Joining Forces With the Spa Industry

Jasmine Jafferali, MPH, ACE-CPT, is a fitness and wellness manager at a major health club in Chicago. She has a diverse fitness background, having worked in corporate wellness and the commercial health club setting. Her practical experience in wellness programming gives her a unique opportunity to teach wellness to other fitness professionals. She also advocates bringing the fitness and medical community together through wellness and preventative programming. Jafferali specializes in women’s health and wellness, focusing on pre- and postnatal fitness, and is a Master Trainer for Healthy Moms Fitness and Resist-a-ball.

Owners of spas and health clubs are recognizing the value of bridging their services and enhancing the integrative approach to health and well-being. Preventive health is the way of the future, and the demand for wellness programs will continue to rise as more people make positive lifestyle changes. Baby Boomers are looking to age gracefully, and there is a greater awareness of prevention through integrative wellness programming. With the interest in maximizing optimal health, people are concerned not only in preserving their youth and living longer but also in maintaining their physical appearance and form. Gone are the days of hard-core, foot-pounding fitness classes. Members want an exercise program that is efficient, personalized and offers gentle results, not leaving the club in pain. Quality of life and overall wellness begins with the basics—exercise, nutrition and stress management—but understanding the trends in the spa industry can help increase your profits.

According to the International SPA Association (ISPA), the spa industry is generating $9.7 billion in annual revenue with more than 14,000 spa facilities and is the leading leisure industry in North America. ISPA has pinpointed the following five trends for 2007:

1. Spa is a lifestyle. ISPA’s research shows that more than 2 million spa-goers took part in lifestyle classes in 2005. Specific examples of lifestyle offerings include healthy cooking classes, seminars on achieving balance and managing stress, and treatments that allow guests to customize their own at-home spa experience. With concerns such as obesity, stress and environmental toxins, many spas are incorporating lifestyle elements, including fitness, diet and overall health, into the traditional treatment-based spa concept.

2. Spa visits are necessary. This is particularly true among Baby Boomers who feel entitled to spa experiences rather than viewing them as a treat or only reserved for special occasions. The most common reasons for visiting spas include relieving and reducing stress, soothing sore joints and muscles, feeling better about one’s self and improving mental and emotional health.

3. Looking for results. People continue to expect more from their spa visits than simply being pampered. They want results. More than one in 10 spa-goers treat spa-going as part of a larger health-and-wellness lifestyle. In fact, the American Massage Therapy Association found that 30 percent of Americans who integrate massage therapy into their routines do so for medical reasons such as injury recovery, pain reduction, headache control and overall health and wellness.

4. Medical components. With 69 percent average annual growth from 2003 to 2005, medical spas are one of the fastest-growing segments of the industry. The most popular medical treatments are chemical peels, microdermabrasion and natural weight loss measures such as body wraps. Additionally, the medical industry, particularly the plastic surgery sector, is incorporating spa treatments such as naturotherapy and acupuncture into its service structure.

5. Reduce stress through basic massage. The No. 1 reason people go to spas is to reduce or relieve stress, and the No. 1 treatment continues to be the Swedish massage.

Knowing this information is important to creating better and more well-rounded wellness programs. For example, if your health club has an in-house spa facility, you can offer wellness-based packages such as:

  • The Anti-Aging Package: Two Pilates sessions, one nutritional consultation with a follow-up and a microdermabrasion.
  • Bride-to-Be Package: Three personal training sessions, one nutritional consultation with a follow-up, a facial, a Swedish massage, a pedicure and a manicure.

If your health club does not have an in-house spa facility, partner up with your local spa. Members will still appreciate the experience even if it is not in one location, and it will benefit your club down the road.

Remember, consumer demands drive trends, and what members want when it comes to wellness and preventative health care is real-world solutions. The sooner and more closely you align your fitness and spa’s programs with realistic and customized approaches, the more successful your program will be. Your options and opportunities are endless when joining forces with the spa industry.

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