Access to alternative therapies through spas and wellness centres


The spa industry has changed dramatically over the last years. Our industry is no longer defined by luxurious facilities merely concerned with pampering their guests. Today, modern spas and wellness centres have become important sources of complementary therapies where guests can satisfy their increasing demands for preventive treatments and healthy lifestyles. The following article will give you an idea of how we got there and why we think this will continue to be a popular trend within our industry.


A new environment

The dramatic changes we have witnessed within the spa and wellness industries have been dictated by significant changes in the environment around us. To begin with, the arrival of the financial crisis forced our industry not only to revisit and optimise its business models but also to explore new business opportunities.

Ironically, one of those opportunities came from yet another crisis, which has been provoked by the structural failures affecting healthcare systems all over the world. Apart from the human and financial costs associated with systems defined by ineffective reactive models towards health, our industry has also taken advantage of a new awareness regarding the overall need for prevention.

In addition to such awareness, there has been a shift in the health paradigm where the consumer, not the unquestioned doctor, is at the centre of the system. Furthermore, technology and globalisation have provided customers with the power to shop around for health treatments. In other words, we live in a world where the rules of the game have totally changed.


Building synergies

All these changes have pushed our industry to go beyond the idea of luxury and exclusivity that has surrounded spas and wellness centres for so many years. While the whole pampering concept is still tightly linked to our industry, the ‘health benefit’ behind our treatments have become a decisive factor in bringing in more costumers to our field.

The creation of synergies with the medical field has been one of the channels that our industry has been using to reinforce the ‘health benefit’ behind most of our therapies and treatments. According to Susie Ellis, President of SpaFinder Wellness, this is exactly why in the US “the number of hospitals offering alternative/spa services has tripled since 2000.”


Spa evidence

Besides the burden posed by the healthcare crisis and the renewed interest for preventive therapies and treatments, the elaboration and dissemination of tangible evidence regarding the health benefits behind our services have provided a big contribution to the development of synergies with the medical field.

Since the launch of, the first portal in the world providing medical evidence for spa and wellness treatments, our industry has been gaining room regarding the potential role that spas and wellness centres can play in today’s health paradigm. No wonder why “of the 41 million Americans that use mind-body therapies like yoga or tai-chi, 6.4 million are now doing them because they were ‘prescribed’ by their medical provider.”


Holistic approaches

Everything we have mentioned above has also encouraged spas and wellness centres to develop holistic approaches where they can combine their traditional pampering services with complementary therapies aimed at meeting the needs of costumer looking for preventive treatments and healthier lifestyles.

Moving forwards, we expect to see more concepts like those developed by ESPA life at the Corinthia Hotel where guests can enjoy “revolutionary lifestyle programmes, covering everything from biological ageing, detox, sleep, weight-loss, pregnancy and general vitality.”

Considering all the changes in the environment around us, the imminent need for preventive approaches towards health and the elaboration of further medical evidence, we strongly believe spas and wellness centre will strengthen their role as providers of complimentary therapies. We really think this is a great business opportunity to embrace.

By Sonal

Sonal Uberoi creates and delivers smarter spas around the world. Spas and hotel groups hire Sonal to help them design, set up and manage their wellness businesses. Her finance background and worldwide operations experience in the spa, wellness and hospitality sectors make Sonal the go-to expert for business optimisation solutions. Connect with Sonal on LinkedIn

One thought on “Access to alternative therapies through spas and wellness centres

  1. Sonal, your article is excellent! and you are so right. In fact I think the elaboration of further medical evidence is the ONLY way our business can keep the momentum.
    Wellness providers have to show that their services are serious, effective and valuable. It’s not just about pampering!
    We need to edcucate not only customers but the spa staff. In staff castings I frequently hear the sentence “I am not a medical massage therapist but only do wellness massages.” Only?? well – deep in our staff there seem to be a low self-esteem. Let’s also work on that.

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