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When you think of spas, these are the thoughts that probably come to mind:
i. It must be for the rich and famous.

ii. I can't afford it.

Traditionally spas, which provide therapeutic treatments that are both regenerative and relaxing, are set in exotic locations in luxurious settings and tend to be expensive.

However, you don't need to spend a bomb to experience a spa treatment.

You can get a flavour of what spas are all about at their cheaper and more accessible cousins -- salon spas and day spas.

ServicesThese range from a simple facial to elaborate body treatments. We highlight the main treatments.

A treatment that deep cleanses and maintains the skin by removing its dead cells, facials are becoming more and more popular as working individuals become more beauty-conscious.

A facial involves skin analysis, deep cleansing, massage, extraction of blackheads and whiteheads, toning, refreshing and moisturising.

Choose from a variety of exotic sounding facials such as aromatherapy, fruit therapy, detoxification, revival therapy and so on, depending on your skin type, age and complexion.

The revival facial, for example is recommended for sagging skin. The aromatherapy facial uses essential oils (extracts or essences from flowers, herbs, trees) and can be modified to suit all skin types. A fruit facial tones normal skin.

Such specialised facials are now offered at many salons. For example, the Lakme Salon, which has branches in many parts of the country, offers a range of 46 facials formulated to suit various skin types and age groups. These will cost you anywhere between Rs 350 to Rs 1,500.

Nitasha Singh, 28, who works with an advertising agency in Mumbai, says, "I started getting regular facials at the age of 26. I get one every month now. My regular haunts are the Lakme Salon or VLCC. They work as great stress busters and rejuvenators."

Paritosh Mohite, 31, a creative consultant with a music company, adds, "I have been getting regular facials and back massages over the past six months and find that they reduce stress dramatically."

However, there are people who believe facials should be done only after the age of 30 when your skin begins to need tightening and toning. Television actress Shilpa Saklani (Ganga in Kyunki... Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi...) says, "Body massage is the only spa facility I avail of, that too only once in four to six months. I usually call a lady, who is pretty good at massages, home. I do not believe in facials at this age and would rather get them after I turn 35."

The most popular spa treatment, it has a number of health benefits -- it improves circulation, prevents/ reduces muscle pain and spasms and eases tension. Some of the popular massages types include:

A form of massage where pressure is applied on specific points of the body to stimulate the flow of energy and release stress and pain.

A form of massage in which specific spots of the body are pressed to stimulate related areas in other parts of the body. Foot reflexology is the most common form of reflexology.

~Deep Tissue Massage
This is usually aimed at releasing chronic muscle tension through slower strokes and more direct pressure applied on the muscles. This invigorating experience is a process of detection of stiff or painful areas that are then worked upon through specific hand positions and strokes.

~Aromatherapy Massage
This therapeutic massage combines the use of essential oils with the use of various massage techniques that focus on your tension areas in order to relieve stress, sore muscles and fatigue.

~Swedish Massage
A massage that calms, relaxes and relieves tension and stress associated with your vascular, muscular and nervous systems.

Damages: Massages range from Rs 100 (for your local maalishwala) to Rs 800 to as much as Rs 10,000, depending on the duration, style and location. The massage mostly lasts between half an hour to one hour.

Body treatments
These work as great stressbusters, help to calm your mind and relax your body.
A body treatment is basically like a facial for the whole body.

The most popular treatment is a salt glow body scrub, an exfoliating treatment where the therapist rubs the body with coarse salt, sometimes in combination with fragrant oils, to remove the outer layer of dead skin and stimulate circulation. It leaves you with a velvety soft, cleansed skin.

The body scrub is often combined with a detoxifying/ hydrating product like mud, algae or seaweed that stimulates blood circulation, aiding the body's ability to carry away waste products. Rich cream or oil is used for many treatments to soften and condition the skin.

You also have the sauna (a room where you experience dry and wet or just dry heat sessions for promoting relaxation and sweating), jacuzzi (a body treatment through jet streams of air and water), steam baths (a room filled with steam wherein people first sweat due to steam before getting a rubdown and cold shower) or hot tub baths (a large tub or small pool full of heated water and used for soaking, relaxation, meditation).

Television actress Nigaar Khan (seen in television serial India Calling, she is a former model and sister of model-anchor Gauhar Khan) swears by body treatments. "I love visiting a place called Abydoss at Juhu (Mumbai)," she says. "I like getting a back rub that essentially relaxes my muscles and de-stresses me. It's a lot like acupressure, where they apply pressure on certain points, working on your entire back."

Damages: Body treatments can range from a basic Rs 1,200 to Rs 5,000 depending on the 'exotic quotient' of the treatments and the location of the spa.

At a spa located in a five star hotel, a body treatment comes for Rs 2,500 upwards but, in stand-alone spas, such treatments start from Rs 1,000 onwards.

Day spas, salon spas
A day spa is usually an extension of a hair salon.
People can drop in for massages, facials, body treatments, manicures and pedicures.

Some high profile day spas also have special rooms and offer a complete day package -- starting off with a healthy breakfast, then branching out to body treatments.

Facilities vary but most have treatment rooms, a mediation room, sauna and steam bath. But as the use of the word spa not regulated, some salons promote spa services when all they have is one massage table. Others offer a range of services.