICURE - Nail care and treatment of the feet. Includes soaking feet in warm soapy water and removing dry skin with a pumice stone or a special razor. Also includes a foot and leg massage and concludes with polishing of nails, if desired.

PELL-AMAR - A sapropelic mud extract devised by Dr. Ionescu-Calinesti of Romania used in drug or cosmetic form for a variety of diseases (e.g. rheumatism, gynecological and skin diseases).

PHARMACOTHERAPY - The treatment of disease, especially mental illness, with drugs.

PHYSICAL - Of or pertaining to the expression of the body.

PHYSICAL THERAPY - The treatment of physical dysfunction or injury by the use of therapeutic exercise and the application of modalities, intended to restore or facilitate normal function or development.

PHYSIOCHINEITHERAPY - Therapy that uses heat, light, electricity, mechanical means and movement.

PHYTOTHERAPY - Literally, healing treatment through plants, phytotherapy involves the use of herbs, aromatic essential oils, seaweed and herbal and floral extracts. Applied through massage, packs or wraps, water and steam therapies, inhalation treatments, homeotherapy and also includes the drinking of herbal teas.

PILATES (METHOD) - Strength training movements involving coordinated breathing techniques developed in Germany by Dr. Joseph Pilates during the 1920s.

PLACENTA IMPLANTS - Implantation of a tiny piece of live placenta, generally in a small incision around the waist area, used for the revitalization of the entire system. Placenta is said to regenerate new cells and renew organs and glands, retarding aging, and helping to overcome illness.

PLYOMETRICS - Jumping and pushing steps to build up leg muscles. See also step aerobics.

PODIATRY - The study and treatment of foot ailments.

POLARITY MASSAGE (THERAPY) - Concept created by the Austrian born Dr. Randolph Stone in the early 1900s that is based on principles of energy and a philosophy derived from East Indian Ayurvedic teachings. Polarity therapy is designed to balance the body's subtle or electromagnetic energy through touch, stretching exercises, diet and mental-emotional balanced attitude. A four-part program is involved that restores the body's proper energy balance: clear thinking (positive mental attitude), bodywork (to alleviate energy blockages), body movement (stretching postures combining movement, breathing and sound), and diet (fresh vegetables, fruits and natural foods). As in other forms of bodywork, the practitioner of polarity therapy is viewed as a non-judgmental channel that the client can use to discover his or her own self-healing powers.

POWER - Anaerobic force exerted by muscle.

POWER YOGA - Form of yoga with an accelerated succession of yoga body postures.

PRIMORDIAL SOUND - Meditative technique from Ayurveda, using sound to restore balance and harmony.

PRITIKIN THERAPY - Strict program with a "military like" attitude toward health, especially the health of the heart. The Pritikin Program insists that one must cut all fat from the diet except for small amounts found in whole grains and vegetables. Use of any kind of animal or dairy products is limited. Use of carbohydrates such as sugar, syrup, molasses, and honey is forbidden, as are alcohol, salt, soda pop, coffee and black tea. According to the Pritikin Program you can eat unrefined, complex carbohydrate foods, whole grains, potatoes, vegetables and fruit. Avocados and soybeans are not allowed in the diet. This program does not allow for any vitamins or nutritional supplements and limits the daily fat intake to 10% fat.

PROCAINE (H3) THERAPY - A therapy based on the revitalization substance H7, a further development of H3 (Aslan therapy). This therapy normalizes and regulates metabolic processes and improves the oxygen supply to cells and tissue.

PROTEIN - An essential foodstuff required for growth and repair of body tissues. Chicken, fish, lean meat, cheese, eggs, and peanut butter are good sources of protein. Complete proteins contain all of the essential amino acids in significant t amounts and in the proportions necessary to maintain life and to support growth. Incomplete proteins lack certain amino acids that are essential to maintain life and support growth.

PROTEIN - SPARING - Referring to the ability of a diet or a medication to reduce the rate at which the body loses protein from its lean tissues (such as muscles and organs). More body protein is lost by individuals who fast than by those who adhere to a protein-sparing diet. Protein-sparing modified fast -see also fast.

