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SPA AND MEDICAL

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					s pa a n d
m e d i c a L

    typEs of s
                 pas
                                                                                                                                March, 2007
                                             spa a n d m e dic a L : ty pe s of spa s


How to open
                                                                                 Whenever you’re ready, income can be increased exponen-
                                                                              tially by implementing an unlimited array of new services as fol-
                                                                              lows:


a spa in tHe                                                                  • MASSAGE
                                                                                 Swedish
                                                                                 Shiatsu

usa                                                                              Reiki
                                                                              • WATER THERAPY
                                                                                 Salt Water Floatation
                                                                                 Floatation Tank
                                                                                 Facials
                                                                                 Mud Bath
                                                                              • HAIR SERVICES
                                                                                 Styling
                                                                                 Perming
                                                                                 Coloring
                                                                              • NAIL SERVICES
                                                                                 Acrylics
                                                                                 Natural Nail Manicures
                                                                                 Wraps and Fiberglass Nails
                                                                                 Gels
                                                                                 Nail Art
                                                                                 Airbrush Nails
                                                                                 Nail Jewelry
                                                                                 Pedicures
                                                                              • TANNING
                                                                                  Beds or Booths
                                                                                  Airbrush
                                                                              • WAXING AND THREADING
                                                                              • SERVICES FOR MALE CLIENTELES
                                                                              • SPA PARTIES
                                                                              • NEW AGE SESSIONS
S     pa business is a growing field. Approximately, there are
      170 million spa visits per year made in the United States
with two-third of them are visits to day spas. Resort or hotel and
                                                                                 Yoga
                                                                                 Reiki
club spas come second.                                                           Tai Chi
   The beauty of this business is that you can open a spa wher-                  Xi Qong
ever you live. In fact, if you live in a scenic historical small town,
most likely your clientele base would be city people who are                  • MEDICAL SPA (REqUIRES MEDICAL LICENSES)
tired of living with the smog and traffic. This could be a strong               If you don’t have a special license yourself and aren’t consid-
selling point for your business.                                              ering obtaining one, consider hiring a licensed aesthetician. If
   For those with entrepreneurial spirit, becoming a spa owner is             you’re considering massage to your clients, you’d also need to
most likely a great fit. Training is available to anyone interested,          have a licensed masseur. There are various kinds of licenses
oftentimes for only very little investment, even if you have never            depending on the services offered. This varies from state to
worked as an aesthetician previously.                                         state.

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     Airport SpAS
   Long lines, heavy bags, and a person sneezing next to you – air travel is stressful. Fortunately, more airports are adding spas
   geared towards on-the-go travelers. No advance appointment needed!
   What services do airport spas provide?
   * Chair Massage – The most common service is a seated or chair massage. You sit fully clothed in a special chair that cradles
     you face while the massage therapist works on your back and shoulders.
   And you can get a chair massage for as short as ten or 15 minutes. It is great for working out kinks before they turn into hard
     knots! These treatments are sometimes available in small «kiosks» right by the gates.
   * Oxygen Therapy – You sit in a comfy chair with a two-pronged plastic tube up your
     nose, usually for 15 minutes, getting oxygen scented with essential oils that help you
     relax or boost your immune system.
   * Other popular services are manicures and pedicures. Facials are more unusual, but
     sometimes available. A few places offer full salon services – cut, color even high-
     lights.


  There are several career paths in this field that you can choose
based on your strengths and interests. You’re not restricted to
open a chic spa in a large strip mall, if you’re not ready.               wet». You can see if you like the people and the day-to-day day
  Some of the pathways to choose from:                                    spa environment.
     MOBILE SPA                                                             2. Attend some trade shows such as The International Spa
     HOME-BASED SPA                                                       Association Convention (www.ispaconference.com). That will
                                                                          give you a good overview of the industry, and allow you to net-
     SPA PARTIES
                                                                          work with other day spa owners.
                                                                            3. Understand that, to be profitable, you will have to spend a
                                                                          great deal of time in the spa. If you have to hire an expensive
                                                                          manager because you are unable to work in the spa, you will
                                                                          watch your margins shrink. The spa industry is a “low-margin”
                                                                          business in comparison to other businesses. It must be a labor
                                                                          of love.



