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Workplace Wellness Is Growing Up

workplace wellness


Workplace wellness is reaching a new phase, shifting to a “culture of wellness,” i.e., wellness will permeate the entire workspace, from healthy snacks to healthy air—and the results greatly affect not only those in the workforce (creating healthier, happier workers, lower healthcare costs, and higher productivity), but also you, aka, everyone who works in the spa and wellness industry.

Workplace wellness is truly a trend to watch—in fact, it was one of the top 10 trends in our just released Spafinder Wellness 365™’s 2016 Global Spa & Wellness Trends Forecast—and this new environment of wellness is creating more options for workers and new opportunities for wellness practitioners, educators, and businesses that deliver wellness services.

Activities promoting wellness that once occurred in the domestic, out-of-office sphere (gym visits, yoga, meditation, spa treatments, etc.) are being integrated into the workplace environment. And while this type of integrated workplace wellness is more of a first-world, corporate phenomenon at present time, research from the Global Wellness Institute estimates that investment in workplace wellness, now $40 billion worldwide, will “explode in the next five to 10 years.”

Forward-looking employers have begun to take more seriously the notion of work-life balance. People everywhere want a healthy work environment; as well, they want aspects of their home life, including healthy eating options and the chance for exercise and relaxation, available in the workplace. This has encouraged the gradual, holistically based interlacing of wellness maintenance inside and outside the worksite.

And as companies seek to hire yoga and meditation instructors, nutrition and stress-reduction specialists, massage therapists, and more, it will create new opportunities for wellness practitioners and educators.

Workplace wellness: It certainly is a trend with staying power.

How can your wellness business be ready for this trend? Stay tuned next month when we’ll give you tips from experts in the field!

Learn more about workplace wellness, as well as our 2016 trends report.

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Global Wellness Day Is June 13—Get Involved!

Global Wellness Day (GWD), June 13, 2015, is a special day that reminds us of the importance of living well and raises awareness of the value of our lives; the mission behind this worldwide social movement is to promote “one day that can change your whole life.” Spafinder Wellness 365® is saying “yes” to GWD—sharing inspiration, tips, and tricks to help people feel good and live well not only on GWD, but all 365 days of the year—and we urge you to encourage clients and guests to participate in this special campaign as well.

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Wellness 365 Tip: Turn Up Your Playlist for a Good Workout

What’s on your workout playlist? Get some ideas for either yourself or for your business or fitness facility with picks from our editors’ playlists!

February’s Playlist (Canadian partners, please click here.)
January’s Playlist (Canadian partners, please click here.)

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Wellness 365 Tip: Happy Fit ’15—Cheers to Feeling Fit and Fabulous

Happy New Year! This year we plan to spice things up by introducing a new theme each month to help us all live well, all year round! January’s theme is Happy Fit ’15: Cheers to Feeling Fit and Fabulous!

Kick start the New Year with amazing tips and tricks from the stories below:

New Year, New You: Your 2015 Horoscope

Your #Fit15 January Workout Playlist!

15 Ways to Increase Your Energy Naturally

Start Fresh: 15 Detox Smoothie & Juice Recipes

Plus, gain exposure by joining our Twitter chats: To complement each month’s theme, we’re hosting a monthly twitter chat—and encourage you to participate (view the incredible experts and partners that shared their insight in our January chat)! February’s Twitter chat—#HeartHealthy & Happy: From Love to Lifestyle Secrets for Heart Health—is scheduled for 2/12. RSVP, and follow along at #HeartHealthy and @Spafinder.


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Wellness 365 Tip: The Wellness 365 Philosophy

Our Spafinder Wellness 365 team knows wellness means different things to different people—from Fitness to Beauty, Healing to Mindset, Nutrition to Karma, Play to Relationships; it’s part of our holistic Wellness 365 philosophy of care for the body, mind, and soul that anchors all aspects of our company. And we’re devoted to helping not only the industry and consumers, but you, our partners, find your own path to wellness. That’s why each month we’re sharing simple inspiration, knowledge, and ideas that make keeping well easier and more accessible.