PSYCHIC (DEVELOPMENT/READINGS/COUNSELING) - Pertaining to the human mind or psyche; pertaining to the extraordinary, especially extrasensory and nonphysical, mental processes such as extrasensory perception and mental telepathy.

PSYCHOLOGICAL - Of or involving the mind and the emotions.

PSYCHOSOMATIC - Involving both mind and body (e.g., the psychosomatic nature of man). Also refers to bodily symptoms caused by mental or emotional disturbance (e.g., psychosomatic illness).

PSYCHOTHERAPY - Treatment of mental or emotional disorder, or of related bodily ills, by psychological means.

PURIFICATION - To make or become clean or pure.




RACE WALKING - This brisk, exaggerated, aerobic form of walking looks like exercise on a cartoon, but helps develop stomach, thigh and buttock muscle tone.


RADU - Rigorous, low-impact aerobics for advanced students that utilizes hand weights, sticks and low benches.

RE-BIRTHING - An extension of yogic breathing technique, combined with guided meditation, that allows total relaxation and clearing of the mind of non-supportive thought patterns. Sometimes includes reliving the birth experience.

REBOUNDER - A miniature trampoline.

RECOMMENDED DAILY (DIETARY) ALLOWANCES (RDA) - Amounts of nutrients recommended by the Food and Nutrition Board of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences National Research Council as adequate for the maintenance of good nutrician.

REFLEXOLOGY - Ancient Chinese technique using pressure point massage (usually on the feet, but also hands and ears) to restore the flow of energy throughout the body. Also known as zone therapy, a turn-of-the-century practice fostered by three American physicians (Bowers, White and Fitzgerald). In their view, energy travels from critical zones of the body and ends its journey in the feet. Charts are available showing which zones correspond to which internal organs. The theory is that when excessive granular texture is felt in the feet as pressure is applied, it indicates the presence of uric acid crystallization. By rubbing the crystals on the nerve endings in the soles, a reflex reaction is supposedly set up between the zone and its associated body part. Reflexology is one of the massage techniques a person can learn to self-administer. Reflexology is recommended for chronic conditions such as asthma, headaches and migraines. Applied as hand, foot or ear massage using pressure points similar to acupressure.

REGRESSION THERAPY - Healing through being taken back to previous states, ages and /or conditions; the principle is based on working through any traumatic and/or unresolved past experiences.

REHABILITATION (MEDICINE) - To restore to good health or useful life, as through therapy and education.

REICHIAN RELEASE - Of or pertaining to the expression of the body.

REIKI - Meaning "universal life-force energy," a scientific method of activating and balancing the life-force energy present in all living things. Techniques are applied to the entire body, channeling energy to organs and glands, and aligning the chakras (energy centers). Intended to relieve acute emotional and physical conditions. See also Radiance Technique.

REJUVENATE - To restore to youthful vigor or appearance; make young again.

RELAXATION - To become less formal or tense; to relieve from strain.

RELEASE AND BALANCE - Stretching exercise that releases energy and improves posture.

REPAICHAGE (REPECHAGE) MASSAGE/FACIAL - Treatment applied to face or full body, using a combination of herbal, seaweed, and clay or mud masks to create deep cleansing and moisturizing.

RESORT AMENITY - A variety of services offered by resort hotels. Some resorts have gone beyond the perfunctory salon services and hot tubs and today are offering elaborate, imaginative and highly professional spa services to their guests.

RESORT/HOTEL SPA - A spa within a resort or hotel providing professionally administered spa services, fitness and wellness components and spa cuisine menu choices.

RESOURCE PARTNERS - Any person or company that provides services and/or products that support the spa industry.

RESPIRATION - The oxidative process occurring within living cells by which the chemical energy of organic molecules is released in a series of metabolic steps involving the consumption of oxygen and the liberation of carbon dioxide and water.

RESPIRATORY (MEDICINE) - Of, relating to, used in, or affecting respiration.

REVITALIZATION - Therapy used to stimulate fatigued or aging organisms, which assist an organism in defending itself and resisting the wear and tear of time and aging.

RHEUMATOLOGY (MEDICINE) - A medical science dealing with rheumatic diseases (those related to rheumatism).

