Benefits of Spa Treatments Gaining Credibility

There is a growing body of medical evidence about the proven benefits of wellness approaches like massage, hydrotherapy and meditation. The mainstream media is also touting the benefits of holistic treatments that improve quality of life. Oprah Magazine recently featured an article on the Health Benefits of Massage, and SpaFinder’s ClubSpa blog recently featured the benefits of hydrotherapy.

The Oprah article features a Cedars-Sinai study on massage which revealed that sujects who had a Swedish massage with moderate pressure experienced decreases in stress hormones and increases in white blood cells, indicating a boost in the immune system. Meanwhile volunteers who had a "light touch" treatment showed higher levels of oxytocin, a hormone that promotes bonding. The findings indicate that massage might be effective in treating inflammatory and autoimmune conditions.

The ancient healing practice of “Taking the Waters” is making a comeback. The benefits of hydrotherapy include an increase in endorphins and blood cirucation, reduction in stress and pain. “We are likely to see a renaissance in the hydrotherapy arena that was considered a relaxing past time for grandparents – especially in Europe,” says Susie Ellis,  President of SpaFinder and Global Spa Summit Board Members.“SpaFinder forecasts a renewed respect for the benefits of sanitas per aqua that has recently taken a backseat to weight loss, beauty and fitness.”

At the 2010 Global Spa Summit, Dr. Kenneth R. Pelletier, Clinical Professor of Medicine at major U.S. university hospitals, challenged the spa industry to “be less conservative and get organized about generating and communicating the evidence-based data about the efficacy of its various approaches and therapies.” Acting on this Pelletier’s suggestion, the Global Spa Summit is developing the First-Ever Evidence-Based Database For Spa and Wellness Approaches. The goal of the study is to aggregate and curate research into an accessible archive and promote existing scientific research highlighting the medical value of various spa modalities.

The evidence-based database that will result from the GSS project will be available for free as a resource to those interested in accessing evidence for some of the most common modalities offered in spas and wellness centers.  Promoting the benefits of wellness and spa will most certainly increase demand for these types of treatments.  In a recent study by SRI International,  71% of consumer respondents said they would be more likely to visit a spa if they learned that a series of research studies demonstrated that spa treatments deliver measurable health benefits.

Are you promoting the benefits of spa treatments in your business? Share your success stories with us!