Wellness Updates

Living Spa Trends


Spas have long been a wonderful resource to seek relaxation, as well as a place to educate oneself in a safe environment with caring professionals. The extraordinary growth and resiliency of the global spa and wellbeing industry has been fueled both by cutting edge technology and ancient ideas in health, wellness, fitness, beauty, design and cuisine.

Relaxation has never been more essential as the stresses of everyday life continue to pile up. Living Spa is a necessity for transformative well being, not a self-indulgent, pampering extravagance.

Consider the pillars of Well-Being as set forth by hospitality giant Starwood Hotels and Resorts:

  • Beauty - Address the Esthetic
  • Life Balance - Spiritual
  • Harmony - Body
  • Aqua - Qualities of Water
  • Vitality - Aerobic Activity
  • Nature - Sense of Place
  • Nutrition - Address Balanced Health

For a point of contrast, I also reviewed author and board-certified family practice physician Don Colbert's seven pillars of health which include water, sleep and rest, living food, exercise, detoxification, nutritional supplements and freedom of stress. As you can see the spa and medical world continue to merge.In this article I'd like to address the prevalent trends that are molding spas, well-being centers, integrative wellness centers and hospitals. The macro-trend indicates a "well-being" merging of these once independent sources.I have been happily involved in the spa industry for more than 20 years. As a spa consultant that has developed projects around the world, I've been fascinated by the discovery of a global spa culture and unspoken language. During a recent visit to Doha, I had the privilege of visiting with some of the local women and their children. Initially, we were quite shy of one another as we felt there was little we had in common. However, as soon as I brought up spas, the conversation became quite animated and flew through topics such as make-up, fitness and beauty tips.I've found great joy in visiting exotic lands such as Qatar, Moscow, the Caribbean, Ireland and Canada where I call on local healers, bath houses, spas, etc. This has, of course, offered amazing exposure. I also attend conferences and symposiums to stay abreast of the business and emerging trends within the spa world.

The New Frontier ~ Brain Health and Mind Spas

When people think about staying fit, they generally think from the neck down. One must realize is that the health of your brain plays a critical role in almost everything you do. From thinking, feeling, remembering, seeing, hearing, working, playing, even sleeping these are all functions controlled by the brain.The good news is that we now know there is much you can do to help keep your brain healthier as you age. These steps might also reduce your risk of many neurological disorders and general cognitive decline.The Mind Health Project has put together some of the most comprehensive, non-invasive and drug free programs to promote mental health for optimal brain function. These techniques will also assist in defending your brain against a wide range of mental health disorders.Other resources include MindSpa developed by Dr. Ruth Olmstead, which uses brainwave entrainment to effortlessly improve relaxation, attention span and cognitive performance. There are other brain-enhancing rhythms out on the market with clinically proven results.

Spa and Medical Worlds Unite

Explore the unlimited potential and transformative well-being being offered by spas, hospitals, medical tourism and the study of Genomics. Celebrate the arrival of the future and the trifecta of spas, hospitals and resorts creating an unprecedented hybrid model of the best resources and experiences of each.Picture a hospital with serene gardens, feng-shui'd surroundings, organic food, spa and integrative services. Patients are becoming guests, healthcare and hospitality are united and spa services are inspiring both the patients and their families.Genomics is here to stay and so is the personalized and disciplinary approach that evaluates genetic testing, lifestyle advice, mental fitness, pre-symptomatic state, personalized medicine and electromagnetic aura.Fueled by virtual medical records, increased access to information, telemedicine and continuity of care, diagnosis and treatment will be increasingly streamlined and effective. Recently at the Global Spa Summit, physicians and spa professionals explored ways to collaborate on our parallel commitment to maximizing personal well-being.Medical tourism and health care clusters are growing in popularity. The phenomenon of people traveling the globe for the ultimate in price, experience and precision in aesthetic or traditional procedures has increased dramatically. Spas will be broadly considered a preventative health measure as opposed to an indulgent pamper session. Scientific and medical data support that spa and wellness practices such as balanced nutrition, exercise, meditation, massage, hydrology, laughter and prayer have discernible physiological, emotional and spiritual benefits.