                                                                          http://spas.about.com
                                                                          http://www.stylecareer.com
                                                                          http://www.spatrade.com




   3 steps to managing risk before you open a spa
   1. Work in a local day spa before you open your own property.
It is a great way to «dip your toe in the water before getting




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Icone: spa                                                                                                                                          March, 2007
                                        507349
625515, 708123, 203991, 378689, 389124, spa a n d m e dic a L : ty pe s of spa s


          ASPA CATEGORY overview
  aspa categoryOVERVIEW
     ASPA Industry Definitions

  Detailed below are the proposed category titles, with descriptive statements and criteria. The Descriptive statements and
  criteria have been drawn up based on the need to set a benchmark for the Australasian Spa Industry. The Criteria are for
  use as guidelines.

                                                      The Australasian Spa Industry

                           Day Spa                   Destination Spa               Natural Bathing Spa                 Related Spas



          Day Spa                       Resort Spa                  Natural Spring Spa                          Salon Spa


                    Wellness Spa                     Hotel Spa                      Hot Spring Spa                          Dental Spa


                               Bath House Spa                    Spa Retreat                     Natural Mud Spa                         Nail Spa


                                             MediSpa and                        Health Spa                    Sea Water Spa
                                             CosmediSpa


ASPA – Spa Industry Categories                                                                                                                            1
   title                     DeScriptive StAtement                                                   criteriA
                      Persons or business entities that provide profes-
                                                                           Must be able to demonstrate that they or their business provides a
   Associate          sional services and/or products that support the Spa
                                                                           service and or product that supports the Spa industry
                      industry




                                                     C AT E G O R Y: D AY S PA

    cAteGorY                           DeScriptive                                                            criteriA
                                                                                 Will need to provide evidence that the business meets with the re-
                                                                                 quirements of at least one of the following sub categories:
                                                                                             Day Spa
                      A business that provides professionally administered
   DAY SPAS           Spa services that are offered to clients on a daily ba-                Wellness Spa
                      sis within appropriate Day Spa facilities.                             Bath House Spa
                                                                                             MediSpa
                                                                                             CosmediSpa

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Sub Category                           Descriptive                                                        Criteria
                                                                             Will need to provide evidence of:
                                                                                       Spa services that include Body and Water Therapy.
                  A business that provides professionally administered                 Beauty Therapy and Massage services.
Day Spa           Spa services that are offered to client on a daily basis
                  within appropriate Day Spa facilities.                               Guest relaxation areas.
                                                                                       Locker/changing room facilities.
                                                                                       Guest amenities – complimentary beverages etc...
                                                                             Will need to provide evidence of:
                                                                                       Day Spa facilities.
                  Combines Spa services with Wellness Programs
Wellness Spa                                                                           Spa Therapy and Body Therapy
                  within appropriate Day Spa facilities.
                                                                                       Wellbeing and lifestyle programs.
                                                                                       Offers Spa Cuisine
                                                                             Will need to provide evidence of:
Bath      House Combines Day Spa services in a bathing environ-                        Day Spa facilities.
Spa             ment.                                                                  Spa Therapy and Body Therapy
                                                                               Bathing facilities.
                  Medical and wellness care in an environment that   Will need to demonstrate the ability to fit one of the two medical
                  combines Spa services as well as orthodox medical, categories
MediSpa           and/or cosmetic medical with complimentary thera-            MediSpa
                  pies and treatments.                                         CosmediSpa
                                                                             Will need to provide evidence of
MediSpa           Businesses that fully integrate orthodox medical ser-                Day Spa facilities.
Sub-Category      vices along side wellness programs and Spa thera-                    Fully integrated complimentary therapies and orthodox
                  pies.                                                                medical services.
Medi Spa
                                                                                       Spa services that include Body and Water Therapy.
                                                                             Will need to provide evidence of
MediSpa                                                                                Day Spa facilities
                  Medical businesses that offer cosmetic medical pro-
Sub-Category      cedures, Beauty and Spa Therapies.                                   Cosmetic medical procedures
Cosmedi Spa                                                                            Beauty and Spa services that include Body and Water
                                                                                       therapy.


