Champneys Blog

Spa Glossary: Popular spa terms and what they mean

Whether you’re a health farm novice or an experienced spa goer, there are so many different treatments and terms out there that it can be hard to keep up.

Here at Champneys HQ, we’ve created a spa glossary of words and phrases that are commonly used by professionals in the health and beauty industry. This guide includes explanations for all the trending fitness lingo, the names of treatments and other related spa words, so you’ll know your acupuncture from your acupressure.

A - Z



This ancient Chinese treatment is where your therapist uses their hands and fingertips on specific points throughout your body. Acupressure relieves stress and promotes good health and it’s perfect for anyone who is struggling to sleep.


Another popular and traditional Chinese healing technique is acupuncture. This treatment sees fine needles inserted just under the skin into your meridians and has been known to treat carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches, lower back pain and lots more.


Beauty Treatments

Beauty Treatments is a term used for a variety of different spa treatments; from bikini waxing and eyebrow tinting to make-up lessons and spray tans.

Body Composition Analysis

As part of our specialist boot camps, we offer Body Composition Analysis. This analyses your body to identify health issues that relate to the distribution of fat and muscle. To do this, a series of tests take place.



We just had to include ourselves in our own glossary! Starting out more than 90 years ago, we are the UK’s original health resort and boast six health spa resorts and six city spas.

Circuit training

Most spa resorts offer fitness programmes and many will include circuit training sessions. This consists of different cardio and weight exercises that are completed one after another and each exercise is performed for a certain number of repetitions.


Day spa

A spa resort that offers a number of relaxing and pampering treatments that can last from an hour to a whole day.

Deep tissue massage

Deep tissue massages, like the Champneys 50 minute deep tissue massage, realign deeper layers of muscles and connective tissue. Dave Wheeler from DW Sports Massage says, “A deep tissue massage gets not only to the body, but also to the brain.”


This term is used to describe treatments that cleanse the body. As Organic Nutrition explains, “Doing a Detox means removing harmful or potentially damaging substances from our bodies, our environment and our diet.” Read our guide about the different detoxes for the New Year to find out the perfect detox cleanses for you.



This treatment uses natural jojoba beads to remove dead skin cells from the face or body. Here at Champneys, we offer a full body exfoliation that not only makes your skin feel smoother, but boosts circulation too.

Essential Oils

These liquids are extracted from plants and flowers and are used in treatments such as aromatherapy massages to enhance your mood and relax your body. Elizabeth Dhokia, the lifestyle and travel blogger for Rosalilium adds, “One of my favourite things about my spa days is the use of essential oils. I adore how the scents can take you to another place, they are instantly relaxing, or uplifting. Whenever I smell essential oils in everyday life it takes me straight back to the relaxing times I have at the spa.”



This generic term is used for treatments on the face such as massages, cleansing, exfoliating and moisturising treatments.

Fitness classes

Our services focus on your health and fitness goals and these include fitness evaluations, personal training and other classes.


Gel manicure

This manicure treatment uses a gel polish. It is widely considered that gel polish is more hard-wearing than regular polishes and therefore lasts longer. Talking about gel polishes in her The Style Confessions blog, Heather Fonseca says, “Yes, it’s almost perfect after a week and it looked great for another two weeks. I was amazed.” You can try our Jessica GELeration 25 Minute Gel Nails Shape and Polish treatment during a stay at Champneys.


Hot Stone Massage

Also known as thermotherapy, this treatment uses heated, smooth and flat stones that are laid on key points of the body. A hot stone massage has many benefits including reducing tension and soothing muscles.


This refers to the therapeutic use of water. This can include treatments that use water jets to massage muscles or hydrotherapy pools to exercise in. At Champneys, you can try Hydrotherapy.


Indian head massage

This deeply relaxing therapy is effective in combating stress and involves massaging the scalp, neck, shoulders and face. The Indian head massage boosts circulation and eases headaches and sinus problems.



Introduced by Roy Jacuzzi in 1968, Jacuzzis and hot tubs are now sold all over the world from retailers like Jacuzzi Spa and Bath. The creation has been ever-present in spas as this form of hydrotherapy helps to promote relaxation, pain relief and soothes overworked muscles.


As you may have read in our beginner’s guide to juicing, this is one of this year’s biggest health trends and is an easy way to eat (or drink in this case) your five a day. Juicing sees you extract juice from fruit and vegetables and it has many health benefits.


