Top 10 Spa Trends for 2007

The experts over at Spa Finder have come up with their top 10 trends for spas for the coming year, many of special interest to romantic travelers:

1. Sleep

Because of a sleep deprived population, look for a greater emphasis on creating ideal sleep environments through minimal light and sound, aromatherapy, ultra-relaxing spa treatments, etc. At destination spas (some of which already offer sleep programs) sleep specialists will help educate, diagnose and treat sleep apnea, insomnia and other disorders. More spas will focus on good sleep hygiene, offering sleep yoga programs and life coaches who address the underlying issues associated with poor sleep. Stay spas will also re-schedule their programs to start morning hikes and exercise programs a bit later (so people can sleep in) and allow for naps. Even day spas will get in on the sleep craze by offering relaxation lounges for a post treatment nap.

2. Detox

In the past detox denoted alcohol or drug rehabilitation, but today that definition has expanded to express any transition from unhealthful habits to healthful habits. As the culture continues to identify more toxins such as dietary no-no’s, stress, and environmental pollution ˆ look for more people to turn to spas for a range of detox solutions, including relaxation, all-organic diets, sweating (exercise, steams and saunas), and the purging of emotional baggage through one-on-one or group therapy work.

3. Spa Retreats

For years destination spas have offered occasional specialty weeks where experts are brought in and like-minded people gather to focus on a specific area of interest, such as yoga, sexual health, or to address medical concerns such as arthritis or quitting smoking.

Now resorts and hotels are getting into the retreat business, adding specialty programs or special accommodations that appeal to their past guests, in effect becoming destination spas for a period of time. Look for offerings such as wellness workshops, spiritual retreats, boot camps, or find your inner artist getaways to energize resort and hotel spa programs, attracting solo travelers with group events, workshops and shared meals.

4. Medical Tourism

In 2007 more and more people will travel to another city, state or country for medical spa experiences, creating a new trend: medical tourism.

A range of new technologies will attract these medical tourists: DNA analysis, for example, and new generations of anti-aging medicines, injectables and lasers. But another big draw will be cost. Squeezed by domestic health care costs, many Americans are going online and discovering global destinations that offer cutting-edge medical procedures for a fraction of the cost — often in beautiful, culturally rich locales like Bangkok, South Africa and India, to name a few. Also look for some travel agents to act as lifestyle coaches, helping to plan vacations that include preventive medical procedures and aesthetic med spa treatments as part of the journey.

5. Move Into a Spa Lifestyle Community

Spa Finder initially identified the genesis of the spa real estate trend at the end of 2004, and already the company is tracking 200 such properties in various stages of development. This growth will continue in 2007 as spa residences move beyond being the retirement option of choice for aging baby boomers to also attract younger families with children. More spa lifestyle communities will offer structured outdoor/exercise activities and healthy eating options just for children. This trend will also provide a great perk for older empty nesters, since the grandkids will have plenty to do when they visit.

6. The Bottom Line Becomes a Top-Line Consideration

More spa trends in the New Year will be driven by the bottom line, which will play an ever-larger role in shaping the competitive landscape and determining what the industry will offer. For example, the highest outlay for U.S. spa businesses is labor costs, which can consume over 50% of a spa‚s revenue. Domestically, this is one reason we‚ll be seeing an increase in de-staffed spa treatments, like heat and water experiences, which allow for a higher guest-to-therapist ratio.

7. Social Spa-ing

Community is the new privacy. Spa Finder is predicting that the search for solitude will be trumped by the natural desire for community and a growing awareness that social interaction is an important aspect of health.

8. How Green Is My Spa?

Consumers are now factoring in a spa’s green commitment when they choose a spa, and they’re looking for a spa that does more than just recycle and offer organic food. Spas and spa consumers are getting serious about terms like natural, organic, holistic, green, eco-friendly, and sustainable.

9. Beauty Inside-Out and Outside-In

Spa Finder forecasts that the spa industry will continue to lead innovation in skincare with new technologies and programs that recognize that beauty is much more than skin deep.

Spa visitors will continue to pursue maximum results by focusing on full-scale beauty regimens, from the inside out with anti-aging foods rich in antioxidants such as berries, dark green leafy vegetables, salmon, and nuts. There is also a renewed interest in natural and organic products, spurred on by skin-care companies making purity a priority, not a false promise.

And there’s plenty of science to learn about in the current beauty products market, including skin-care serums that penetrate the skin with peptides and nanotechnology, and basically work from the skin’s deeper layers up.

10. Spa Fusion

Thai massage (a fusion of yoga stretches and massage), Watsu (water and shiatsu), wellness (well-being and fitness) and yogalates (yoga and pilates) are just a few examples of spa fusion that Spa Finder has seen in years past.

Ryu-Jitsu (Japanese for Dragon Magic), a spa treatment recently launched in Manhattan at NAO Salon and Spa, is a good example of what you’ll bee seeing more of in ’07. The treatment begins with work on the Body Master machine, then progresses to sweating in a hot stone spa room, then to a combination of Shiatsu and Thai massage. Other popular fusions will include: facials with breathwork, jacuzzis with light therapy, massage with sound therapy, Neurobics (mind aerobics), and Kinesis, which is a new combination mind/body exercise experience.

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