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In Living

Despite the stereotype, many spa servies are geared towards men.

Men can benefit from spa treatments, too


For many men, the thought of a "spa day" conjures up unpleasant images of women being primped and pampered, gossiping about things that, quite frankly, guys just generally have no interest in.

But while most spas traditionally cater towards female clientele, a number of establishments are offering services geared more towards men who, traditionally, spend less time perfecting their physical appearance.

"The truth of the matter is, more and more men are realizing the importance of taking care of their skin and nails. Why spend hours at the gym to get a great body, and then have unwanted hair, shabby skin and unsightly nails? It doesn't make sense," says Dechambre-Childers.

"Treatments like manicures, pedicures, facials and massages are meant to be relaxing, feel amazing and provide wellness benefits, and that's something both women and men want."

Karma, 727 N. Milwaukee St., has added special sections to their menu of services, which cater specifically to men.

"If you don't label it 'for men,' they often will feel excluded," says Karma's Tisha Barnes. "We created the section so they wouldn't feel uncomfortable."

Massages - especially the deep-tissue sports massage -- and the steam room are the most popular attractions for men visiting Karma, but Barnes says that facial treatments, manicures and even pedicures attract plenty of male customers.

Pedicures are especially popular, though most male customers still don't like to admit it.

That's why the pedicure room at Karma is located in a secluded and private area, one level above the main treatment rooms, around a corner and behind a screen.

"They like getting their feet done but don't really want people to know they get their feet done," Barnes says. "So we do the pedicures in a different area so they can have their treatments done without being seen.

"It's all about comfort."

At Karma, men find a very "non-girly" environment. Warm, dark colors and plenty of privacy - including a men's' lounge with dim lights, newspapers and a selection of cigars - make men feel relaxed and comfortable.

Additionally, the treatment rooms are located just a stone's throw from the lounge, so men don't need to walk all around the facility in their robes.

That relaxation isn't coincidental, it's an integral part of the spa treatment.

"Spa services aren't just about beauty, they're also for reliving stress," Barnes says. "Once a man comes in and gets a facial or any kind of body service, they realize that not only do they feel and look better, they're more relaxed and can handle stress more."

A lot of men make their first spa visit - begrudgingly - with a significant other for a couples' treatment, be it a massage, manicure or facial. But Tisha has found that the experience is often pleasant enough that men will return later, on their own, for further treatment.

"The guy will sneak in a few weeks later and say 'don't tell her I really liked it'," Barnes says. "Once men get to know their therapist, they tend to drop their fears about coming to a spa."

After 16 years in the industry, Barnes understands that men still get uncomfortable at the thought of visiting a spa but likens the experience to other daily routine tasks like brushing ones teeth or taking a shower.

"Spa services are a part of grooming, not about being 'girly'," Barnes says. "A lot of men miss out because they have this weird view of spa services.

"But gender doesn't matter; everybody has skin and you need to take care of it."

Talkbacks

MoreSpaTraffic | Jan. 19, 2010 at 2:41 p.m. (report)

The stress relief aspect is for me the biggest draw. Plus I think more men are recognizing the health benefits today. But also the the need to look good for potential job interviews and clients. Hollywood's leading men have gone a long way at reducing "social stigma" too.

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