Taking an Eco-Centric Approach to Spa Treatment Design

Taking an Eco-Centric Approach to Spa Treatment Design

Article by Nicolay Kreidler


While at least some spa treatments (wraps, scrubs and masks to name the basic protocols) are usually found in a section on the majority of spa menus, they tend to lead a rather dormant life overshadowed by their more commonly requested relatives massages and facials. More often than not they decorate menus with adventurous names while flirting exotic ingredients. Considering the expensive products retained to perform these services and the equipment held available it is a pity that spa treatments are not given the place they deserve and could conquer.

Spa treatments are one of the menu-items that have not even been tapped into as a resource by the majority of individual practitioners as well as health spas of all styles and sizes.

While massage and to a good degree esthetics have matured so far that they are being accepted and understood as a solid part of every spa menu and a core service offered by the individual practitioner, spa treatments are still struggling to make their mark.

Spa treatments offer numerous advantages for clients, providers and for the spa business itself. Some of which are for clients that they pose an alternative to massage and a different approach to health and wellness altogether that utilizes a chemical rather than a physical approach. For providers they offer a rest from the physically challenging nature of massage and an opportunity to provide the client with more post treatment products that will extend the effects of the treatment. And finally the spa business itself for example can attract additional clients and renew client relationships more often with attractive treatments as well as expand the business with related products that help clients enjoy their spa experience at home as well.

So while there are many reasons why spa treatments tend to be less requested, we would like to pick one in particular that is rarely addressed. One of the explanations we find why clients do not opt for a spa treatment and providers and front desk staff have a hard time recommending them is that they cannot relate on an emotional and cultural level to the services offered.

One fundamental reason is that the services were not designed taking local ecological, social and cultural existing and pre-existing conditions into account, but rather have been imposed as a concept from the outside, importing foreign concepts that evolved under different circumstances and foreign ingredients that need to be imported. These concepts will surface in menus as “a traditional treatment from Bali” in a Mexican luxury spa or as product driven treatment featuring “caviar” designed by a vendor and wrapped around their protocol.

Now while at first glance the appealing description and mouthwatering descriptions might seem attractive, upon closer examination there are some major flaws in the design. Ingredients, the verbiage, the philosophy, aromas, and especially the client concerns originated somewhere else and lack the connections to the local facility. The ideas first spark interest and a certain sense of attraction to the mysterious but than fall short of following through with a feeling of being grounded in the here and now and offering benefits that embrace the local environmental and cultural heritage.

There are some very concrete reasons to pursue an eco-centric approach. When taking the time to research local healing traditions, one inherits many years of refining regionally available resources to address locally prevailing ailments and concerns. While looking into nature’s plant systems one finds plants that have thrived on the local geological and climatic environment and retain substances and essences that can heal conditions that are a result of just that environment. In observing weather patterns one can address the seasons and the changes between them. And most important, treatments designed with an eco-centric approach are grounded and feel complete as they are deeply embedded in their environment.

Taking local conditions into consideration while designing spa treatments is not difficult and well worth the effort. Besides the relationships you will develop researching the local resources, the resulting understanding of local culture, flora and climate will give the spa treatments you design a completely different level of integration with clients, providers and staff.
About the Author

Nicolay Kreidler is a licensed massage therapist and massage instructor at http://www.learn-massage.com and a facilitator at http://www.spa-college.com. He is an active consultant to the spa industry with http://www.ispad.net and author of the book “The Successful Massage Therapist” now available as ebook through http://www.spa-pros.com.


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