Nature-Inspired Spa Experiences and Design Elements

Sherrie Tennessee, director of education at SpaSOS, discusses some of the nature-inspired experiences and design elements found at spas today.

Spa Menu Offerings and Treatments

Spas are incorporating natural elements into their treatment offerings. One of my favorite locations in Las Vegas is The Spa at Lakeside 2.0. The 80-minute massages include warm basalt stones without it being a full hot-stone service. It doesn’t create a sense of grounding. The location overlooks a man-made lake, and the owners take advantage of such. So, foot treatments are provided outside, overlooking the water. In addition, there is also a patio area with chairs and decorative space heaters that allow guests to enjoy the space all year round.

If that’s not feasible, spa locations could offer body wraps infused with seaweed or botanical extracts and facials featuring plant-based ingredients. There is a strong demand for plant-based products. Spas can use locally sourced and seasonal ingredients in the treatments and products and infused in various beverages, including water and tea. Local products support local farmers and allow spas to offer unique experiences and flavors benefiting the surroundings.

There are options to have experiences outside. I attend a yoga class at my favorite walking park every Saturday morning. Taking the concept further is the notion of forest bathing---removing shoes and walking around the trees to take in the environment. It is a practice that a doctor can now prescribe. If that isn’t an option, there is a simple walk in nature and the opportunity for collaboration. Spa owners can partner with walking groups, such as City Girls Who Walk DC, historic walking tours of the city, or yoga locations to offer nature experiences to clients.

Spa Design

There is a design movement to incorporate more plants and nature into the spa design. Nature has always promoted relaxation and wellbeing, and spas increasingly incorporate elements of the natural world into their offerings, with the infusion of calming sounds of nature through sound healing sessions. These sessions utilize singing bowls, gongs, nature recordings, or live instruments to create a deeply relaxing and restorative experience. Many spas are incorporating biophilic design principles, bringing elements of nature indoors. Nature-based design can include using natural materials like wood and stone, incorporating plants and greenery, and maximizing natural light. These elements bring the warmth and texture of the outdoors indoors, creating a sense of groundedness and connection to nature. Earthy tones like greens, blues, and browns often evoke a sense of calmness and connection to the natural world. These colors are known to have a calming effect on the mind and body, further enhancing the spa experience. Spas are embracing green light, which mimics the calming wavelengths found in nature. This gentle illumination creates a soothing ambience, promotes relaxation, and reduces stress. The inclusion of gentle nature sounds like flowing water, birdsong, or even brown noise lull guests into a state of deep relaxation, further amplifying the connection with the natural world. The color scheme plays a crucial role. Lush greenery takes center stage with the strategic use of plants. Living walls strategically placed potted plants, and even botanical gardens create a sense of tranquility and freshness. These plant additions purify the air and foster a connection with the outdoors, even within the spa walls.

Spas foster a holistic environment beyond physical pampering by incorporating natural elements in the menu and design. Spas can create a haven where guests can unwind, reconnect with nature, and experience renewed wellbeing. This nature-inspired approach to the spa experience reflects a growing recognition of the profound impact the natural world has on our physical and mental health.