Glow Gracefully ~ Life Beyond Botox

Recent stresses and global concerns have stimulated a renaissance of values. These include natural efforts towards exuding inner beauty and aging naturally.Those who may want to get rid of wrinkles or expression lines might opt for sophisticated serums rather than Botox. With a combination of innovative technologies, the serum will target your areas of concern, while still allowing for mobile expression. A synergistic physiological complex creates an instant tightening and lifting sensation and helps firm and plump the skin, softening wrinkles. Other effective techniques include facial acupressure and daily self-massage.Traditional Chinese Medicine and innovative science both recommend responsible consumption of critical ingredients for best results. Supplements are becoming a mainstay of the skincare industry.Finally, having an exercise routine will assist with proper posture, graceful gait, detoxification, de-stressing and confidence, all of which greatly enhance attractiveness and provide a positive impression.

Do it Yourself Spa ~ At Home Remedies, Recipes for Seasonal and Daily Living

Rather than just visit spas, live spa by integrating spa practices into your home and lifestyle.� A healthy existence can be achieved throughout the seasons by addressing the six senses and utilizing homeopathic remedies.�� Titillate with candles, sumptuous throws and aromatherapy oils for skin and bathing and turn your bathroom into a mini-spa with bathing products, perfume bottles, high quality linens and robes and spa products. Learn how to provide your lover with a massage.Identify what you would like to improve and allow experts at spas or virtual spas such as www.myspashop.com to assist you in concocting the perfect personalized remedies for you and your family. An example: to maximize your beauty sleep, which is a common and chronic concern, explore options that drastically improve crucial rest that include music, visualization, aromatherapy, yoga poses, exercise, tea and baths.

Gifts from Mother Earth ~ Flower Power, Gems, Natural Products and Food-based Therapies that You Don't Eat

There is a plethora of choices for body and skin care, clothing and accessories that are made with the earth's bounty, while using sustainable practices. Flowers and fragrant herbs have long inspired chemists and aroma-therapists. Now diamonds, pearls and semi-precious gems are being used to create brilliant products and jewelry with intention. Bamboo, hemp and organic clothing are providing environmentally responsible fashion options. Previously known only as consumable delicacies, many cutting edge products now have healthy food ingredients that are excellent for the skin, including caviar, pomegranate, papaya, peach, tea, coffee, chocolate and green vegetables.

Family Friendly

Every generation and gender has had products and services that have been custom designed for their unique needs. Spas are increasingly becoming learning labs for stress reduction, healthy lifestyles and innovative ways to take care of self and loved ones.� Positive emotional experiences within and beyond the spa are a great way for a family of all generations to recreate and grow together. Spas designed specifically for children are becoming more popular.

Resurgence of Global Healing Techniques

As our world becomes smaller and cultures look beyond themselves for effective and exotic means of healing, beauty and vibrant living, techniques from across the globe are finding their way into local spas.Sanus Per Aquam (Health Through Water) has been around since the beginning of time. Spiritual bathing has long been a divine rite.� The Ancient Sumerians, Romans, Greeks and Egyptians all embraced water rituals with unique characteristic, while living traditions were crafted by Jews, Christians and Muslims. The term spa originally came from the healing waters in Spa, Belgium, but has obviously come to mean so much more.Spa has become eponymous with facilities that possess special health giving properties. Such therapies as hydrotherapy, hydrology, balneotherapy, thalassotherapy and other healing water treatments have been medically proven to improve specific conditions.In some ways, the United States has been late to the game, perhaps because our nation is relatively new and not based on an ancient civilization. That is changing now, as we see spas embracing the waters and re-interpreting ways to introduce ancient rituals.

Other global techniques that are being introduced in unlikely places include:

  • Russian Banya and Platza have a soaked birch leaves body treatment using coffee.
  • From India, Ayurveda, the science of life, is estimated to be well over 3,000 years old.� It is based on the premise that each individual has a unique constitution. They use a series of herbs, oils, and balanced diet practices.
  • The Far East has long enjoyed Onsen bathing, tea ceremonies, Shiatsu, reflexology, traditional Chinese medicine and yoga.
  • Indigenous healing techniques, sacred to natives the globe over, have long utilized local resources to heal and improve beauty.
  • The Turkish Steam or Hamam, which was a vital part of daily life, social gathering and ritual cleansing, is being built into spas everywhere.
  • Also Hawaiian Lomilomi, Thai Massage and Chinese Tui Na.

All of these exotic treatments are becoming more and more accessible and cross-pollinating with each other, much like fusion cuisine.


Other relevant trends that will continue the spa lifestyle are de-stressing, how technology will impact this high-touch business and impressive strides in sustainable spas and products. In addition, another trend will be the resolution of the organic vs. natural labeling and certification.We will continue to see the rise of stay-cations, frequent micro pleasures and mobile spas on the go on trains, planes and other mobile vehicles.