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Archive for February 4th, 2012

A traveler’s guide to spa trends… Yoga & Music Therapy…

Posted by ElJay Arem (IMC OnAir) on February 4, 2012

A traveler’s guide to spa trends

By Leanne Italie
Associated Press

Posted: 02/04/2012 12:00:00 AM PST (Updated: 02/04/2012 01:39:20 PM PST)

From color therapy to frigid blizzard rooms, fresh trends are surfacing around the world in the $60 billion spa industry.

As destination resorts, day spas and beauty salons shake off economic worries, new luxury is playing out in all price ranges, according to the annual 2012 trends report by SpaFinder, an online spa portal.

Past trends such as wellness pampering and organic treatments haven’t been replaced but are being joined by a broader range of multisensory experiences, foot-healing practices, ice-cold therapies and child-friendly options, says Susie Ellis, president of SpaFinder.

Look for more wow, fun and wellness, and for more spa options in Asia, which Ellis said leads the world in industry growth.
With more than 100,000 spas worldwide, making sense of often-pricey services can be difficult, along with tracking evidence that they work. A nearly year-old, industry-funded website,, is a small but growing clearinghouse for clinical trials and published research on services ranging from yoga and music therapy to Ayurveda, the ancient holistic system of medicine from India, and “thalassotherapy,” the use of seaweed, algae and other materials from the sea.

“You are now moving from not only wellness but to wellness empowerment,” says Dr. Daniel Friedland, an internist and consultant who worked on the site.

Helping spa-goers hunt down research is a game-changer, especially now that more insurance companies and employers are willing to reimburse them for preventive care, Ellis says.

More from the SpaFinder report:

Cold and ice

With saunas, steam rooms, Whirlpool baths and rock massages, spas have traditionally used heat to de-stress and detoxify, but the industry is taking a cue from the Romans, who more than 2,000 years ago finished spalike experiences with a trip to the “frigidarium.”

Look for more ice therapies and cold rooms alternated with hot treatments to reduce pain and inflammation in muscles and joints, Ellis says.

At ESPA locations around the world, clients can scoop ice crystals from fountains to rub down after saunas. At the Qua Baths & Spa in Caesars Palace Las Vegas, visitors can head to the “arctic ice room” to sit amid falling snow as a more gentle transition from heat and steam than the usual cold plunge into a pool.

The luxury Dolder Grand in Zurich has a room for snowball fights.

Visitors to the AquaSpa at the golf resort the Belfry in the U.K.’s West Midlands can head to the “igloo” room and grab handfuls of ice for rubbing.

This month, spa designer Thermarium will introduce touch-screen technology allowing users to choose between light, moderate or blizzardlike snowfalls in cold rooms, SpaFinder says.

With cryotherapy, spa-goers in bathing suits wear protective socks, gloves, mouth and ear gear to avoid frostbite in rooms cooled to minus 184 degrees (visits last just moments).

The chambers are available at the new Sparkling Hill Resort & Spa in Vernon, British Columbia, and Champneys Tring Health Resort in Hertfordshire, England.

Elite athletes first took up cryotherapy. It’s earned mixed reviews from researchers for relieving pain and ailing muscles, but Mehmet Oz of “The Dr. Oz” show recently endorsed it. The first U.S. Cryotherapy Center, a 4,300-square foot facility in Roseville, outside Sacramento, opened in April.

Sensory experiences

Incorporating color, light, music and vibration as ambient afterthoughts is nothing new for the spa industry. Now they’re “becoming the main event,” the report says.

One innovation is software that creates real-time music, tones, beats and other sounds such as wind rustling and rivers to beats generated by a therapist’s movements in tandem with the client’s bodily responses during massages, SpaFinder said. The client leaves with a CD of the “well-being music-art” they helped create. The technology, MUUSA, is from Italy and in use at the Tombalo Talasso Resort in Castegneto Carducci in Tuscany.

During Aura-Soma, a client chooses four bottles of dual-colored liquid containing oils, flower essences and the “energy” of crystals for a reading of spiritual and emotional well-being, complete with a rubdown. Aura-Soma color readings are available in the United States at the Mii amo spa resort in Sedona, Ariz., and Qua at Caesars Palace Las Vegas, in addition to spas in the U.K., where the practice originated.

“I think you’ll see more of it,” Ellis says. “It’s quite an interesting new way of looking at and using color.”
Too far-fetched? Not far-fetched enough?

A Viennese artist who goes by the name “sha.” created canopied, cradlelike “tranquillity pods” for use in “AlphaSpheres” built into spas around the world, including Berlin’s Mandala Hotel ONO Spa and Bulgaria’s Kempinski Hotel’s Zalez facility. Guests are surrounded in blue light, sound and vibrations while they sway to the rhythms of their own breathing.

Happy feet

Chinese reflexology has been around for years. Now spas and wellness centers are targeting problems such as high-heel pain as part of menus for the feet.

Computerized analyses of your gait and foot treatments in zero-gravity chairs are available at the Canyon Ranch SpaClub in Las Vegas. New York City’s Yamuna studio has stiletto classes.

And the feet-only Stride in Palo Alto includes foot Botox to reduce odor and a “Walking on Clouds” treatment of filler injected into the ball of the foot for padding and pain reduction.

Yamuna Zake, the founder of Yamuna, uses small knobby spheres to condition aching feet and teach foot care. “You can’t get anywhere without those feet, yet they come with no education,” she says. “If you get it in your head what feet need, you can turn it around.”

The Mandarin Barber and Mandarin Salon in the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong are targeting men for a traditional Chinese foot treatment involving 10 razor-sharp blades performed by masters Samuel So and Ben Cheung.

Family affair

More spas are accommodating adults and kids together. Kid-specific spas are also on the rise, Ellis says.

The Jiwa Spa Resort at Conrad Bali Hotel has a “Mum and Me” package, where kids choose from foot baths, foot masks, back massages or chocolate milk baths and get a bath toy to take home while Mom picks her own selection of facials and massages.
Some spas are adding Dad to the mix. Karma Resorts in Indonesia offers “father and son chill-out massages,” the report says.

At the Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa in Maui, Hawaii, guests can book the “family spa suite” and treatments such as chocolate-coconut scrubs and massages for kids as young as 6. At Disney’s new family resort and spa Aulani on Oahu, the Laniwai Spa offers family suites; babies are welcome and young children can have massages.

Wows big and little

Some spas are trying to wow clients with unusual, eye-popping decor that defies traditional minimalism.

At the Boscolo Milano’s Atomic Spa Suisse in Italy, LED-illuminated mirrors cover treatment room interiors, sauna and baths for a bubbly champagne look. In Thailand, a luxurious rain forest wicker treehouse, “The Nest,” serves as a private spa suite suspended from the branches of a banyan tree at the Coqoon Spa at Indigo Pearl in Phuket. Canada’s Sparkling Hill Resort is adorned with 3.5 million Swarovski crystals and has crystal glass fireplaces.

Not all spas are Zen quiet or dead serious. The spa at Travassa Austin in Texas offers a workout on a mechanical bull. The CosquilleArte Spa in Madrid is the world’s first “tickle spa,” using feathers and light touch as stress-relievers during treatments.

(Source: 02/04/2012 –

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