First tip from us? We know clients depend on you to ease their stress and help them relax—but let’s be honest, sometimes you can feel overwhelmed yourself, especially during a busy holiday season. Keep sane by settling in to read some of the latest features on The365:

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Wellness for Cancer Campaign Kicks Off

Congrats to our partners that have already been verified as Cancer Aware!

Watch this short video to learn more about our partnership with Wellness for Cancer. Plus, find additional details here.

Canadian partners, please link here.

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Belly Friendly Highlights Prenatal Spa Programs in September

Dubbed the “biggest birth month” as more newborns arrived in September than in any other month, according to Babycenter, Belly Friendly, a prenatal education, recognition and marketing program for spas, is spotlighting prenatal spa treatments to consumers during the month of September. We talk to founder Stacy Denny about her program and how spas can benefit from becoming Belly Friendly.

“More than 16,000 pregnant women enter the market every day in the U.S., making this a prevalent, yet underserved market segment. The program is designed to encourage moms who may have never considered a prenatal spa service to try one at a Belly Friendly spa,” Denny says of the promotion, where spas that are a part of the Belly Friendly program are offering a $50 gift certificate for a future service to moms who book a prenatal service in September 2012. Denny also founded the prenatal spa Barefoot & Pregnant in 2003. “By offering the incentive to come back during the pregnancy, we avoid standard ‘discounting’ and have more opportunity to create a relationship.”

Denny created Belly Friendly after she realized the demand for specialized services that pregnant moms could trust.

“Not only were moms from across the country contacting us to find similar spas [to Barefoot & Pregnant] located in their area, I received dozens of calls from spa owners interested in creating a Barefoot & Pregnant environment,” Denny says. “To make the award-winning concept more available to spas and moms, I developed the Belly Friendly program which launched in January 2012.”

Partnering with Belly Friendly

Belly Friendly helps spas to be more proficient in catering to expecting moms through training programs and marketing support. To join, the spa must already offer a prenatal service and have specially trained therapists who perform the services. Belly Friendly requires this to filter out spas that either aren’t interested or don’t understand the impact of the prenatal spa market, Denny says. Once the commitment is made, all spa staff must complete the online training to be marketed as a Belly Friendly spa.

“As a Belly Friendly spa partner, spas receive extensive marketing support directly to the prenatal market via grass roots medical and community outreach, strategic relationships such as Fit Pregnancy magazine and TheBump, and online,” Denny explains. “We have strategic partnerships with key pregnancy media, and are able to leverage those relationships to help our partners receive exposure within the pregnancy industry – an industry that is difficult to reach for spas that need to focus on overall business goals and don’t have the resources to allocate to a specific niche.”

Spas also receive professionally designed collateral materials and marketing templates that can be easily customized and printed on demand, as well as a Belly Friendly “seal of approval.”

The online education portion is designed to help all spa employees—from the front desk and managers to therapists — understand the pregnancy experience and create a pregnancy-friendly environment. The education ranges from the myths and faux pas of pregnancy to what a mom is experiencing by trimester.

“It also provides an important segment focused on building therapist confidence  as we often see therapists that are specially trained continue to struggle with their fears and doubts in working with expecting moms,” says Denny. “The Belly Friendly education program enhances existing training; it does not replace the need for specialized prenatal massage training.”

So, what’s most important about a prenatal spa program?

“Safety and confidence,” says Denny. “If both the spa staff and the client feel safe and confident in the treatments that they are giving and receiving, then both will benefit from the experience. The key is removing the ‘modality’ from prenatal massage, and treating it as the experience that it is; this isn’t hot stone reflexology – this is a life changing experience that lasts for 40 weeks.  To treat it as a check mark on a spa menu does both client and spa a disservice.”

Spas across the country are partnering with Belly Friendly to become the destination in their communities for expecting moms, including many SpaFinder® Wellness spas like Guerlain Spa at Waldorf Astoria, New York; YeloSpa, New York; Hotel Healdsburg & Spa in Healdsburg, California; Valencia Day Spa in Frisco, Texas; Elixir Mind Body in Denver; and many more.