RIGHT/LEFT BRAIN INTEGRATION - The integration or balancing of the right, or "feminine," side of the brain with the left, or "masculine," side of the brain.

ROLFING - A technique developed by Ida Rolf of deep muscular manipulation and massage for the relief of rigid muscles, bones and joints. It is designed to improve energy flow and relieve stress most often related to emotional trauma. A complete Rolfing treatment consists of a series of ten sessions which progress from superficial to deeper layers of tissue and from localized areas of constriction to an overall reorganization of larger body segments. This method of intensive manipulation may sometimes be experienced as painful. See also Deep Tissue Massage.

ROMAN (POOL) BATH - The Romans cherished bathing above all other luxuries. Roman baths consisted of hot, warm and cold pools. Today the term usually refers to a hot whirlpool/Jacuzzi, with benches to sit on for one or more persons.

ROWING MACHINE - An exercise machine that simulates rowing; it can include computer graphics.

RUBBER-BAND WORKOUTS - Giant rubber bands used for resistance techniques in calisthenics. Also called elastics.

RUBENFELD SYNERGY METHOD - A practice developed by Ilana Rubenfeld of merging body and mind through verbal expression and gentle touch.

RUSSIAN (STEAM) BATH - A steam bath.


SACRED (SITES) - Dedicated to or set apart for worship; worthy of reverence or respect; spiritual. Sacred sites are those places all over the world that are felt to be places of concentrated power and influence.

SALT GLOW (RUB) - The body is rubbed with a vigorous, abrasive scrub, consisting of coarse salt usually mixed with essential oils and water. Cleanses pores and removes dead skin. It is usually followed by a gentle shower and body moisturizer.

SAUNA - A dry heat treatment (at less than 10% humidity) in a wood-lined room with temperatures of 160-210° Fahrenheit, designed to bring about sweating to cleanse the body of impurities. After a sauna, a cool to cold shower closes the pores and brings down body temperature. In the Finnish bath tradition, where this practice originated, even higher temperatures are sought as heat is generated by a stove containing a heap of stones (kiuas) over which water is thrown to produce vapor (loyly).

SCALP AND HAIR TREATMENTS - The products used vary from spa to spa. Some use natural ingredients, such as a sea kelp mixture; others use chemically based products. However, the process and results are generally the same: a thorough cleansing, conditioning and scalp massage that leaves hair shiny and full of body.

SCHWINN AIR-DYNE BICYCLE - A stationary exercise bicycle that works both the upper and lower body simultaneously.

SCOTCH HOSE / SWISS SHOWER (DOUCHE MASSAGE) - Standing body massage delivered by therapist with high-pressure hoses. This invigorating shower tones circulation by contracting then dilating capillaries as water from sixteen needle-spray shower heads and two high-pressure hoses (operated by an attendant), ranging in temperature from 45° F to 105° F, is turned quickly from hot to cold to hot for several seconds at a time. This massage aids circulation and helps relieve the pain of arthritis and rheumatism.

SEAWEED (BODY) WRAP - Similar to herbal wraps combined with heat packs, using sea water and seaweed with a balance of the ocean's nutrients; minerals, rare trace elements, vitamins and proteins, which are soaked into the blood stream, to revitalize skin and body.

SELF-HEALING - The art of healing oneself.

SELF-REALIZATION - The quest for complete comprehension and understanding of who and what we are and why we are here.

SHAMANISM (SHAMANIC) - Spiritual and natural healing performed by a medicine man.

SHIATSU (MASSAGE) - Means "finger" (shi) "pressure" (atsu), a cross between acupuncture and massage developed in Japan by Tokujiro Namikoshi in the 1940s. Like accupressure, Shiatsu works with vital points and energy meridians and uses finger-thumb-palm pressure. Unlike accupressure, Shiatsu also manipulates other parts of the body in the course of treatment. Intended to stimulate the body's inner powers of balance and healing.

SILICEOUS THERMAL (HOT SAND) BATH - Containing, resembling, relating to, or consisting of silica.

SITZ BATH - A bathtub shaped like a chair in which the hips and lower body are immersed in herbal hot water, followed by cold water, while soaking feet in water alternating from cold to hot to stimulate the immune system. Also a Kneipp treatment for constipation, hemorrhoids, prostate problems, menstrual problems, and digestive upsets.

