The words “hospital” and “spa” don’t often appear together in the same sentence — or paragraph, for that matter. For patients and loved ones alike, going to the hospital typically isn’t a relaxing experience. Very often, it’s just the opposite. In many layperson’s minds, hospitals are filled with stress, trauma, disease and death. No one wants to kick back, take a load off or indulge the senses in such an environment.
While some hospitals certainly remain remote and unfriendly to patients and families, increased competition for desirable patients — not to mention a growing body of evidence that suggests amenity-rich facilities produce better outcomes — has prompted many hospitals to invest in creature comforts not usually associated with medical treatment facilities. One of the biggest trends: hospital spas, either tucked into existing facilities, integrated into newly built facilities, or constructed adjacent to hospitals, often amid larger medical complexes.
Here’s a look at the what, why and how of the hospital spa movement — and five potential hospital spa benefits for you and your family.
- Spa Use Improves Mood
A long-period study of more than 3,000 Japanese workers recently revealed that spa treatments improve mood and morale, boosting performance and reducing the negative side effects commonly associated with career-track work. Although similar studies have yet to be undertaken on hospital patients, it’s not unreasonable to extrapolate that spa use would have similar effects for that population as well. By taking participants out of their daily routines — whether said routines involve office drudgery or medical treatments — spas serve as fertile ground for reflection and mental restoration.
- Spas Promote Regular, Restful Sleep
Traditional hospitals aren’t great places to get sleep. Depending on the nature of their conditions and the care plans outlined by medical staff, hospital patients may have no more than two or three consecutive hours to themselves throughout the day. For patients consigned to long stays in the hospital, such circumstances can have dramatic effects on long-term sleep patterns. Spa treatments have been shown to improve patients’ sleep cycles — helping them fall asleep more quickly and reducing their propensity to sleep and wake ceaselessly through the night. Patients who sleep better tend to recover better from illness and injury; those with chronic conditions are better able to face aggressive treatment schedules.
- Some Spa Treatments Have Demonstrable Skin Benefits
Spa treatments come in all manner of forms. One of the most popular classes of spa treatments is skin treatments. These vary from spa to spa, of course, but most have something unsurprising in common: They’re great for the skin. Peer-reviewed studies have shown promising spa treatment benefits for patients suffering from psoriasis, cellulitis and other common skin conditions. It’s important to note that such benefits are often transient — the dimple-reducing effects of spa treatments for cellulitis patients tend to fade after a few days or weeks.
- Spa Treatments Help Patients Deal with the Stress of Medical Challenges
Anyone who’s ever indulged at the spa knows a self-evident truth of spa treatments: They’re incredibly relaxing. While this is certainly useful for workaday spa visitors who look forward to massaging or treating their cares away, it’s also great for hospital patients who struggle with the stress of treatment regimens and medical challenges. While spa treatments can’t resolve primary medical problems on their own, they can certainly strengthen patients’ wills to face whatever may come.
- Spa Treatments Soothe Patients’ Family Members
The same stress-reducing principle applies to hospital patients’ family members — folks who often need even more support and relaxation than their brave, afflicted loved ones. Family members who avail themselves of onsite hospital treatments are better-prepared to face the travails of consulting with clinicians, supporting their patients through physical challenges, and facing emotionally painful situations with dignity, grace and ample reserves of mental strength.
If you’re looking for a relaxing, all-inclusive getaway to a destination spa or resort, your nearest hospital spa probably isn’t your best option. On the other hand, there are plenty of circumstances in which you could find yourself in need of hospital spa services. Your spa experience might not make the trip to the hospital worthwhile, but it could actively improve the quality of your experience. Who can argue with that?