Some interesting stats: Barefoot & Pregnant and Mama Mio conducted an online survey in May and June 2011 that found that nearly all moms (95%) surveyed said they would be more likely to visit a spa with specialized prenatal training over another spa. More than 60% of respondents received prenatal spa treatments during pregnancy; 38% booked two to three spa services throughout their pregnancy; and 28% booked four or more services. Of those surveyed, 30% brought friends and family to the spa for accompanying services.  And, more than 60% of moms continue to visit the same spa post-pregnancy.

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SpaFinder CEO Launches Welltech Funding

The launch of Welltech Funding, a health and wellness-focused strategic seed round investor designed to support, develop and bring new technology companies and start-ups to market, is dedicated to changing how companies pursue wellness and healthy living.

Welltech was formed by Pete Ellis, SpaFinder, Inc. chairman and CEO, who also brought GramercyOne and SpaRahRah!™ to the global market, and transformed SpaFinder to be the leading spa and wellness digital platform. According to Ellis, Welltech’s mission is to grow “the best and brightest health and wellness technology companies.”

“The phenomenal success of SpaFinder and GramercyOne showed us that technology holds enormous potential for helping people lead healthier lives,” Ellis says. “New York City is home to some of the most creative innovators in both the technology and wellness sectors, and we look forward to working with them to take wellness-related technology and services to an exciting new level.”

To nurture and shepherd these companies to the market, Welltech will invest a minimum of $50,000 (EUR38,000, £31,000), plus office space (including phones and utilities) and marketing support in select companies. These selected companies must be using technology to create new, consumer-facing health and wellness solutions, from innovative online platforms, services and apps to consumer tools and products.

Welltech benefits

Click to enlarge

In addition to the above assets, in working with Welltech, companies have the potential to take advantage of SpaFinder, the world’s largest spa and wellness marketing company. SpaFinder will provide marketing support in the form of positioning on and, when applicable, both B2B and B2C database marketing.

Through identifying companies that are developing the most promising health and wellness technologies, platforms and tools, and providing them with a strong, collaborative, entrepreneurial support network, seed capital and receptive consumer audiences, Welltech’s focus is to foster rapid growth.

Launched in March 2012, Welltech Funding dips into the $2 trillion global wellness market, which Ellis believes is poised for further explosive growth, as hundreds of millions of consumers now aggressively seek new, smarter, health and wellness solutions and alternatives to combat the high cost and limited scope of “traditional healthcare.” Participants as of now include FITiST and WizPert, a duo of startups dedicated the pursuit of healthy living.

Welltech is financed by Jubilee Investments, an investment firm led by Ellis that recently saw success as the early stage investor in GramercyOne. Last fall, GramercyOne announced US$14.5 million in Series A funding, led by Steve Case’s Revolution Ventures, GroTech, TD Capital and Jubilee.

For more information, go to, and if you believe you and your company might be a good fit for the Welltech strategic seed round investment program, please contact Andrea Persily at 212-716-1203, or

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Happy Older People Live Longer: How to Market to Silver Spa-ers

Are you marketing to your boomer-and-beyond clientele? If so, you may just be helping them live longer.

Older people who are happy, even for a little while, have a 35% lower risk of dying than those who were least happy, according to a British study, of which the results were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study is a part of the longest-running British study on aging.

Because the findings emphasize the importance of emotional well-being for older people, we’re thinking that the spa can definitely be one way to make older people feel great — not only emotionally, but physically as well. And we all know that good health plays a pivotal role in how great you feel about your life and yourself.

Not only can spa have a great effect on their lives, with the immense 65-plus demographic and their buying power, these silver spa-ers also have a massive impact on the spa industry.

