Difference in between a Spa, Health Spa, Health club and Health Farm


Born and raised in Scotland, I am a wee bit confused about the difference in the US between a Spa, Health Spa, Health club, and Health Farm. I think I want to go to a health farm in the USA, but I have not been able to locate one. Can you help? Philomena in New Jersey

health spaDear Philomena, I can understand your confusion. In the USA, the word spa often is overused and has transformed away from the original meaning and into a catch marketing term. Often, hotels will say that they have a spa when they are referring to a whirlpool bath or Jacuzzi. You may even see terms for Auto Spas which is a car wash. Nail spas which only do manicures and pedicures while offering no other spa treatments at all and pet spas that provide grooming for your cats and dogs.

In the USA, you will find that most spas are divided into four basic categories: Day spas, Medical Spas, Resort Spas and Destination spas. Sometimes they become even more specific, Hotel spas, Club Spas, Mineral Spas, Salons, Eco Spas, Cruise Ship Spas, and Mobile at-home spa services.

It becomes even more complex when some spas try to increase their appeal by falsely categorizing themselves. A Health club is a fitness club that has work out equipment. It usually has an annual membership fee and monthly fees. While some Health clubs offer massage, they generally do not offer other spa treatments or overnight accommodations.

You may read all about these in the Spavelous Now You Are In The Know Which Spa Is Right for You Edition. In Scotland, Health farms are an ideal place to kick starts a lifestyle change as they provide everything you need to make the transition, all under one roof. Health farms offer fully equipped gymnasiums with the latest state of the art equipment, making your workout as easy and effective as possible. If you combine this with other facilities and classes on offer, a four-day health farm break will give you the kick you require to start a new health regime, and more importantly continue it when you get home. Health spa is rather a common term, meaning mostly kind of resort with spa treatments, able to bring relief both to your stressed mind and worn body, as well as to maintain your health and beauty. The Health Farm is more of a “natural” type of health spa destination. It is located away from the main city, and as the name implies, this kind of health spa destination is usually placed close to more or less wild nature. So, if you want to take a short break from city life this type of health spa destination will suit you just in the best way.

A health farm is a type of clinic that is attended by those who want to improve their general physical health and mental stamina. People who attend health farms rarely have any symptoms of illness; they simply feel “out of condition” and know that with proper care and treatment, their general health will improve. Many of those who attend Health Farms are troubled by anxiety about some particular problems, such as concerning stress, the pressure of work, fatigue, body shape, desire to relax, drinking, overconsumption of stimulants such as coffee, tea, cola drinks, smoking, poor sleep, overweight, anxiety, emotional problems at work or at home, addictions, lack of rest or just a need for a quiet and serene environment and so on.

The program of “therapy” offered by a health farm will usually include regular exercise, hydrotherapy, massage, sauna, and physiotherapy. Hydrotherapy involves the use of water to stimulate circulation and aid mental relaxation, and also of special exercises that are performed in water. In addition, the health farm may offer special relaxation classes, healthy cooking classes, and meditation, yoga, and biofeedback techniques. Specialized health farms may also be equipped to offer diathermy, a form of physical therapy in which the body tissues are subjected to deep healing by the use of high-frequency electromagnetic waves. The programs offered by health farms may be supervised by physicians, naturopaths, or osteopaths. Diet is often an important part of the treatment, and those who want to lose weight may begin their stay with a day or two detoxes where they fast, on fluids such as fruit juices and herbal teas.

One of the aims of such treatments is to flush out from the body any poisonous toxins that it may contain (detoxification). The diet prescribed is sometimes exclusively vegetarian or macrobiotic. Health Farms more closely fit with healthy medically supervised destination spas. Depending on the reason you desire to go to a Health Spa, Weight, Sleep disorders, health concerns. You may want to read some of the related articles below to locate the right Destination spa for you:

  • Spas, which one is right for you
  • Sleep Spas
  • Weight Loss Spas
  • Holistic Alternative Spas
  • Spas Better Your Health

Keep in mind that all health spas are spas, while all spas are not health spas. Some spas like to consider spa treatments as an indulgence and serve guests brownies and wine before their spa treatments or martinis with their manicures. These clearly are pampering locations that are not at all health-related. In fact, alcohol prior to a massage is downright dangerous and a contraindication. Philomena, if you still have a specific health concern in mind or need assistance, please feel free to contact me directly and we will help you to select and book the right spa for you and your budget.

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