                                     C AT E G O RY: D E S T I N AT I O N S PA

cAteGorY                            DeScriptive                                                         criteriA
                                                                             Evidence of Spa style therapies being offered with some water
                                                                             based treatments, Spa style service and a Spa philosophy.
                                                                             Made up of the following subcategories:
                      Spas that provide Spa style treatments with accom-
D e s t i n a t i o n modation or Spas within accommodation environ-              1.   Resort Spa
Spa                   ments.                                                      2.   Hotel Spa
                                                                                  3.   Spa Retreat
                                                                                  4.   Health Spa Retreat
Sub Category                           Descriptive                                                           Criteria
                  Spa business operating within a resort location, offer-
                                                                          Will need to provide evidence of:
                  ing Spa style Beauty and Body Treatments with some
Resort Spa        Water Therapy and Spa style service. May or may                   Spa services that include Body and Water therapy.
                  not offer Wellness Programs and Spa cuisine/healthy
                                                                                    Guest accommodation available.
                  food option.


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                                                                          Will need to provide evidence of:
                 Day Spa business operating within a hotel location
                 offering full Day Spa Therapies and services includ-               Day Spa facilities.
Hotel Spa        ing water therapy and relaxation areas. May or may                 Spa services that include Beauty, Body and Water Thera-
                 not offer wellness programs and Spa Cuisine/healthy                py.
                 food option.
                                                                                    Hotel accommodation available.
                                                                          Will need to provide evidence of:
                 Accommodation based facility offering Spa and Body                 Spa services that include Body and Water therapy.
Spa Retreat      Treatments, with some water based therapy. Offering
                 Spa Cuisine/Healthy food option.                                   Spa cuisine available
                                                                                    Guest accommodation available
                                                                          Will need to provide evidence of:
                                                                                    3 -7 day + packages that are programmed and include,
                 Spa business operating within a retreat location,
                                                                                    diet, fitness etc...
                 offering a full range of Spa Services and Wellness
Health Spa       Programs that address the clients health and lifestyle             Packages to be supplemented by Spa/body treatments.
                 needs, providing on site guest accommodation
                                                                                    Spa Cuisine available.
                                                                                    Guest accommodation available.