Savvy spas should be rethinking everything to address these all-too-often-ignored niche’s specific needs: from facilities, to equipment, to programming, to marketing and staffing. Physical therapy, rehabilitation, recuperation and just plain old pain relief have increased on spas’ menus, to meet the needs of clientele with back, neck, knee and mobility issues. Hosting a special happy hour of sorts for seniors, perhaps during the mornings when business might otherwise be slow is another way to further reel this group of clients in. Many spas are even using bigger print for their spa menus!

Here are a few other forward-thinking examples from SpaFinder’s 2011 Spa Trends Report:

  • Fairmont’s Willow Stream Spas are adding an extensive muscle and joint program promising pain relief. We’ve been seeing more spas (modeled after a Canyon Ranch) featuring exercise physiologists, sports medicine professionals, chiropractors, orthopedics, naturopaths and physical therapists on staff (or on call).
  • Spa bathing, known for pain-relief benefits, relaxation and at times, detox assistance, is experiencing a resurgence in general, and is a perfect fit for older clientele. Some examples of specialized bathing experiences include the Scandinave and Le Nordic models in Canada, the Hakone Kowakien Yunessun in Japan, or the lucrative Glen Ivy Hot Springs in Southern California. Prior research has concurred that the number-one reason people go to spas is to “relax and de-stress,” but in some regions of the world that may soon be replaced by to “relieve aches and pains.”
  • Using the term “corrective” — “corrective” massage, “corrective” facials, etc., and for the already used-to-death term “anti-aging” can help boomers pinpoint which treatments they may be interested in due to age.
  • Integrating specialized offerings such as the Biofreeze Pain Management massage; infrared saunas, which function at far-less searing heat (but penetrate heat further into the body than a traditional sauna); and new chilled loungers that accomplish what cold plunge pools do, but are more comfortable and safer for older guests, can also bring in more silver spa-ers.
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In Demand: Complimentary & Alternative Medical Services

It appears that more people than ever want complementary and alternative medical services, including services like reiki…and even hospitals are listening.

In fact, according to a recent article from the American Medical Association, the number of hospitals offering complementary and alternative medical services has tripled since 2000, with 42 percent of the 714 hospitals surveyed stating that they provide unconventional therapies. Hospital executives listed patient demand as the top criterion in choosing which therapies to offer, according to a report released in September by the American Hospital Association’s Health Forum and the Samueli Institute, a think tank that supports alternative medicine. In 2000, just 14% of hospitals told AHA researchers that they provided complementary therapies.

“They are responding to the needs of their patients and the communities they are serving, while trying to differentiate themselves in the marketplace,” said Sita Ananth, a Samueli Institute researcher who wrote the report, in the AMA article. “These hospitals are really trying to see how they can address the needs of the person as a whole — mind, body and spirit.”

Nearly two-thirds of hospitals offering alternative services provide massages on an outpatient basis, and half offer pet therapy in the hospital. About 40 percent of these hospitals offer acupuncture or music and art therapies, and one in five alternative-friendly hospitals provides reiki,  said the report, based on a survey conducted in March 2010.

About 70% of executives at hospitals providing unconventional therapies said they are doing so because they are clinically effective. This is in line with SpaFinder’s 2011 Trend Report, which highlights evidence-based medicine as a driver in the spa industry.

While there are plenty of spas that have been offering alternative therapies for a while now, perhaps medical and wellness spas that don’t may benefit by including a few alternative and complementary therapies in conjunction with its medical spa services, as Ananth said that the alternative therapies are intended to supplement conventional medical interventions.

“Many of these services are low-risk,” she said in the published article. “Patients are looking for the best of what both conventional and complementary therapies can offer, and hospitals are responding by offering these choices.”

Medical spas: Do you offer alternative therapies and how responsive are your clients? To help you in your research in implementing new therapies to your treatment menu, check out Spa Evidence. It’s the world’s first portal designed to help people explore the medical evidence that exists for spa and wellness therapies. The site covers 22 modalities, from acupressure to yoga, and has aggregated all of the evidence-based research from four respected databases. The best part about it is it’s free!  The portal also has logos and banners available for download that you can add directly to your website; and, for those looking to customize, there is a “white label” option (cost associated) by SelfOptima, the portal’s developer.

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