SKIN GLOW RUB - Skin is softened with a sauna, then mineral water and sometimes salt are massaged into the skin, leaving it soft and glowing.

SKIN MASKE (MASQUE) - A preparation usually applied to the face and neck to stimulate local circulation, tone, cleanse and tighten pores and remove dry skin. Ingredients are varied to accommodate specific needs of one's skin type and condition.

SLENISUIM BODY WRAP - Body is covered in oils, wrapped and left to relax. Eliminates both toxins and fluids.

SLIDE ® - Non-impact aerobic exercise that utilizes a sliding pad.

SOCIAL - CULTURAL DOMAIN VIII - Leisure, Recreation, Tourism and the Arts.

SOMA - The body of an individual as contrasted with the mind or psyche.

SOMA NEUROMUSCULAR INTEGRATION - Of or pertaining to the expression of the body.

SOMATIC EDUCATION - Of, relating to, or affecting the body, especially as distinguished from a body part, the mind, or the environment; corporeal or physical.

SOUND VIBRATION - Sound is the cause, not the effect, of vibration. Each one of us has our own vibration pattern. When one centers and strengthens this pattern, one can draw strength and sustenance from the life system of which we are all a part. In the metaphysical senses, sound is the first principle, that which creates and destroys matter.

SPA CUISINE - Fresh, natural foods low in saturated fats and cholesterol, with an emphasis on whole grains, low-fat dairy products lean proteins, fresh fruit, fish, and vegetables and an avoidance of added salt and products containing sodium and artificial colorings, flavorings, and preservatives.

SPINNING ® - An aerobic form of exercise class using special stationary bicycles.

SPIRITUAL - Of, relating to, consisting of, or affecting the spirit or relating to sacred; concerned with religious values.

SPIROMETRY - A clinical evaluation of the breathing function.

SPORTS MASSAGE - Deep-tissue massage directed specifically at muscles used in athletic activities. This massage can be either preventive or corrective in approach. Because it is given to those whose body tone and condition is tied to performance, it can be as specific as working over of leg muscles (in a runner, for example), or kneading muscles to assure optimal flexibility appropriate to the sport the person is engaged in.

SPORTS STRETCH - Stretching exercises to limber up and better prepare the body for rigorous athletics.

SPORTS/ADVENTURE SPAS - Hotel or resort providing therapeutic baths and body treatments and that offer special sports and outdoor adventure programs that include anything from golf to skiing, fly-fishing to marathon conditioning.

STAIR MASTER - A patented exercise machine that simulates climbing stairs.

STEAM BATH - Steam Bath Types: head, foot, tent, local, full body

STEAM ROOM - A ceramic-tiled room with wet heat generated by temperatures of 110-130° Fahrenheit designed to soften the skin, cleanse the pores, calm the nervous system and relieve tension.

STEP CLASS (STEP AEROBICS) - Aerobic workout that incorporates rhythmic stepping on and off a small platform.

STRENGTHEN AND TONE - See flexercise.

STRESS - Physical, mental, emotional and/or spiritual fatigue and exhaustion.

STRESS MANAGEMENT - A program of meditation and deep relaxation intended to reduce the ill effects of stress on the system. Most spas offer a variety of tension-relieving techniques that fall under the category of stress management (yoga, meditation, guided relaxation and visualization, stretching and breathing exercises, positive thinking, and nutritional counseling).

STRETCHING - Use of different body positions to extend various parts of the body, aimed at relieving tension and stress, and increase flexibility. See flexercise.

STRUCTURED SPA - Spas with a strict set of rules whose entire facility is geared towards the achievement of a particular goal such as weight loss, or fitness.

SWEAT LODGE - An ancient Native American body purification ceremony involving the use of intense heat similar to that of a sauna and other methods to provoke visions and insights.

