Pampering, Well-Being And Women’s Bodies In The Therapeutic Spaces Of The Spa
Social and Cultural Geography
Taylor & Francis
Reason for embargo
This paper develops and extends recent work in geography on therapeutic landscapes and the body in an examination of pampering practices in the contemporary spa. Drawing on feminist research on health, gender identity and the body, the paper explores the importance of escape, relaxation and other strategies to combat stress on the well-being practices and routines of women. Using original data collected from interviews in two spas in the South West of England, the paper argues that a visit to the spa is increasingly being seen as an important part of women’s wider health and bodily maintenance providing a space for relaxation and withdrawal from responsibilities of the home and workplace. The pampering treatments reinforce the therapeutic benefits of the spa creating a sense of luxury and a focus on the self. The paper locates these arguments within the twin theoretical concerns of the ‘care of the self’ and disciplining the body, suggesting that any attempts to understand the practices and therapies for maintaining bodily well-being must incorporate a recognition of their simultaneous role in regulating the size and shape of women’s bodies.
This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Social and Cultural Geography, 2013, Vol. 14 Issue 1 pp. 41-58 © 2012 copyright Taylor & Francis, available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/ DOI: 10.1080/14649365.2012.734846
Social and Cultural Geography, 2013, Vol. 14 Issue 1 pp. 41-58