SpaFinder has announced its ninth annual forecast of the emerging concepts set to shape the world of spa next year, and beyond.
HEALTHY FEET TREATMENTS
Spas and wellness centres are now putting a big focus on feet: from ‘foot fitness’ classes to new 100-percent foot-focused med-spas to podiatrist-overseen ‘medi-pedis’ to treatments specifically targeting high-heel pain.
COLD AND ICE ARE HOT
Spas have traditionally been all about hot: saunas, steam rooms, Jacuzzis, hot rock massages, etc. ‘Hot’ is the spa world’s age-old weapon to make people relax, sweat, detoxify and draw blood to the surface. But now spas are bravely stepping out into the cold. We’ll see more icy therapies and cold-design experiences in 2012, along with more hot/cold contrast treatments. Perhaps no trend better exemplifies the spa industry’s trajectory away from ‘mere pampering’ than this one!
ONLINE WELLNESS GAMING
Gaming is not just about zapping virtual enemies anymore. With everything-themed games now, millions of people worldwide have played dozens of spa-focused games, including Sallie Spa, Sara’s Super Spa or Spa Mania. And Clarins just took the spa-themed game to a new level with its ‘Spa Life’ on Facebook, where players compete to manage an ever-rising flow of clients in search of treatments, and where they can redeem points for Clarins products.
Mind-body guru Deepak Chopra has a brand-new meditation game, ‘Leela,’ that uses 43 interactive exercises, focusing on the body’s seven energy centers, to help people relieve stress. Chopra spent three years designing ‘Leela,’ and has explained that it was the addictive nature of video games that attracted him, allowing his philosophies to reach and engage far more people.
PAIRING FINE DINING AND SPA-ING
Many hotels and resorts do very fine food AND very fine spa, but historically their star offerings have been dissociated, both in terms of marketing and as a consideration by guests. That is changing dramatically. Fine dining and spa-ing are being aggressively paired — packaged — curated — marketed — and savored together as never before. When five-star food and wine gets intertwined with five-star spa, it represents the ultimate romantic or special celebration experience.
VIBRATION, SOUND, MUSIC, LIGHT AND COLOUR THERAPIES
Spas have used sound, music, colour and light in the past, but typically as ambient, afterthought accessories. Now they’re often becoming the main event— and this new wave of approaches, each essentially rooted in vibrations and frequencies, is being unleashed to help us relax far more quickly, ‘clear energy blocks’ and relieve pain, and so on.
SPA EVIDENCE: SHOWING THE SCIENCE BEHIND SPA
The launch of the new website SpaEvidence.com gives the world easy access to the ‘evidence-based medicine’ databases that doctors use, so they can search thousands of studies evaluating which spa modalities are proven to work, and for which exact conditions.
SPAS BECOME A FAMILY AFFAIR
Spas have traditionally been retreats for grownups to relax and revitalize…far away from children. But there is a rapidly growing traveller demand to be able to bring teens, tweens and even tots along for the spa ride. Now that spas are broadly associated with wellness (rather than fussy ‘grown-up’ pampering), far more families, and many concerned about the growing childhood obesity epidemic, want to get their spa-on together.
SPAS GO FOR THE ‘WOW’
For many years, most people probably thought that one hotel or day spa sure seems a whole lot like any other: the same beige, Zen look, the same menu of treatments and homogenized experiences. But now spas are really piling on the ‘wow’ factors, serving up both big and small wows in a quest for individuation. And given the fact that, if once upon a time, conformity helped the budding spa-goer know what to expect when stepping into the spa realm, now spa-goers are far more seasoned, and they crave truly new ‘aha’ experiences.