The first known use of the word “spa” was in the early 1600s and referred specifically to a hot mineral spring in Spa, Belgium. 400 years later, the term has grown to include any and all facilities that tend to the needs of a healthful body. This can include massage, hydrotherapy, relaxation, fitness, nutrition and energetic healing.

Taking time out for yourself is critical to repairing sore muscles and overall wellness. A soothing spa treatment could be just the thing you need to recharge and relax so that you can win that race, PR that back squat, swim the extra mile, or just get out of bed without painful soreness. Luckily, our fitness community can benefit from a number of quality spas that service many different aspects of whole-body health. Below are just a few of the best and brightest in our area.

Joyful Yoga & Ayurvedic Spa, Bonita Springs (treatments: $100-$200)
Ayurveda is an ancient holistic art from India that focuses on restoring natural health and balance. Ayurvedic science is based on the concept of dosha, or body type.  At Joyful Ayurvedic Spa, you will be treated to massage, reiki, reflexology and skin care based on your very individual nature. The spa at Joyful blends the best of traditional European treatments with these natural remedies of India to create a soothing and healing experience.

A reflexology treatment is especially beneficial for athletes as it deals with the feet. Think pressure massage to release those tired arches. In addition, the science of reflexology treats the whole body system through the feet. Gentle pushing and pressing can actually help heal internal system problems, such as headaches, digestive problems, or liver issues.

The Golden Door at the Waldorf Astoria, Naples (treatments :$130-$250)
The Golden Door is an  Japanese style indoor/outdoor spa. Before or after their treatments, guests can enjoy a soothing soak in the hot tub, or a dip in the cool reflecting pool. This luxurious spa is set amid beautiful gardens with tinkling fountains and waterfalls to create a serene experience. Treatments include massage, skin care, body wraps,  private yoga, Watsu water therapy and sound healing.

Watsu water therapy is an amazing addition to your training routine. While you are suspended in warm water, a Watsu therapist combines the best of massage, joint mobilization and muscle stretching. This can promote deep levels of body healing in an extremely gentle fashion.

The Salt Cave, Naples (treatments: $35-$95)
The Salt Cave uses the powerful detoxifying qualities of Pink Crystal Himalayan Salt in their therapies. This salt has been used to heal many dis-eases ranging from respiratory disorders to skin conditions to base stress. In your spa experience, you can visit the salt cave for a 45 minute Halotherapy treatment, a detoxifying infrared sauna, a mineral body wrap, colored light therapy, or an ionic footbath. All of these treatments are designed to pull impurities from the body to help restore natural balance.

Did you know that heavy metals get stored in your tissues? And that even the cleanest diet cannot prevent toxic heavy metals for getting in? From the water you drink, to the air you breathe, to the clothes you wear, you are always exposed. An Ionic footbath is an extremely relaxing foot soak that draws these toxins out of your body through the feet. It is a quick and easy healing modality.

Spada Salon and Day Spa, Ft. Myers (treatments: $85-$150)
Voted best of the Gulfshore in the categories of day spa, hair salon and nail salon, Spada offers a large menu of pampering services. You can choose from a number of massage styles, including Deep tissue, lymphatic massage, Thai massage and reflexology, all with the option of aromatherapy. Their skin and body treatments include mud wraps, chocolate wraps and green tea wraps, all of which will help to pull toxins from the skin while making you look and feel great.

Let’s talk Thai Massage. For those of you who are uncomfortable getting naked with a total stranger, or find traditional massage to be too generic, Thai massage may be the answer. Thai massage is a fully clothed movement massage that consists of gentle stretching and pressure. It is often called “lazy man’s yoga” and is good for muscle and joint management. Athletes and yogis especially benefit from this massage style.