Spa Talk with Paul Schmidt

Meet Paul Schmidt, executive director for the Green Spa Network.

What was the path that led you to the spa industry?

Blending my curiosity and drive to explore human potential with my passion for environmental studies, I graduated from the University of Vermont with a BA titled Environmental Awareness. I followed my heart and found I had a talent for supporting others in having profound experiences through energywork, bodywork, and breathwork. So starting out 29 years ago as a therapist who also had a head for business, I have now found a natural home for my career.

Where do you think the industry is heading?

The spa industry has been on a wild ride of discovery and acceptance at the consumer level and growth as a business sector for the last 30 years. With the downturn at the end of our last decade, the spa industry was forced to look beyond luxury as a primary driver, and I believe this challenge is still shaping the future for spas. I think there will always be a place for the fluffy spas but the ones that are able to ground their offerings in practical, affordable, and effective experiences of wellness will be the emerging leaders on our new path.

What is the strangest client request you’ve fielded?

In my 15 years as a massage therapist, I have definitely received some unusual requests. One unique, and I guess you could say strange request came from the mother of a client I was about to work with in an outcall situation at their condo. The words she used were that I ‘play along’ with the family and treat their 16-year-old son as a woman during the session without bringing any attention to the gender issue. It was awkward but Chris(tina) had a great session as I dutifully draped his chest and conversed with him while he used a deliberately falsetto voice.

What new spa treatment would you like to try? 

I would like to experience one of the new cryotherapy chambers when I get the opportunity. 

What’s your go-to spa treatment?

For decades I would default to a 90-minute deep pressure massage but I've recently found a facial to be more relaxing and soothing in a spa setting.

How would you sum up your personal philosophy?

Philosophically I've come to live by the following beliefs—“Everything is good if you make it that way”; “At the core, people really just want to make a positive difference for others”; and “When I can be a clear reflection, just authentically being with someone changes the world for the better.”

How do you like to spend your time away from work?

I go on long runs in the mountains, travel with my wife, and spend time outside.

What about your new position excites you most?

Being the executive director for the Green Spa Network allows me to learn and grow in a new area and puts me in a position to contribute to the shaping of the future of the spa industry.