By Voncelle Mull
Each spring, regional, national and international spa industry leaders gather in the nation’s capitol for the Washington Spa Alliance’s (WSPA) Annual Symposium. This year’s interactive conference took place at the historic Watergate Hotel located in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of northwest DC. Now in its seventh year, the Washington Spa Alliance has proven to be a vanguard organization that works to promote the exchange of ideas, education and innovation in the wellness industry. They ensure the highest spa ideals are met through policy and interaction.
The symposium theme, “Connect, Engage, Deliver,” highlighted the Seven Timeless Truths of Spa: Community, Quiet, Nature, Fitness, Water, Food and Sleep. These were presented by Mary Bemis, co-founder of WSPA and editor of Insider’s Guide to Spas. Sharing correlating trends for each timeless truth was international spa consultant Mia Kyricos of Kyricos & Associates. These truths are the capstone to creating spa experiences that transcend the demands of wellness consumers who are now looking for more authenticity.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported more than 300 million people are living with depression, which is an increase of more than 18 percent between 2005 and 2015. This could be a direct link as to why today’s wellness consumers desire interconnectedness along with a deeper sense of self. Spa goers are longing for a comprehensive approach to wellness that incorporates personalized experiences and restoration.
According to Kyricos, the spa trends for 2017 include sleep programs, adult play activities, digital detox and unplugging, smart-water based treatments, continuation of fad diets (i.e. Whole30), active meditation, and conscious communities that shift their focus from healthcare to “wellcare.” Other distinguished symposium speakers, like editor-in-chief of Organic Spa Magazine Rona Berg, echoed the message of renewing the mind, body and spirit.
Encouraging communities to promote healthy sustainable living as a part of national wellness is a growing campaign in the spa industry. Organizations like Wellness Warriors attended the WSPA symposium for their Annual Day on the Hill, in which spa industry leaders speak to members of congress and advocate for good health and wellbeing for all Americans.
Originally founded by Deborah Szekely (who opened North America’s first health and fitness resort), Wellness Warriors is addressing all major health issues that threaten large sectors of the population like chronic disease, sustainable food systems, and exposure to toxic chemicals. Their Policy Well initiative was developed to make wellness policy a national voting issue and to hold legislators accountable for their commitment to wellness.
“The U.S. wellness economy is now worth $14 billion dollars a year,” said Damon Cory-Watson, Wellness Warrior’s Executive Director. “Policymakers have not yet grasped the significance and potential of this economy to significantly shift our nation’s health outcomes. We have an opportunity to strengthen the wellness community, while positively impacting our nation’s health.”
Although there is room for improvement with wellness legislation in our state, the spa and wellness industry in Arizona continues to thrive. Local spas and wellness facilities are creating experiences that focus on creativity, mindfulness and community.
The Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa currently offers journaling classes taught by luxury travel journalist and wellness writer Dena Roche. Roche’s company, Journaling Atelier, teaches participants to disconnect with the outer world to unleash their inner muse. Roche says, “Writing gives wings to our thoughts, feelings, emotions, dreams, and goals. The simple act of writing can empower or depower something; can take a dream to a concrete goal.”
To combat restlessness and embrace the healing powers of sleep, the Four Seasons at Scottsdale Troon North offers Sleepytime services that help guests prepare for bed, like the Dream Weaver Massage that begins with guided relaxation to promote restfulness and calm. Guests also receive bath salts to continue the relaxation in their room or at home.
The Four Seasons Scottsdale at Troon North is also staying on top of spa trends with their Wine & Unwind series. This healthier version of happy hour begins with a yoga flow class. Guests enjoy incredible views of the Valley on the resort’s outdoor lawn while local guitarist Alex Hristov provides live music during the hour-long yoga practice. After the session, participants mingle with friends over a glass of red or white wine.
Canyon Ranch in Tucson is offering residents a life-changing experience with their Life Enhancement Program. The week-long journey to wellness gives guests an opportunity to concentrate on interests, concerns and intentions that deserve their full attention. There is a generous allowance of health and healing consultations, spa services, lab testing, and meeting with Canyon Ranch physicians.
Although consumers are still interested in the most popular wellness services like massages and facials, the new direction of wellness is taking the client out of the treatment room to assist with connecting and healing on a deeper level. Whether locally or nationally, the timeless truths of spa and wellness will continue to adapt to active pursuit of a lifestyle that leads to holistic health.
For more information on the Washington Spa Alliance, visit washingtonspaalliance.com. For more on the Policy Well initiative, visit policywell.com.
Voncelle Mull, LE, is a licensed aesthetician and spa industry expert. She is the owner of Well Served Media LLC and co-founder of the Southwest Spa Alliance. She hosts annual community wellness events that create rewarding experiences which provide useful health and lifestyle information to financially disadvantaged families and communities.
Find more health & wellness articles at greenlivingaz.com/health.