                              C AT E G O RY: N AT U R A L B AT H I N G S PA

cAteGorY                          DeScriptive                                                          criteriA
                                                                          Will need to demonstrate the ability to fit one of the two medical
                                                                          categories:
              Spa business operating within a retreat location, of-
              fering extensive use of communal bathing in naturally                 1.   Mineral Spring Spa
N A T U R A L occurring waters or mud pools with a full range of Spa
BATHING SPA services may or may not provide on site guest ac-                       2.   Hot Spring Spa
              commodation.                                                          3.   Natural Mud Spa
                                                                                    4.   Sea Water Spa
Sub Category                         Descriptive                                                       Criteria
                                                                          Will need to provide evidence of:
               Spa business operating within a retreat location, of-
               fering extensive use of communal bathing in natu-                    Spa services, in conjunction with extensive communal
Mineral Spring rally occurring spring water pools or baths with a full              bathing facilities, that includes but are not limited to:
Spa            range of Spa services , may or may not provide on                     Mineral springs
               site guest accommodation
                                                                                    Guest accommodation may or may not be available.
                                                                          Will need to provide evidence of:
               Spa business operating within a retreat location, of-
               fering extensive use of communal bathing in naturally Spa services, in conjunction with extensive communal bathing facili-
Hot Spring Spa occurring Hot Spring Water pools or baths with a full ties, that includes but are not limited to:
               range of Spa services , may or may not provide on                  Hot Springs
               site guest accommodation
                                                                                 Guest accommodation may or may not be available.
                                                                     Will need to provide evidence of:
               Spa business operating within a retreat location, of-
               fering extensive use of communal bathing in naturally             Spa services, in conjunction with extensive communal
Natural Mud occurring mud pools or mud baths with a full range of                bathing facilities, that include but are not limited to:
Spa            Spa services may or may not provide on site guest                  Natural Mud
               accommodation.
                                                                                 Guest accommodation may or may not be available.
              Spa business operating within a retreat location, of- Will need to provide evidence of:
              fering extensive use of sea water in baths and treat-
Sea Water Spa ments with a full range of spa services may or may              Spa services, with extensive use if sea water
              not provide on site guest accommodation.                        Guest accommodation may or may not be available.


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                                      C AT E G O RY: R E L AT E D S PA S

 cAteGorY                        DeScriptive                                                        criteriA

                                                                        Business will need to provide evidence to fit into one of the following
                                                                        categories:
             Businesses that incorporate spa principles into their
RELATED SPAS philosophy and practices, with minimal water therapy                 Salon Spa
SPA          facilities and minimal guest amenities.                              Dental Spa
                                                                                  Nail Spa
 Sub Category                       Descriptive                                                      Criteria
                                                                        Will need to provide evidence of:
                 Beauty Therapy and/or Hair businesses with minimal               Spa style Body therapy services being made available.
                 water therapy facilities and minimal guest amenities
Salon Spa        which offer in their menu list Body Therapy treat-               Some water on site – may be only a shower in room or a
                 ments, and aspire to providing a high «Spa» level of             domestic style still bath or Jacuzzi
                 service and present a Spa style holistic philosophy.             A definite Spa style approach and philosophy in their
                                                                                  menu and collateral.
                                                                        Will need to provide evidence of:

                 Dental Care businesses that integrates Dental Ther-              Day Spa facilities.
Dental Spa       apy with Spa services.                                           Day Spa facilities that include Body and Water therapy.
                                                                                  Holistic approach to Dental Care.
                                                                        Will need to provide evidence of:
                 Businesses that offer hand and foot care in a Spa
Nail Spa                                                                          Spa style Nail, Hand and Foot services
                 style environment
                                                                                  Some Water Therapy services.




http://www.australasianspaassociation.com




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spa management:
Busy – Lazy – smootH
                                                                                10. To help guard against potential fire hazards, avoid over-
                                                                              loading electrical circuits, keep properly maintaining fire extin-
                                                                              guishers and use fire alarms.

