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How to find the right spa for you

Few things are as relaxing as a trip to a spa. Once a spa visit is complete, men and women typically notice they're more relaxed, their bodies feel much better, and they now feel rejuvenated.

Once upon a time, spa treatments were considered a luxury only the wealthy could afford. However, spas have become more affordable over the years, and though not necessarily inexpensive, spas can now be enjoyed by people regardless of which tax bracket they fall into.

That's especially true for savvy spa shoppers who know what they want and how to find the right spa for them. The following are a few tricks of the trade to ensure you find a spa that suits your needs without breaking the bank.

* Don't assume the most expensive spa is the best spa. Regardless of what you're buying, it never helps to assume the most expensive item is automatically the best. This same principle can be applied to spas. Fees for spas can range from very cheap to exorbitantly expensive, and a more affordable spa might just be equal to, if not better than, a high-end spa where a single treatment might cost as much as a month's rent. When researching where to go for a spa treatment, consider all options and you might just find an affordable diamond in the rough. A less expensive spa might not have the advertising budget of its high-end counterparts, as the proprietors could be looking to save that advertising money so they can make your treatment more affordable.

* Get a recommendation from someone you trust. Oftentimes, the best spas are so good their customers feel the need to spread the word. When shopping for a spa, ask coworkers, friends or family members if they can recommend a facility. When doing so, also ask if there's any particular spas to avoid. That latter question is important because even though spas can be a relaxing way to escape the daily grind, veteran spa customers all seem to have at least one horror story of a spa treatment gone awry.

* Use the Internet to your advantage. The Internet has done wonders for spa lovers looking to enjoy a treatment without going broke. Web sites like Groupon.com and LivingSocial.com offer daily discounts on a variety of things, including spa treatments. Sign up for such Web sites, which typically allow you to tailor your interests so you won't be inundated with e-mails for discounted products you don't want. Spas pay attention to such Web sites and know if their competitors are offering special deals, so this is a great way to get a good price on a spa treatment.

* Look for a spa that will work with you. When looking for a spa, discuss any issues you might have prior to booking an appointment. For example, if you have sensitive skin, inquire about the products that will be used during your treatment. Men and women with preexisting physical conditions, be it a back issue or muscle spasms, should inquire about the staff's experience at dealing with such conditions and which

techniques the therapist will use so injuries aren't exasperated. Shoppers with preexisting conditions should look for spas that have a history of dealing with such conditions. Consider asking the physician who treats your condition for a recommendation.

* Don't overdo it. Even if affordable spa treatment offers are flowing into your e-mail inbox at a breakneck pace, try your best to avoid overbooking treatments. A massage, particularly more intense treatments, can tax the body, and you don't want to go overboard and end up with feelings of soreness or exhaustion. A reputable spa won't allow you to book more than two or three treatments per day, so be wary of any spa that allows you to book as many as possible on the same day.

The soothing benefits of a good spa treatment are no longer a luxury strictly for the wealthy. Just be sure to choose a spa carefully before booking any treatments.