Kneipp Bath

A term that refers to herbal and mineral baths. The therapy originated in the mid-1800s by German Sebastian Kneipp and originally involved people taking icy dips into the Danube. Now people immerse themselves in both warm and cold water and it is combined with exercise and spiritual practices.


Lymphatic drainage

A therapeutic treatment that uses pulsing motions to encourage the lymph in your body, which are a network of tissues and organs that help get rid of toxins. The drainage massage increases the flow of lymph around your body and refreshes your immune system. The Good Spa Guide adds, “The massage uses very light pressure and long, gentle, rhythmic strokes to increase the flow of lymph and reduce toxins in your body.”

Lava Shell Massage

This massage uses warm shells that allow your muscles to relax. It is perfect if you’re suffering from aches and pains.



One of the most familiar words on our list; this popular beauty treatment is for your hands and nails. Tools, creams, oils and massage techniques are all used to clean and shape your nails.


When expert masseuses manipulate your tissues to improve your health and wellbeing by relieving tension and relaxing muscles. At Champneys, a wide range of massage treatments are available. 


Ape to Gentleman say mindfulness is another term that spa goers use a lot, “Not only does a spa deliver physical benefits for the body and skin but also, switch off your mobile phone and give your mind a digital detox. Be present in the moment to your own thoughts, feelings and surroundings. You’ll feel physically and mentally re-energised.”



According to the College of Naturopathic Medicine, naturopathy is a holistic medical system that is based on the healing power of nature. It focuses on prevention and treating causes, not symptoms, through natural foods, vitamins, supplements, exercise and other natural methods.


Oxygen Facial

This treatment involves oxygen and other nutrients being gently vacuumed onto the face and this facial is believed to reduce the signs of aging.



Pilates involves a range of slow, precise exercises. Total Fitness, says, “Pilates is a form of exercise which concentrates on strengthening the body with an emphasis on core strength. This helps to improve general fitness and overall well-being.” At Champneys, we offer Yoga and Pilates retreats that you can enjoy.



This word means energy and some people believe Qi flows along the meridians that map your body. If your Qi is flowing appropriately, then you’re balanced, healthy and well in mind, body and spirit. You can align your Qi through acupuncture and zen meditation.



These types of ancient treatments work on key pressure points in your feet that resonate with other parts of the body. Our therapists here at Champneys can help bring back balance to your body and mind.

Resort spa

This terminology refers to a holiday destination where a spa facility not only offers a range of treatments, but other recreational activities like tennis, walks, cycle routes etc.


Seaweed Wrap

The seaweed wrap helps cleanse, purify and detox your skin. After your skin is brushed, you will be wrapped in seaweed as this helps to draw out toxins and nourish your body.

Sports Massage

A sports massage is designed to release tension within muscles and tissues and it helps prevent or treat injuries. It is also used to try and enhance sports performance.


Thai Massage

Thai massages involve yogalike stretching and pressure-point massages. They relieve tension and increases flexibility.


This umbrella term describes a selection of treatments that use seawater, seaweed and other natural elements from the ocean. Examples of the treatments include seaweed wraps and underwater jet massages.


Ultrasound spa treatments

These treatments use low-frequency sound waves to cause friction beneath the surface of the skin. This method rejuvenates the skin and is used in a variety of treatments like facials and cellulite reduction.


Vichy shower

This shower treatment is often enjoyed after a body scrub or wrap as 5-7 water jets spray water on you. It is supposed to reduce stress and improve circulation.



This spa treatment will see your body cocooned in a nourishing layer of oils and body butters. Body wraps can hydrate your skin and soothe muscles.


Waxing is a temporary hair removal method. Different waxes include bikini waxes, Hollywood waxes and full leg waxes to name a few.




This physical practice involves controlled breathing, a series of postures and meditation. It can strengthen and tone your body and often concentrates on the core. Yoga also helps relax your mind due to the focus on breathing and meditation.



This term is a Japanese teaching that relates to meditation. It encourages you to focus on one thing and not worry about things that you cannot change. Jess, the blogger behind Jessica Loves, says, “The feeling of pure relaxation and peacefulness. Escape the daily stresses of life by emptying your mind of any worries and focusing solely on enjoying the moment. People often say Zen is how they feel during a day at the spa - most health spas have a tranquil Zen room where you go following a treatment devoted to peace, tranquillity and emotional well-being.”