                                                                                 TAkING THE PLUNGE WITH REVENUE MANAGEMENT
                                                                                 How often does your spa experience selling out on certain
                                                                              days of the week and having lots of free spots on others?
                                                                                 Do you wonder if those discount coupons are really adding
                                                                              to your profit, especially when you have to honor them during a
                                                                              very busy day?
                                                                                 Do you wonder which customer will give you more business in
                                                                              the long-run (even though they are paying less now) and hence
                                                                              you should accept over another customer who is paying a huge
                                                                              premium for wanting to be pampered NOW, but may just visit
   TOP 10 RISk MANAGEMENT TIPS FOR SPAS                                       your spa this one time, never to be heard or seen again?
   1. Proper documentation is imperative. Have a client waiver                   Do you wish there is a more systematic, scientific way to man-
written or reviewed by an attorney that releases you from liabil-             age and measure your business?
ity when clients are in your spa. Clients should review and sign
                                                                                 If your answer to any of the above is a resounding «yes», then
spa policies prior to receiving treatment.
                                                                              perhaps it is time to consider using the time-honored, results
   2. In addition to the waiver, have clients fill out a pre-treat-           proven, scientifically developed revenue or yield management
ment questionnaire that is reviewed by the therapist to look for              system airlines, car rental companies and hotels use to over-
contraindications.                                                            come the very same problem you are experiencing: managing
   3. Perform an annual safety audit to look for surface potential            resources that are perishable (don’t sell the service spots, you
hazards and fix them before they become a problem. Look at                    lose them forever) and fixed capacity (you can’t build another
flooring, equipment, air quality, humidity levels. Note the effects           treatment room just to accommodate the additional request for
of any new services implemented during the year.                              that particular day).
   4. Put safety policies in writing and give copies to your em-                 In a nutshell, revenue management is the science of using
ployees. Make sure they actually read them!                                   past history and current levels of booking activity to forecast
   5. Make sure parking facilities and walkways are free or de-               demand as accurately as possible to maximize revenue. Every-
bris and well lit to reduce accidents. Install slip-resistant flooring        one attempts to even out the peaks and valleys of occupancy by
and placing nonskid floor coverings in locker rooms and wet                   increasing rates during times of high demand and discounting
areas.                                                                        them when demand is low…. Too often, however, the trigger for
   6. Make sure you have the proper general liability insurance,              action, especially discount action, is an emotional reaction to low
and that you are covered for any new service you add-especial-                levels of bookings for short-term arrivals, and not a reasoned
ly anything with a medical «spin.» (microdermabrasion, glycolic               decision based actual – but hard to see – trends.
peels, etc.)                                                                     Sounds like the problem you are encounter-
   7. Remind staff of the proper methods of performing treat-                 ing? You betcha!
ments to reduce repetitive strain injuries and workman’s comp                    But you are just a small spa with very little
claims. This is especially important for massage therapists                   money and a lot of enthusiasm to get
whose work is so physical.                                                    started right away. What can you do?
   8. Practice internal control and prevent employee theft by lim-               Here’s how you can start today.
iting the amount of cash in the facility and changing deposit                    Step 1. Look at the days where
schedules regularly.                                                          you have very little business. Let’s
   9. Keep you facility spotlessly clean, and make sure equip-                call these the «lazy days». And
ment such as pedicure thrones have the capability to be com-                  look at the days where you have
pletely free of bacteria through daily cleaning.                              so much business that the line is

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                                                                                                                Step 4. If you use discount
                                                                                                             coupons, look at them and see
                                                                                                             if you have allowed your cus-
                                                                                                             tomers to use them whenever
                                                                                                             they want, or if you have re-
                                                                                                             stricted the use to certain days
                                                                                                             (lazy days) only.
                                                                                                                You want to re-design your
                                                                                                             discount coupons to restrict
                                                                                                             their patronage to lazy days
                                                                                                             only, for obvious reasons.
                                                                                                                And voila! You are all set. Go
going out of the door, around the block. Let’s call                                                          ahead and give this simple plan
these the «busy days».                                                                                       a try for a couple of months.
                                                                                                             Shift the demand from the busy
   Step 2: Instead of discounting immediately, or                                                            days to the lazy days. Make the
further, to attract more customers to the lazy days,                                                         entire week equally busy. See
raise the price a little higher (5 %?) for all the days                                                      how you, your therapists and
and all services.                                                                                            your customers like it. Be sure
   Yep, you heard me: raise the prices. Do calm                                                              to give it time to work.
down. I promise this works. Please keep reading.                                                                Once you have mastered this
   Step 3. Now you can do a little discounting. Tell                                                         technique, you are ready to look
all your customers that on the lazy days, you will                                                           at the busy months and the lazy
give them a 15 % discount across the board for all services. (If           months, and shift the demand based on the same principles
15 % is too high for you, try a figure that works best for you, but        you used with the lazy months. A little more creativity is needed
it must be more than the percentage you raised your prices to              to do this, but with the practice you have had on the lazy days-
so that the prices appear attractive to your customers.)                   busy days I am confident that you are ready to take a look at
   Those customers who are sensitive to getting «good bar-                 the bigger picture and manage your revenue streams better. In
gains» and are not too concerned about the convenience of                  time to come, your business would have grown to be even more
getting pampered on any particular day will come on the lazy               successful, and you will be ready to take on the full works of rev-
days where the discounts are offered. So in time, you will bring           enue management and enjoy the financial benefits of this tool.
more business to the lazy days.
   Customers who do not care very much about prices and just               http://www.stylecareer.com
want to be pampered whenever they feel like it (most likely on             http://www.spatrade.com
the busy days) will still come on the busy day.
   Essentially, what I have asked you to do is to balance out the
demand for your services so that there are less dramatic differ-
ences in your business on different days. No more peaks and
valleys, just an even load of business everyday.




