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What to Expect Before, During, and After a Spa Treatment

Nothing is more indulgent, relaxing, and restoring than a trip to the spa. Whether it's your first time or you're a spa regular, we asked Amanda Wells, the spa director at The Setai Spa Wall Street, to give us tips to making the most of your spa experience. Learn when to eat before and after, how to prolong your state of bliss, and more when you read on.

Eat an hour before: "When it comes to eating, you don’t want to be extremely full, otherwise being on your stomach would just be uncomfortable," Wells explains. "It’s OK to snack lightly right before your massage, and eating a light meal 60 to 90 minutes before your service is ideal."

Arrive early: "We recommend arriving at least 15 minutes early in order to change into a robe and slippers," Wells says. "But we encourage our guests to arrive 30 to 45 minutes early to use the jacuzzi, sauna, and aromatherapy steam amenities." Be sure to ask what amenities are available at your local spa.

Use the heat amenities: "Using the heat amenities before a massage warms your muscles, making it easier for you to relax once on the massage table and allows the therapist to achieve better results," Wells explains. For a facial, only use the steam room and heat amenities before your service, not after.

Talk to your therapist: Let your therapist know of any medical conditions or surgeries, allergies, any current ailments, what areas to focus on and any areas to avoid, and the level of pressure you prefer. Also be sure to mention if you're pregnant or need fragrance-free options.

Undressing: "Being completely nude is entirely up to the discretion of the guest," Wells says. "Most spas do provide disposable underwear and bra tops for clients to wear during body treatments. However, you will be properly covered. The only area exposed will be the area being worked on by the therapist."

Make sure you're comfortable: "A therapist should always check in with you about seven to 10 minutes into the service to make sure you are comfortable with the level of pressure." But don't be afraid to speak up if something is uncomfortable during your treatment or if you have a question or request.

Drink water: Because massage increases blood flow and stimulates circulation, it's important to rehydrate after a treatment.

Have a light snack: "Massage work increases your circulation and speeds up digestion, so eat a small snack right after a massage to give yourself an electrolyte boost."

Stay warm: Just because your treatment is over doesn't mean it's time to leave. Continue to relax and stay warm using the spa's heat amenities. Wells also recommends a warm neck pillow for at-home relaxation.

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