Why Going To The Spa Used To Terrify Me

spa self-care

I'm almost 30, living with psoriasis, and I didn't get my first professional pedicure until a few years ago. At that time my legs were covered with psoriasis and I was afraid for anyone to see or touch them. I was embarrassed and the thoughts of what someone would think if they saw my legs out at the spa was too much to bear.

In Winter 2014, I remember having a really stressful time with life in general and I needed some relaxation. My friends told me about a spa in my area which stayed open 24 hours. This spa is unlike any spa I've seen before. It is furnished with hot tubs, heated mineral rooms, ice rooms, they have space to exercise in, they provide massages, as well as other services. The unique part of the facility is it's gender-segregated and everyone is walking around in their "birthday suit." I called the spa to see if the masseuses there had heard of psoriasis. The person on the other side of the phone said yes, so I felt at ease.

Stepping outside my comfort zone

I decided that I was going to go to the spa one night when I got off work. I was covered with psoriasis and ashamed but I figured I would push myself out my comfort zone and go anyhow. The place was about an hour away from me. The closer I got to the place the more my mind started racing, "Will people be grossed out by my skin... Will people think I'm contagious... Will people look at me in disgust?" Once I pulled into the parking lot my mind was going 100mph. I walked into the place, said something to the person at the front desk, and told them I would be right back. I went to my car and cried. I was overwhelmed with how people would react to my skin. I ended up going home, without using the sauna.

My story doesn't have to be yours. Since then I've had massages and pedicures with my psoriasis. That particular situation was overwhelming to me because of all the strangers who would see me at the same time, opposed to being in a private room with one masseuse.You don't have to go to a spa set up like the one I just spoke about. There are lots of spas with private rooms and secluded settings. If you have avoided massages and pedicures because of your skin I would like to give you some tips to overcome that fear and indulge in the relaxation that you deserve.

My spa tip list

  • Call ahead
    Once you find a spa or nail place you are interested in, call and ask them if they are familiar with skin issues like psoriasis, and explain to them that you have it. In my experience there has only been one place that told me they didn't provide services on those with skin issues, I was glad I called ahead because I saved myself the trip, time, and embarrassment. I've called ahead to many places who were familiar with psoriasis and told me to come on in. One place even put me down at the end by myself so I could feel more comfortable and not be subjected to comments by other customers.
  • Explore the facility
    If you are concerned about the amount of privacy you will receive at the spa/nail salon. Stop by and take a quick glance. You can see how much privacy they offer and decided whether or not you would be comfortable. I also ask the manager when their slowest days/times are and I usually go around that time. Commonly the slow days seem to be on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.
  • Bring a friend
    I always feel more comfortable in uncomfortable situations when I have someone by my side who I know loves and supports me. The person can provide support if you start to feel uncomfortable, have anxiety, or if someone says something rude.
  • Mobile spa services
    Did you know there are spa companies which will travel to your home to provide services? If the idea of being in public or going to a spa still overwhelms you, you have an at home option! They may be more expensive but the peace of mind you will keep is priceless.

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