SWEDISH MASSAGE - The most commonly offered and best known type of massage. Devised at the University of Stockholm in 1812 by Henri Peter Ling, this technique employs five different movements (long strokes; kneading of individual muscles; percussive, tapping movement; rolling of the fingers; and vibration) and oils beneficial to the skin. Used to improve the circulation, ease muscle aches and tension, improve flexibility and create relaxation. Swedish massage is done with the person covered by a sheet, where each part of the body to be worked on is exposed in turn and then re-covered. The massage practitioners use kneading, stroking, friction, tapping and even shaking motions. Oil is used to reduce or eliminate friction and to facilitate making long, smooth, kneading stokes over the tissue and muscles of the body.

SWIMNASTICS - Water exercises to slim and tone the body.

SWISS SHOWER - Standing body massage delivered by therapist with high-pressure hoses. This invigorating shower tones circulation by contracting, then dilating capillaries as water from sixteen needle-spray shower heads and two high-pressure hoses (operated by an attendant), ranging in temperature from 45° F to 105° F is turned quickly from hot to cold to hot for several seconds at a time. This massage aids circulation and helps relieve the pain of arthritis and rheumatism.


TAI CHI (CHUAN) - A Chinese Taoist martial art form of "meditation in movement" which combines mental concentration, coordinated breathing, and a series of slow, graceful body movements. While this ancient system looks like a slow-motion dance of graceful movements and deep, relaxed breathing, it is a mobile meditation, used for health, relaxation, self-defense and to induce energy. It's widely practiced in the Orient by people of all ages.

TANTRIC SHIATSU - Any of a comparatively recent class of Hindu or Buddhist religious literature written in Sanskrit and concerned with mysticism and magic.

TARGET HEART RATE - The number of heartbeats per minute an individual tries to reach during exercise; the figure is 60% to 90% of one's maximal heart rate. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends maintaining this rate for 20-30 minutes during exercise three to five days a week. See maximal heart rate.

TAROT - Uses cards forming a series of transformative images whose origins are rooted in Western mystic tradition. Through these images, one may draw forth information from the unconscious, illuminating and clarifying the profound meaning of the moment in question.

THALASSOTHERAPY - An ancient Greek therapy (thalasso is Greek for sea) these treatments use the therapeutic benefits of the sea, and sea water products for their vitamins, minerals and trace elements, which can heal and reinvigorate skin and hair. Various treatments include: Individual baths of fresh seawater equipped with powerful underwater jets for deep massage; or a therapist applies manual massage to body with hoses. Body wrap, similar to herbal wrap, but using seaweed or sea algae paste, to eliminate toxins, restore minerals and skin elasticity. As with most wraps, it usually involves seaweed paste rubbed on the body, which is then covered with sheets and sometimes blankets for 10 to 20 minutes. Use of sea water and sea air to treat a disease; living near the sea, bathing in the water and breathing sea air.

THERAPEUTIC TOUCH - A form of lying on of the hands which creates a balance by transmitting energy and releasing energy blockages. It is a method of drawing and channeling the healing forces within and around us.

THERAPY - The treatment of ill-health or disability.

THERMAL (HERBAL) WRAP - A procedure claimed to eliminate "toxins" from your body through perspiration and promote muscle relaxation in which your body is wrapped in hot, wet linen sheets infused with herbal essences, and then covered with a blanket or plastic sheet to retain the heat. A cool compress is applied to your forehead. If you are claustrophobic and do not want to be completely swaddled, you can ask that your arms and hands be left outside your Egyptian mummy-like wrapping.

THERMAL (TERME, THERME) - Of, relating to, using, producing, or caused by heat.

THERMAL (TONALASTIL) WRAP - Body wrap using oils and a thermal covering to eliminate toxins and excess fluids; tones and firms.

THERMAL WATER - Water whose temperature is steadily higher than 35°C (95°F).

THERMOTHERAPY - Heat treatment involving the use of various forms of heat for therapeutic purposes.

TIME - SPACE - ENERGY - DOMAIN X - Rhythms, Life Style Patterns and Kurs.

TOTAL BODY ELECTRICAL CONDUCTIVITY (TOBEC) - A rapid and convenient method for measuring body composition. It is based on the principle that electrical energy is conducted better by the body's fat-free mass (including muscle and other lean tissues) than by fat.

TOUCH AND TONE - Exercises to firm the body.

