Tag Archives: ispa media event

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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Nature & Nurture: 2017 ISPA East Coast Media Event

New York City – Gotham Hall was transformed as attendees at the 2017 International Spa Association‘s East Coast Media Event stepped into a natural rhythm of treatments, innovative technology, and spa retreats that brought you back to nature and nourished you from the inside-out.   The story begins as I invite you to feel the beat, admire the scene, and get a glimpse at some of the creative spaces and sponsors that invited media was able to experience and interact with during this year’s event.

Confessions of a Spa Bunny was there, and this video highlights the start of my “confessions”…

To be continued…..

Video and photography collaboration presented by: The H.I.S Agency, LLC & EyeConic Photography

One-on-One with Bellus Academy’s Lynelle Lynch About Wellness for Cancer

Out of all of the wonderful things I had a chance to experience during the ISPA East Coast Media Event, and from all the coverage and content I gathered, my interview with Lynelle Lynch, President of Bellus Academy, is the one I want to be heard and shared the most within the spa community.  It’s important. You can help make a difference in the industry, so listen up!

During my one-on-one, I learned something that I didn’t even know was happening, or not happening for that matter, in the world of spa.  Something that as a fairly healthy person with  normal day-to-day life stressors, I couldn’t imagine not being able to experience now, let alone if I was dealing with a life altering disease like cancer.  I take for granted how easily I can book a spa appointment, enjoy a relaxing massage or body treatment and de-stress from all of life’s worries, even if only for a few hours.  Lynelle Lynch, however, painted a picture of a very different scenario:

“Once if you were pregnant and you went to go get a massage there was nothing.  and now pregnancy massages are everywhere.  So if you are being treated with chemotherapy or radiation you are not allowed to go to a spa right now, they would turn you away, and how traumatic and emotional.”

Wow.  Just think… how heartbreaking it must be, as a cancer patient or survivor you attempt to take back some of the control cancer has spread into your life, only to realize it has raised its ugly head in a place you want to retreat to for sanctuary. So instead of feeling empowered, you have to walk away and leave feeling as if you no longer have any control at all.  I agree Mrs. Lynch, very traumatic and emotional indeed!

I was happy to hear, however, there are now options and an educational solution to help spas and spa professionals avoid creating such a devastating experience for the clientele that may need them the most.

Bellus Academy in partnership with Wellness for Cancer, a 501c3 organization, and with support from the Global Wellness Institute, and leading cancer doctors, worked together to develop a custom training program that helps debunk the myths surrounding claims of massage spreading cancer or being contraindicated for cancer patients.  Instead, the training provides education on  what is safe, proper protocols that should be followed, and helps identify  treatments that can be offered at spas to allow cancer patients and survivors to experience the nurturing and de-stressing benefits massage and touch can provide during such a difficult time in an individual’s life.

The Global Wellness Institute’s website discusses the Wellness for Cancer Initiative and identifies the disconnect in the spa industry:

First, spas must have the proper perspective about supporting clients with cancer, which means understanding that our role is well-being not disease care. Second, we need to take responsibility for our role in holding space for our clients to reduce their stress, find inner peace and increase their emotional resiliency.   Individuals don’t want to go to cancer specific spas; they want to get away from their cancer – they want to visit your spa. (http://www.globalwellnessinstitute.org/wellness-for-cancer-initiative)

According to the official press release, “Bellus Academy Becomes First U.S. Academy to Offer Wellness for Cancer Massage Therapy Training”.  During my interview Lynch indicates, “starting in September we have it built into our curriculum at Bellus Academy, we have a full spa at 20,000 square feet in San Diego, so we’re hoping that we’ll be a catalyst for all other spas in Southern California.  Offering the training not just to our students coming in but also to professionals within the San Diego county community”.

The 10 week, 50-hour Wellness for Cancer curriculum is designed to be flexible and can be completed entirely online or at the academy.  The hands-on training is held in class with a Wellness for Cancer certified educator.  Lynch says the in-class program gives students “a much more in-depth ability to have conversations, and to question things if they are not really understanding it well”.  All students will have to complete case study modules where they identify and find patients, offer complimentary services, and help them to relax and de-stress.

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Wellness for Cancer has created a little tree logo (pictured above) that will be utilized as the universal symbol for spas employing certified professionals and who have chosen to “debunk the myths” by  providing safe treatment options to individuals living with or surviving cancer.   Lynch hopes that the symbol will become widely recognized, “like when you go to  restaurants and you see the little gluten free symbol”, and that certified partnerships can be further developed on the Wellness for Cancer website, where guests will have the ability to perform a search and find places they can go for spa services, or identify products they can utilize during their cancer journey.    Lynch states:

“So in the future, 5 years from now, we’re hoping that this message gets out there and that more spas send their therapists to this level of training, and that more product companies put this into their menu of services so that they actually are identifying which products can complement the different services, and we’re all working as a unified profession. “

The final takeaway from Lynch: “It’s so important we reach the entire spa community and get them trained as soon as possible.  Join this movement because it’s very important”.   Important indeed!  I whole-heartedly believe in the healing power of touch, and though a trip to the spa may not be a cure from a literal sense, we all know there is so much more that can be healed beyond the physical. Will you join the movement and debunk the myth?

To learn more about Wellness for Cancer, or for inquiries on how you can become a certified Wellness for Cancer spa or therapist, please contact Bellus Academy President Lynelle Lynch at Llynch@bellusacademy.edu or Spa Director Joanne Berry at joanne@wellnessforcancer.com.  View the official Bellus Academy Wellness for Cancer press release here:    http://www.bellusacademy.edu/wellness-for-cancer

Story by:  India K. Robinson, “Confessions of a Spa Bunny” coverage from ISPA East Coast Media Event July 27, 2016