Q & A with Anna-Cari Gund, president of CIDESCO International

Woman Getting Massage
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How many years have you been involved in the spa industry?

I have worked in the spa and beauty industries for more than 25 years. Time flies when you are having fun!

What was the path that led you into the industry?

I studied chemistry and became interested in how ingredients in cosmetic products could enhance treatments. A friend introduced me to a CIDESCO education program and the rest is, as I guess one can say, history.

What are the most challenging and rewarding parts of being in the spa industry?

Meeting the positive and devoted people involved in this industry is extremely rewarding. I cannot think of any other profession that is more devoted and enthusiastic than spa people.

What has surprised you most about working in the spa industry?

The fast and continuous growth and demand for the tranquillity that spa stands for. With fast living, this is what people will need for both body and soul in the future.

Where do you think the industry is heading?

I think there will be greater use of electrical equipment in the future, as a complement to the original philosophy of the four cornerstones of spa. There is so much great technology today.

How much business training should spa management provide to their team?

Business training, as a crucial part of continuous professional development, will be a huge benefit for everyone involved. To understand the financial side of the working environment is an essential element as well as involving the team in the day-to-day business. Everyone will then feel that the success is a team effort.

Why has training and education become a critical issue for the success of the global spa industry?

Every five-star hotel knows how important standards and quality are. You can have a gorgeous spa with the latest design, products, and equipment and an impressive treatment menu that builds the guests expectations. But if you then don´t have a well-trained, qualified, and experienced therapist who can deliver excellent client service and an unforgettable treatment, the guest experience will be mediocre. Nowadays, the customer is more and more demanding and they expect a certain standard. Qualified and educated therapists are vital.

What is the most bizarre treatment you’ve experienced?

I could name a few…a Scotch Hose in a Hamam in Turkey that almost nailed me to the wall, a self-tan shower that turned me bright orange and a facial in Paris with a G5 massage machine that was so strong it nearly removed my fillings, but I survived to tell the story and they sure were an experience.

What new spa treatment would you like to try? 

Wellness Massage Air by Lefterow is a new holistic treatment developed in Sweden, which is performed with the client on a hammock in the air and the therapist working from the floor. Sounds amazing. Almost like floating!

What’s your go-to spa treatment?

I have to have my nails done every 4 weeks! Then I really enjoy a well-executed body scrub followed by a nice relaxing aromatherapy massage for both face and body—it´s heaven!

What positions have you worked in that you feel have been most influential to your career?

The 15 years as principal of a CIDESCO School has given me the experience to appreciate how important education is for the growing demands of the spa and beauty industries. My eight years as vice president and two years as president of CIDESCO International have given me the opportunity to influence the future of the industry.

If you could work in any other profession in the world, what would you be?

This is a hard question since I am living my dream, but I think it would be something involving organic chemistry.

What’s the best advice you’ve received?

Someone once said that 90 percent of the time we spend worrying turns out to be for no reason. I have always been the worrying kind and this statement has helped me relax and see things from a more positive note.