TRAEGER (BODY WORK) MASSAGE - A technique developed by Hawaiian physician Dr. Milton Traeger that employs a gentle, rhythmic shaking of the body to release tension from the joints. The client lies on a padded table while the practitioner works on the body using gentle, rhythmic movements that do not involve any force, pressure or oils. Sessions are from one to one-and-a-half hours long. Structural and functional improvements occur spontaneously as a result of sensory repatterning in the mind, as the body is rhythmically moved by the practitioner, producing deep relaxation and release of mental and physical stresses. There is minimal verbal communication between client and practitioner. Critical to the accomplishment of the work, this state of mind permits the practitioner to connect deeply and sensitively with the client without experiencing fatigue. A series of sessions are recommended because the benefits appear to be cumulative.

TRANSFORMATION - The act of changing or state of being changed. To change markedly.

TREADMILL - An exercise device that simulates walking or running at various set speeds. Used for cardiovascular workouts.

TRIGLYCERIDE - Chemical name for neutral fat, a concentrated calorie source found in varying amounts in most foods. In the blood, triglycerides circulate as a component of lipoprotein molecules, which also contain cholesterol and other lipids.


ULCOSILVANIL - Devised by Dr. Ioan Puscas of Romania, this drug is effective in the treatment of ulcerous diseases.

ULTRA SOUND - The use of high frequency sound waves to ease aches and pains.

UNIVERSAL GYM - A patented weight training system with multiple stations designed to work different muscle groups.

UV EXPOSURE - Of or relating to being exposed to the range of invisible radiation wavelengths from about 4 nanometers, on the border of the x-ray region, to about 380 nanometers, just beyond the violet in the visible spectrum. Ultraviolet light or the ultraviolet part of the spectrum.


VEGAN - A type of vegetarian who does not eat any animal products. A vegan diet excludes all dairy, eggs, and honey.

VEGETARIAN DIET - A dietary regime of raw or cooked vegetables and fruit, grains, sprouts, and seeds; natural foods with no additives. A “vegetarian” does not eat any "meat," that is, any animal product that results from the killing of that animal. They may eat by-products such as dairy, eggs and honey that are excluded from a "vegan" diet.

VERSA CLIMBER - A patented exercise machine with moving rungs that simulates the climbing of a ladder. Used for cardiovascular workouts.

VIBRATORY (PNEUMOTHERAPY) MASSAGE - A massage characterized by, or consisting of vibration.

VICHY SHOWER (THERAPY) - Invigorating shower treatment from several water jets of varying temperatures and pressures applied while lying on a waterproof cushioned mat. This treatment is often followed by exfoliating treatments such as Dulse scrub, loofah or salt-glow.

VISION QUEST - A type of rite of passage, based largely on Native American tradition, although similar rites of passage are practiced by many old native cultures. Most vision quests call for a period of time alone with nature.

VISUALIZATION - Similar to light hypnosis used to create a soothing environment for relaxing, or sometimes to overcome problems. See Creative Visualization.


WATSU - Healing massage treatment performed in a warm pool with water waist-high. The therapist administers rhythmic movements, pressure-point massage, and stretches to relieve stiffness and promote deep relaxation.

WAXING - Hair removal process that involves application of warm wax followed by a strip of cloth quickly pulled away from skin.

WEIGHT TRAINING - Use of free weights or weight machines in a series of repetitive exercises in order to tone the body and add or replace lean muscle mass while also raising metabolism.

WHIRLPOOL - Baths equipped with hydrojets utilizing electric pumps and automated air vents to soothe muscle tension, aches, and pains with streams of heated water. Whirlpool baths can supplement spa services by providing stress-relieving, therapeutic hydromassage.




YOGA - An ancient Hindu system of stretching and toning the body through movements or postures (asanas), composed of deep breathing, relaxation methods, and diet. Yoga is frequently part of stress-reduction programs. It helps improve muscle tone, flexibility and mobility; reduces stress and anxiety; and induces a sense of well-being. The word "yoga" denotes a concept of discipline leading to union. The body and the mind form a continuum of consciousness and life that, when achieving a state of focus and clarity, may unite with Universal Spirit.


ZEN (SHIATSU) - A Japanese accupressure art intended to ease tension and balance the body.


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