Tag Archives: spa professionals

7th Annual Washington Spa Alliance – Timeless Growth

It was the first day of Spring in Washington, DC. While some anxiously visit the city to await the full blooms of the Cherry Blossoms, others came to connect, engage, and deliver for another reason.  This year, regional, national, and international spa industry professionals gathered at the newly renovated Watergate Hotel for a meeting of the minds at the 7th Annual Washington Spa Alliance Symposium (WSPA).

Like a recently hatched caterpillar hungry for food, symposium attendees fed and nourished their minds during the presentations from speakers and panelist, allowing them to peel off their layers and grow, with expanded knowledge at their core.

Stories of transformation and growth were told throughout the symposium. A few to highlight:

“Reflections of a Wellness Pioneer”, an inspiring video from Deborah Szekely, transported us back to the creation of Rancho La Puerta, when outdoor tents were made from World War I airplane wings, warm-up suits weren’t yet the norm for exercise, wellness was an experiment, and a sacred mountain “convinced people of their ability to change their life”.

“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” – Deborah Szekely

Ophelia Yeung, Senior Fellow Researcher at The Global Wellness Institute, started her presentation on the Spa & Global Wellness Economy with a definition of the word wellness.  Wellness, she indicated, is an English word without an equivalent translation in other languages.  Yet, despite the void of a one-for-one translation, statistics show the Global Wellness Economy growth at $3.7 trillion in 2015, with categories ranging from Workplace Wellness ($43b), Spa Industry ($99b), Wellness Tourism ($563b), and Beauty & Anti-Aging ($999b) to name a few.

The Global Wellness Institute defines “Wellness” as the active pursuit of activities, choices, and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health.

Co-founder of WSPA and Symposium Chair Emeritus, Mary F. Bemis, gave a brief history lesson on the Seven Timeless Truths of Spa, and then introduced Mia Kyricos, President/CEO, Kyricos & Associates, LLC.  Mia presented a “7 Timeless Truths” game plan by showing multiple trends (i.e., reading the tea leaves) for each timeless truth and offering a prediction for the future.  Some predictions made: “Spas will become true champions & prescribers of nature” with rooftop gardens in urban settings, and spa services delivered outside of your typical four walls.  “Spacernauts” will soon make their debut to include, spas with hourly fitness classes, cafes/juice bars, full-service spa boutiques, and hotel spas with existing local eateries.

Seven Timeless Truths of Spa: Community. Nature. Food. Fitness. Water. Quiet. Sleep.

Julia Sutton, Chief Operating Officer of Exhale Enterprises, served on the panel which discussed “Pushing the Boundary of Wellness”, her company is working on live streaming of fitness/wellness classes, while incorporating wearable technology, so that “you don’t cheat at home”.

Samer Hamadeh, CEO of Zeel, presented on “Technology: Disrupting the Status Quo”.  Technology advancements with Zeel provides solutions for both customers and therapists. Customer Experience: On demand, in-home convenience, therapists verified, vetted, and insured.   Provider Experience: Customers ID-checked for safety, more customers who book more often, better payout and flexible hours.  A few statistics showed 22% of massages are happening after 9pm and 55% of customers want a massage within 4 hours of requesting.  In some cases, a therapist can reach a customer in as little as 30min of a request.  Zeel’s “massage- on-demand” has expanded beyond just the at-home customer, but also serves as a resource to brick-n-mortar spas to fill temporary staffing needs.

Rona Berg, Editor-in-Chief, Organic Spa Media Ltd., provided a consumer perspective on how to “Connect, Engage, and Deliver Sustainable Wellness” through the interconnectedness of things – mind, body, spirit, health, and nature. One slide noted alarming data that shows by 2050, there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish, according to a World Economic Forum report.  Ways to help: Consume less, buy fair-trade organic, use cold water for laundry, eat grass-fed beef.  One statistic showed eating organic for one week has shown a 6% decrease in pesticides in our body.  The importance of bringing self-care rituals into your daily life was highlighted, and another definition of wellness was presented:

Well-Ness (noun): the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal.

Each year, after the information shared has rested in chrysalis, these WSPA caterpillars grow into beautiful butterflies, fluttering back to their respective domains to make their mark by connecting, engaging, and delivering, until the life cycle starts all over again.

 

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India K. Robinson, President & CEO
“Confessions of a Spa Bunny”, The H.I.S Agency, LLC
spabunny@hisincorporated.com

 Creator and Founder of “Confessions of a Spa Bunny”, India is an active member of the International Spa Association, Wellness Warrior, and the Washington Spa Alliance.  She is also a contributing author for Insider’s Guide to Spas.

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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