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tHe reaLities
of spa
empLoyment

C      an you script a list of the most desirable characteristics
       of a massage therapist in a spa setting? The East West
College of the Healing Arts in Portland, Ore., sponsored a sym-
                                                                               • An ability to focus on creating a polished professional at-
                                                                            titude – including dress, comportment, and grooming – in ad-
                                                                            dition to the more personal internal skills developed as a mas-
posium last summer, inviting a dozen spa directors from around              sage therapist.
the country to participate in a discussion about the education of              • An ability to focus on the ethics and etiquette particular to
spa therapists. These were key decision makers from proper-                 the spa setting, in addition to the ethics of massage therapy in
ties like the Ritz, Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, the Spa at the Hotel             general.
Hershey, Mii Amo at Enchantment in Sedona, Canyon Ranch,                       Many massage therapists, when seeking work in a spa, fail to
Marriott’s Renaissance Esmeralda, and top-class, high-volume                grasp how important these non-massage factors are. Perhaps
day spas. What did they look for in a resumé? What was the key              this is because massage therapists are by nature so indepen-
quality on which they focused? Was it palpation skills? Depth               dent, and the X-factor has more to do with interdependence
of pressure? Ability to do energy work? The answers to these                than independence. This is the cause of a huge communica-
questions might surprise you.                                               tions gap in the spa industry, with directors and owners on one
   The fact is that massage skills were taken for granted by these          side wanting a customer-service-oriented, team-playing treat-
directors. They assumed anyone who stood a chance of getting                ment staff and therapists on the other side wanting to be left
through the door would be a technically accomplished therapist.             alone in their treatment rooms to express their artistic healing
This does not necessarily mean the candidate had to have long               abilities on their own terms and in their own way. (…)
experience. Even new graduates were considered for positions,                  In this article, I focus on the qualities for which spa directors
but their ranks were winnowed via a rigorous, hands-on screen-              are looking – including customer service, an aptitude they con-
ing process, often consisting of multiple test massages given               sistently rank at the very top of the list of what areas their thera-
back to back, assuring a certain level of competence right off              pists need improvement. (…) What are the skills and qualities
the bat.                                                                    that a spa therapist needs to cultivate in order to consistently of-
   What all of these spa professionals were looking for, without            fer high-quality customer service? There are several, the most
exception, was something entirely nonphysical. You might even               important being: sensitivity, flexibility, positivity, humility, respon-
call it esoteric. They were seeking that elusive X-factor that              sibility, maturity, and connectivity.
makes a great spa therapist great, and although it cannot be                   Sensitivity: As a massage therapist, you are most likely
precisely defined, spa directors agree that this X-factor consists          a sensitive person. Empathy is high on your list of important
of several key qualities:                                                   personality traits. Nonetheless, empathy for a client’s pain,
   • An ability to focus on customer service above and beyond               tightness, or stress is not the same as empathy for a client’s
the service rendered as massage therapy.                                    customer service needs. Just because you know how to release
   • An ability to focus on working as part of a team, not just as a        a person’s frozen shoulder does not mean you will be able turn
solo massage therapist.                                                     her into a completely satisfied spa guest. In fact, sometimes,
   • An ability to focus on retail sales, augmenting the spa’s prof-        your special empathetic abilities can actually get in the way of
its beyond what can be generated through massage therapy                    this process; you are so involved with clients on a therapeutic
and body services.                                                          level you forget some of their other needs. This often happens


