Meet Marci Howard-May, wellness director at Red Mountain Resort (St. George, UT). Get to know the 22-year industry veteran who used to work in cardiac rehabilitation before entering the industry in an American Spa Spa Talk interview.
American Spa: How many years have you been involved in the spa and hospitality industry?
Marci Howard-May: I’ve been in the spa and wellness industry for 22 years.
AS: What was the path that led you into the spa industry?
MHM: I did a research paper on the benefits of massage therapy during my third year of studies towards my bachelor’s degree in exercise science to work in cardiac rehabilitation. I was instantly drawn to how dramatically I could affect the health and wellbeing of someone with just my two hands. I went to massage school shortly thereafter.
AS: What are the most challenging and rewarding parts of being in the spa industry?
MHM: The most challenging thing for me can be meeting the demands of my position while making sure I am practicing what I preach to guests and staff. There are times when I find it has been a bit of time since I last had a spa treatment or attended one of our fitness and wellness classes. The most rewarding part for me is that I am constantly learning and being challenged every day in dynamic ways. I am proud to be part of an industry that is so deeply passionate about helping others in so many diverse ways. I have found my tribe.
AS: What has surprised you most about working in the spa industry?
MHM: I have been surprised and love how this industry is constantly pushing itself to create new and better products across such a wide spectrum, treatments keep evolving and improving, and there is a strong focus on continued education and self-care.
AS: Where do you think the industry is heading?
MHM: I think the industry will continue to expand the body-mind connection. Spa origins are deeply rooted here and the world is finally recognizing how important it is to be utilizing spa offerings to take charge of their personal health and wellbeing. It is an exciting time with science now being able to prove what we as an industry have known to be beneficial and effective for a very long time.
AS: What’s your favorite skincare ingredient?
MHM: I love shea butter for its versatile usage and amazing benefits. It can be used from head to toe for amazingly soft skin. Shea butter has anti-inflammatory benefits and is full of vitamins and fatty acids to nourish the skin.
AS: What is the strangest client request you’ve fielded?
MHM: I had to give a full body massage to a woman using only Crisco. It was the only thing she thought she could have on her sensitive skin and not have a reaction.
AS: What new spa treatment would you like to try?
MHM: Watsu with Vibrational Sound Therapy.
AS: What’s your go-to spa treatment?
MHM: Cranial Sacral Therapy. I love how deeply relaxing and restorative it is and how much benefit I receive physically and metaphysically.
AS: If you could work in any other profession in the world, what would you be?
MHM: I would be a jewelry-making-yoga-instructor that works at a Big Cat Sanctuary.
AS: How do you like to spend your time away from work?
MHM: Exploring the outdoors with my family camping, hiking, biking, and boating.
AS: What are two things we don’t know about you?
MHM: I declined the offer to pursue a professional dance career—my then life’s dream—due to a sudden deep intuition that I would not be happy or healthy. Then I managed the Preventive Cardiology Department for the University of Utah hospital for over two years.
AS: What is your proudest accomplishment?
MHM: My two amazing daughters are my proudest accomplishment. They astonish me daily and I cannot wait to see what they bring to the world.
AS: What’s the best advice you’ve received?
MHM: “Make sure you take time to smell the roses.”—my Grandmother Cook
AS: What are your three greatest priorities in life?
MHM: My family. My personal wellbeing. My work.
AS: How would you sum up your personal philosophy?
MHM: Be kind and compassionate to yourself and to others.