In the Flow: 2018 ISPA East Coast Media Event

There’s always something magically majestic when you walk through the doors of Gotham Hall and revel in the beauty of the grand architectural details that surround you.  I always feel like I’m about to embark on a grand adventure, on the hunt for the perfect story, as I enter the International Spa Association’s (ISPA) annual media event.

This year was no different, but different in that the pace flowed a little easier than my attendance at previous events.  The format was slightly different, and without having to rush off to a pre-booked appointment, it allowed for a more free-flow interaction.

With 16 sponsors spread out across the internal landscape, time was my only constraint. I was able to spend quality time with 8 of those, who all showcased their latest spa industry trend or treatment. New faces provided fresh stories, and veteran participants always share the latest buzz and newest offerings.

In hindsight, after reviewing my interviews, photos, and notes from last month’s event, the “flow” was present in several categories:  Fitness, Vibrational, Wellness, Water, Dream, and Growth.  This is where my story begins..

View video to start your journey in the flow.

Fitness Flow

My first stop was to catch up with Todd Shaw, National Manager, from Technogym and learn all about the Skill Line group of smart connected equipment. With training features found nowhere else, you can connect with others for competitive fitness around the globe. Todd calls it “an around the world connective experience.”

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The Technogym SKILLROW™, designed for ease of use, I found the handlebar, intuitive console, integrated phone holder, and turn dial all within easy reach (perfect for the vertically challenged folks, like myself). Technogym’s AQUAFEEL™ gives you the unique feel of fluidly rowing on water, and the MULTIDRIVE TECHNOLOGY™ provides for cardio and power training, using air and magnetic resistance. You can further enhance your Skillrow workout by downloading the Technogym “mywellness” app to receive real time biofeedback, virtual trainers, and compete with others rowing around the world.


With only “Five Feet to Fitness” this revolutionary room at Hilton Hotels & Resorts ensures there are No Excuses for travelers on the go to miss out on continuing their fitness routine or jump starting new wellbeing goals within the comforts of your hotel room. With over 11 different fitness equipment and accessory options within FIVE feet from your bed, you can easily engage a workout before or after that cat nap.  Fitness tools that would be at a guest’s disposal in a Five Feet to Fitness room, include a Gym Rax™, Kiosk with guided exercise tutorials, Spinning or Wattbike for indoor cycling, and TRX® workout system. Available in select Hilton properties.  Check out my video interview with Melissa Walker, Senior Director for Hilton Hotels & Resorts Global Brand Wellness:


Vibrational Flow

The Didgeridoo Vibrational Sound Therapy, one of many mind, body, spirit centered therapies Hippocrates Health Institute, bathes your body in a universal tone, harmonizing through prime resonance, to re-align, re-boot, and re-balance your energetic body.  Joda Cook (pictured below) uses the didgeridoo, an ancient Aboriginal wind instrument, to open the heart chakra for guests during the media event.  Listen to the deep soothing sound, as he opens my heart chakra by viewing the video here.

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Wellness Flow

The newest luxury wellness destination YO1 Luxury Nature Cure opened June 2018 in the New York Catskill Mountains.   YO1, or “Yovan” in Sanskrit, means youth, and is the only Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, and Acupuncture wellness destination in the U.S. focused on offering authentic and customized, all-inclusive experiences.  This destination boasts 131 guest rooms and 68,000 sq. ft. dedicated to therapy that includes massage, mud room, hydrotherapy, acupuncture, yoga, and indoor pools with reflexology walkways and hot tub.

In this picture, a YO1 therapists provides an Abhyanga foot massage, an Ayurvedic technique using a Vata dosha oil.

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Aspira the Spa, located at The Osthoff Resort on the shores of Elkhart Lake in Wisconsin, showcased a tasting of organic treats, made with select ingredients grown and harvested from the resort’s very own Osthoff Garden. A wellness food philosophy overlays the entire resort.  Featured tastings at the event included mini samples from Aspira the Spa’s Cafe menu such as the Awakening, Cleansing, and Transforming Smoothies, Heirloom Tomato Salad, Chia Seed Pudding w/Berries, and Lavender Cookies to name a few.

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The garden grown herbs, such as lavender and chamomile, are also used in Aspira’s signature spa treatments to support a “From Seed to Spa” approach. Check out this fun video short of me and Lola Roeh, General Manager from The Osthoff Resort sharing a classic dose of smoothie shots. Who says wellness can’t be fun!? Cheers!


Water Flow

In stopping by to see my favorite spa peeps at Kohler Waters Spa™, I learned about their latest hydrotherapy service, the Thermal Hydro Body Wrap. The treatment starts with a full body dry brush, detoxifying self-heating mud application (which I got to sample on my hands), 16 point acupressure facial massage and cleansing, and a shampoo and conditioning of the hair. The ultimate head-to-toe experience, all performed under the KOHLER® Custom Vichy shower.

In my interview with Garrett Mersberger, Director of Wellness at Kohler Waters Spa, and current ISPA Chairman, he announces the opening of the fifth spa in the Kohler Waters Spa family, located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of downtown Chicago.  Check out my interview with Garrett below.


Dream Flow

Glen Ivy Hot Springs showcased a mini treatment sampling of the [comfort zone] Tranquility Pro Sleep Ritual. Combining sound, touch, and scent to “rebalance the senses”, this treatment is designed to deeply relax the mind and body. A light sensory touch, tunes that mimic a resting heartbeat, and a Tranquil aromatherapy blend containing cedarwood, sweet orange, rose, sandalwood, geranium, and vetiver set the mood for this experience that promotes better sleep and jet lag recovery.

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Speaking of dreams, I always enjoy catching up with Lynelle Lynch, President of Beauty Changes Lives and Bellus Academy. During my interview with Lynelle, I inquired about how the “Get Your Dream Job” campaign was progressing since its launch in partnership with ISPA and Beauty Changes Lives at last year’s ISPA conference. I was thrilled to learn that Ratner Companies has become the first group of salons in the nation to launch the campaign in more than 1,000 of the company’s family of salons including Hair Cuttery, Bubbles Salons, Salon Cielo, Salon Plaza, and Cibu for Hair. More than 12,000 stylists are now helping to spread the word about the 30,000+ jobs available in the spa and salon industry.  Several scholarships are also available to those looking to pursue a career in the industry. Visit www.getyourdreamjob.com for more info.

View my brief video interview with Lynelle Lynch below.


Growth Flow

The spa industry continues to flow and grow! The Big Five* statistics from the 2018 Spa Industry Study, was released by ISPA during this year’s event.  Showing the eighth consecutive year of consistent growth in all five key performance indicators: total revenue, spa visits, spa locations, employee count, and spa revenue.

  • Total revenue surpassed $17.5 billion, representing a 3 percent increase over 2016.
  • Spa visits increased to 187 billion, a 1.6 percent increase over 2016.
  • Spa locations climbed to 21,770 in 2017, compared to 21,260 in 2016.
  • Total employee count increased to 372,100 in 2018, a 1.9% increase over 2016.
  • Spa revenue per visit leapt up by 2.7 percent, from $91.30 in 2016 to $93.70 in 2017.

*Based on data from the 2017 calendar year.

The complete 2018 U.S. Spa Industry Study, funded by the ISPA Foundation and carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), will be released at the 2018 ISPA Conference & Expo in Phoenix, AZ.

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