Top Trend in the Spa Industry?

The Spa industry, like any other industry, needs to keep abreast of trends that are short-lived (a ‘fad’, or ‘craze’) and those that are continually evolving. Mistaking a short-lived trend for something that may develop can be costly for Spas, potentially investing in new equipment, new procedures, new training and possibly even new staff. A visionary Spa Manager/Director is one that keeps themselves on top of developing trends and has the ability to recognise which ones will add value to their Spa, their region and their customers, with the ultimate goal of generating new business (and therefore revenue) and being seen as a leader in their industry. 


Biggest upcoming trend is ‘mindfulness’

One of the biggest trends to be seen in the upcoming decade will be building on the overall trend of ‘wellness’, with the inclusion of more “mindfulness” techniques and bodywork. To quote Jeremy McCarthy, formerly director of Global Spa Development and Operations for Starwood Hotels & Resorts, “if the last decade was all about “happiness”, the next will be “all about mindfulness”. Spa Finder Wellness 2013 Trend Report 

Mindfulness can be described as “paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment.” (Dr Kabat-Zinn, J., 2013 Trend Report, 2013). From the ‘Mindfulness Massage’ to mindfulness apps that guests can download on their smart phones to continue their wellness journey beyond the spa, “mindfulness” is a trend that any Spa Manager can incorporate into their Spa in multiple ways.

The SpaFinder Wellness 2013 Trends report discusses the trend of “the mindfulness massage”, which is essentially a creative blend of a full body relaxing massage and the specialized use of mindfulness techniques to help the guest relax more quickly and deeply, resulting in a profound impact on reducing stress levels. The massage addresses the wellbeing of the body and mind, with particular emphasis on helping to reduce or shut down “mind chatter” that prevents many people from being able to effectively relax and fully benefit from the bodywork being performed. 

The treatment itself involves a relaxing full body massage with mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques woven into the massage experience. The key components incorporate breath work, guided visualization/meditation, “body scanning” (where the therapist brings attention to every part of the body in synchronization with the movement of their hands), and other simple meditative techniques to induce deep relaxation. It is essential that the therapist performing the massage is also fully present and “mindful” of every move she/he makes.


People need new solutions

It is undeniable the intense level of modern stress that humans encounter on a day-to-day basis. Technology seemingly develops in nano-seconds, people are working 80-hour weeks, social media forums replace human connection, and modern diets resemble nothing like the farm-to-table diets our predecessors consumed. People need new coping solutions, and a treatment that offers deep relaxation to re-charge both body and mind at the same time may be just what the doctor ordered, so to speak. Growing scientific literature on mindfulness indicates its positive impact on stress, depression, ADHD, addiction and eating disorders, as well as forestalling cellular ageing (something all Spas aim to tackle through their beauty treatments). 

With a Spa treatment offering that moves beyond physical wellness and into the realm of mental wellness, this is a trend that has lasting consequences both for the guest and the Spa. When a guest leaves the Spa feeling a stronger connection to the Spa due to the deeply meaningful and relaxing experience they have just encountered, their sense of loyalty to that Spa is retained. Moving beyond the perception of the Spa as a place of just pampering and relaxation, the Spa that is known for its mindfulness, stress-reducing treatment menu has the potential to become re-perceived as a place that also nurtures innovation, creativity and problem solving. 


On a personal note

I had the pleasure of experiencing a “mindfulness massage” earlier this year in a Wellness Spa. The massage therapist was trained in massage as well as an array of healing therapies, such as Ayurveda, Reiki, Aromatherapy, Kundalini yoga and Ashtanga yoga. The massage she offered was called “Healing Rituals”, and combined a unique and individualised massage treatment that focused on creating a sense of “being present” in the moment, relaxing body and mind, calming the nervous system and providing a truly holistic massage. The therapist talked me through a guided visualisation of my body as she massaged, deeply relaxing every major muscle group, which allowed my mind to fall into a state of deep meditative relaxation.
The result? Utter bliss!