Keeping up with the demand of consumers, spa services, like any other consumable good, continue to grown and change with the times. Here, according to the International SPA Association (ISPA), are several of the trends making headlines in 2008:
Feng Shui Your Gym
Forget stark lighting and full-length vanity mirrors. Hello waterfalls and fine art. Led by ambitious gym projects, more gym-goers will happily embrace the "Fend Shiu'd" gym. Projects such as Gwinganna in Austrailia and Clay in New York are prime examples of this trend, which reconfigures the gym environment as a place to not only tone the body, but also to elevate the mind and spirit.
Wellness is sweeping the globe, supported by scientific breakthroughs and the realization that the medical industry has been based on a "sickness" model. With consumers desiring to be healthier, more vital, and youthful in appearance, alternative practices and an emphasis on nutrition are becoming important aspects of spa-going.
Forget the deprivation
Want to lose weight? Forge the deprivation long associated with detox programs and weight-loss boot camps. Instead, spa-goers are indulging themselves in high thread-count sheets, well-appointed rooms, spa treatments, and a nurturing environment as they live it up while detoxing and losing weight.
Spa Real Estate
With health-focused baby boomers entering the real estate market to downsize or purchase vacation homes, a continuing trend for 2008 is a growing number of mixed-use developments with a strong spa focus. From spas adding residences, to developers adding spas, to hotels/resorts with spas adding condo units, the spa real estate mania is on.
Taking Sleep Seriously
Recent medical studies stress the importance of sleep for improved productivity at work, cardiovascular health, and even weight loss. In 2008, look for more hotel spas to bring in sleep directors, more destination spas to offer "snoozing zones" and massage scheduling that allows the therapist to say, "Stay on the table as long as you like" (finally!)
Hydro and Thermal Super-Experiences
Europe has long been known for its elaborate "sauna worlds" where guests can experience a Balinese mutli-steam bath, Finnish Sauna, Greek Herbal Bath, Indian Blosom Steam Room, Japanese Salt Steam Bath, Turkish Hammam, and a Zen garden - all in one place. America's newest high-profile resort and day spas, guests are starting to be treated to more than just a steam room, sauna and Jacuzzi.
Brands such as Armani and Versace, known for their chic designs, are opening over-the-top spas around the world. Guests can indulge at the first Armani-branded spa in Tokyo, Versace Group's spa at its Austrailian resort, and Prada Beauty's line exclusively at Ritz-Carlton properties.
The Next Generation of Spa-goer
Always trendsetters, teens are making their presence felt in the spa industry. Nearly four million have been to a spa where they learn how to deal with stress, eat nutritiously, and care for their skin. Thirty-four percent of spas offer teen packages and 16 percent have teen programs.
Spa Lifestyle=Healthy Lifestyle
Working to educate spa-goers, spas are teaching the basics that lead to a healthy lifestyle: eating nutritious food, exercising and relieving stress. In the U.S., 51 percent offer educational programs and nutritional consultations, 40 percent offer healthy eating classes, 26 percent have educational offerings on obesity and weight-gain issues, and 17 percent offer exercise programs for children and teens.
Plugged In for Time Out
As stress relieving a spa treatment is supposed to be, some people still need to be plugged in to take time out. Spas are incorporating technology such as WiFi in relaxation rooms. They are also developing treatments that combine biofeedback technology, guidance from wellness professionals, and light therapy to those suffering from depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder, and insomnia.
A full 76 percent of U.S. spas say they're applying environmentally sustainable practices, such as using green building tactics, planting organic gardens, using products made from locally-grown fruits, vegetables, herbs and plants, or selling mineral essential makeup.
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