Beyond Pampering: Unveiling the Alchemy of Therapeutic Spa Moments

Not long ago I had the opportunity to speak to a group of Spa owners and their managers. Before beginning my talk I asked them what ‘Spa’ meant to them and the words ‘indulgent’, ‘pampering’, ‘luxury’, ‘beauty’, ‘cosmetic’ and ‘product’ filled the room.

Not one person mentioned ‘therapeutic’ or ‘rejuvenating’  let alone  ‘life changing’ and my hunch is that’s why, in recent years, the shakers and movers of our industry have felt compelled to re-brand ’Spa’ into ‘Wellness’ .

‘Pampering’ and ‘Indulgent’ just won’t do it anymore.  Not at $200 plus an hour.

For the past month I’ve been on the road teaching.  I’ve taught three classes at two different properties and what I find most rewarding about training is those moments when that inner light clicks on and the student has the  ‘Aha” moment – a moment when they realize the shear power and potential of the work they do.

In each of last month’s trainings, we did Case Studies – working with volunteers who were suffering with either an injury or some type of stress related disorder. After completing an intake and discussing a plan of action, students rolled up their sleeves and went to work.

This is the type of work that engages both guest and practitioner and at the end of each training, our grateful volunteers left smiling and feeling better.  The students were smiling, too – proud of what they had learned and accomplished.

Spa, at its best, is alchemic. Equal parts art and science, it nourishes both giver and receiver.  And no matter how we’re branded, our ability to address the needs of our guests will always be the value that builds and sustains us.


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