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      When you work in a spa, you are part of a larger entity, and the clients you deal with have an entirely different set
    of expectations regarding customer service. In fact, they expect the very best customer service on the planet. Why?
    There are several reasons:
    • For many people, spas epitomize the height of luxury. Customers cannot imagine a destination that would more
    thoroughly fulfill their ideals of class and refinement. Any chink in the armor of the spa’s image (caused by less-than-
    perfect customer service) creates grave misgivings about the entire experience.
    • Spas set themselves up for these high expectations by giving themselves names such as «Bliss,» «Nirvana,» and
    «Heaven.»
    • The public generally feels that spas charge high (some might even say inflated) prices for their services. They do
    not understand the high overhead costs involved with running a spa and therefore think that spas «owe» them extra
    service for the money they are paying.



in physicians’ offices. Many, though certainly not all, doctors                    treatment room. Obviously, there are limitations as to how far
are notorious for their brusqueness and insensitivity to patients’                 you should go to appease guests’ needs. You need to be es-
needs outside of the treatment or operating room. In fact, the                     pecially aware of ethical considerations and never compromise
concept of «customer service» might seem laughable to them.                        your own standards of right and wrong. However, if you look
You might want to search your own soul a bit and see if you                        deeply within yourself at times of decision, you might find your
discover any of this attitude within yourself.                                     reluctance to meet a guest’s expectations is based more on a
   Fle x i b i l i t y : In the spa environment, your ability to accept            personal preference rather than a true ethical standard. Always
change is absolutely vital. Without it, you will flounder at crucial               «check in» with yourself to see which is the case in each situ-
moments when you should be steady and strong. If you are                           ation.
too attached to your own schedules and routines, you will not                         Humility: It is important to remember the guest should be
be able to accommodate constantly fluctuating guest demands                        the center of attention in a spa, not the therapist. While this may
and workplace conditions. Although the work life of a spa thera-                   seem excruciatingly obvious, it entails a degree of retraining for
pist might look serene from the outside, and perhaps even                          some therapists, especially American therapists, who are easily
boring, the reality is much more fluid, dynamic, and at times                      riled by anything that might be termed «subservience.» Humility
even upsetting. You must be able to stop on a dime, assess                         is not subservience. Therapists working at a spa learn to put the
any new situation, and turn in a completely new direction if it is                 guest’s needs and the therapeutic interchange above their own
warranted.                                                                         need for recognition.
   One example where flexibility is necessary is in scheduling.                       It is also important to                    cultivate humility
Oftentimes, spa guests will change their appointments at the                       when faced with your                             own therapeutic
last minute, or an appointment will be added or dropped from                       limitations. You may                                find yourself
the schedule without your knowledge. These are moments that                        working in a spa one                                  day      faced
can cause you frustration, and you have to be ready for them.                      with the temptation to                                overstep your
Instead of getting upset, which will definitely carry over and in-                 abilities and knowl-                                   edge. A guest
fluence any guest interaction you have afterward, perhaps even                     may ask you to treat a
souring a therapeutic session, you can take the opportunity to                     condition or problem for
remind yourself once again that customer service comes first.                      which you are not ade-
If you cannot learn to maintain a positive mindset during the                      quately trained. It is important
inevitable fluctuations in your daily routine, you will not become                 at that moment to humbly state
the most valuable therapist you can be.                                            you are not certified for that
   Po s i t i v i t y : The ability to stay positive in all situations will        type of work, rather than at-
serve you well in a spa setting. Spa guests can be demanding,                      tempting heroics.
and you may find yourself at times stretched to the limit in your                     Spa therapists also need
capacity to stay positive when it comes to meeting those de-                       humility when it comes to
mands. Given these high expectations, it is imperative you are                     following instructions. At
always able to find a way to turn customers’ experiences into                      times, our independent natures
positive ones, to say «yes» to the guests.                                         lead us to shrug off directives
   The interactions you have with guests in lounge areas, locker                   from superiors. This is not a good
rooms, at the front desk, and on the phone should all be tem-                      idea. In order for a spa to work smoothly, a
pered by the same professional positivity you display in the                       certain amount of hierarchy is necessary.

