Courtesy of The Raithwaite Estate Spa, N Yorks
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UK Spa Association

News and views from the UK Spa Association

How spas are changing in 2018

uksa aug 2018

Over the past 10 years the spa industry has changed, and so too has our collective attitude towards health and wellbeing.  In 2018, health is as fashionable as the Kardashians, and with that exposure has come a new appreciation of the many guises and components that can contribute towards meaningful, everyday wellbeing.

This year, more than any other, we have seen the rise of the personal wellness trend.  Where once we lived in a culture of bulk buying and throwaway style, the appreciation for investment in ourselves is now far greater, and that extends to health. From our face creams to our internal monologue, this is the year that has seen the rise of quality over quantity, as well as the understanding that health has an abundance of elements to it, from diet, nutrition and exercise, to meditation and even a little indulgence.

At the 2018 Global Wellness Summit, that trend will be galvanized with the year’s theme set as 'shaping the business of wellness’ - how the spa industry can support that growing interest and seismic shift in the collective desire for wellbeing.  Keynotes, panels and roundtables will see delegates discuss beauty, healthy eating, wellness tourism, fitness/mind-body, preventive/personalized medicine, complementary/alternative medicine, wellness lifestyle real estate, the spa industry, the thermal/mineral springs market and workplace wellness.

On social media, wellbeing is now in vogue, and a changing corporate culture [https://www.spabreaks.com/corporate-wellbeing] dictates that increasingly there is an understanding in big businesses that a balanced lifestyle leads to a more productive and long-lasting workforce.  The result is that despite our increasingly hectic lifestyles and lack of work/life boundaries, we no longer separate health from the rest of our lives in the way that we used to. Indeed, we’re getting to a space where we can see being healthy as something synonymous with enjoying ourselves and feeling good, rather than a space associated with deprivation.

So, what does that mean in the world of spa, and for us at Spabreaks.com?  It is a trend that marries with our longstanding goal of providing a spa break for everybody.  A goal that applies not only to providing a geographical spread of spa opportunities and a breadth of price points to clients, but also a variety of packages ranging from health retreats to hen parties [https://www.spabreaks.com/hen-nights] and afternoon teas, and, crucially, opening up the spa industry to anyone who previously felt marginalised.  In particular we have worked hard with our venues to provide spa days and breaks for anyone with or recovering from cancer through our Recovery Retreats [https://www.spabreaks.com/recovery_retreats], and we have aimed to make the booking process easier for anyone with a disability through our Accessible Spas [https://www.spabreaks.com/spa_for_all].

Part of our mission has been to work alongside some of the best and most innovative minds in the industry.  Earlier this year for example, we teamed up with White Calm Retreats [https://www.spabreaks.com/categories/pilates-and-yoga-spa-days-and-breaks], and have created a unique selection of wellness breaks that help women in particular to address particular health issues ranging from managing the menopause to dealing with stress. 

To us, personalised wellness is about having experts on hand who work with you directly on what is important to you; targeting retreats to deal with concerns that you have in particular rather than having a prescriptive model about what you should eat, how you should lose weight and so forth.  We also feel strongly that wellness should not be something to feel negative about, and there is always a time and a place for the more indulgent side of the spa experience in all its champagne and afternoon tea glory.  It is this breadth of opportunity in the spa industry that we are dedicated to highlighting for men and women who are both seasoned spa goers, and new to the experience.

To us, the spa experience can be a sportive feature that looks at the interconnecting facets of health and wellbeing from food to emotions. It’s not about drinking green smoothies, rebranding your Instagram account as a yoga bunny, or about self-punishment and a quest for perfection.  It’s about regular health and treats as well; it’s about taking care of yourself and understanding the complexities of the human mind and body, and ultimately, enjoying yourself in the process.

Written by Abi Wright - MD and Co-Founder of Spabreaks.com

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