                                                                              4
                                                                                                                                  March, 2007
                                             spa a n d m e dic a L : ty pe s of spa s
                                                                              the spa, for the betterment of guests and, one would hope, an
                                                                              improvement in the overall business. Spa directors and own-
                                                                              ers look closely at how many continuing education classes their
                                                                              therapists have taken, the breadth and depth of the work they
                                                                              offer to the spa’s clientele, and their overall commitment to their
                                                                              massage therapy careers.
                                                                                 «Financial maturity» is greatly appreciated by spa owners as
                                                                              well. (…) Too many therapists work in spas, take home a de-
                                                                              cent paycheck, and then complain bitterly they could be making
                                                                              more on their own. If that is the case, then perhaps it would be
                                                                              best to go out on your own and make more. It is a mature thera-
                                                                              pist who knows better than to spread the sentiments of remorse
                                                                              and regret among coworkers and perhaps even the guests.
                                                                                 Connectivity: Rubbing people down, scrubbing them off,
                                                                              and wrapping them up are simply the external excuses for the
                                                                              inner connection you make with guests. In order to be the best
                                                                              spa therapist you can be, you should strive to connect with cli-
                                                                              ents in other ways, opening as many avenues of communica-
                                                                              tion as possible. It is best to approach the spa’s clients with a
                                                                              caring open heart, treating each one of them as if they were a
                                                                              client in your own private practice or even a guest in your home.
                                                                              This allows the customer to feel deeply cared for, which is the
                                                                              essence of the spa experience.
                                                                                 In conclusion, I offer you some words of encouragement: Put-
                                                                              ting an emphasis on customer service does not sound the death
                                                                              knell for your dreams of therapeutic integrity. Opening your arms
                                                                              to the spa world does not mean you are closing them to clinical
                                                                              work, deep tissue work, energy work, or any other kind of work.
                                                                              People want high quality bodywork, and they want to receive
                                                                              first-class customer service. If you position yourself as one of
                                                                              those rare therapists who understands this and is willing to work
   Re s p o n s i b i l i t y : Spa therapists not only shoulder the          within the parameters the spa industry presents, you will have
typical responsibilities expected with such a position (such as               the opportunity to do your therapeutic work, reap the monetary
punctuality, cleanliness, therapeutic integrity, and so on), but              rewards, and have an impact on the spa world as it develops.
they also carry the additional responsibility of playing a type of
role model for the guests who come to the spa expecting to be
instructed (both verbally and nonverbally) in the arts of healthy             Steve Capellini is a massage therapist, business trainer, and
living and lifestyle. If you work in a spa, you will, in a sense, be          spa consultant. It is possible to read a non-abridged version
responsible for being a certain kind of person. This does not                 of the article at www.massageandbodywork.com
mean you cannot simply be yourself. But, at least while you are
on the job, you will need to maintain an awareness you are also
representing the spa and, beyond that, the spa lifestyle.
   Ma t u r i t y : Mature therapists are attractive to employers, and
mature in this sense does not mean old or even well-seasoned.
It means someone with a long-term perspective, someone who
brings knowledge, commitment, and passion for her work into




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