The Role of Spas in Pain Management



Pain management offers an interesting business opportunity for spas today. With the large number of aging baby boomers in the market, the spa industry is moving into the field of pain management. Pain relief solutions such as medical treatments, hydrotherapy, thermal baths and mud-related therapies are only some of the services spas can take advantage of to further embrace this new business opportunity.


A market opportunity

In previous posts, we have discussed the different business strategies the spa industry has been implementing in recent years. From budget spas to cancer-related treatments, the spa industry has been taking advantage of the various market opportunities that have allowed our sector to move away from the idea of exclusivity and luxury that has traditionally surrounded it.



Today, an additional business opportunity comes from the growing number of aging baby boomers across the globe. This trend has been acknowledged by different professionals in the field. According to Susie Ellis, President of SpaFinder Inc., “the 65-plus spa-going demographic will have a massive impact on the industry for years to come”.

This mature audience is, in fact, pushing the industry to come up with a whole new set of services aimed at satisfying the needs of this segment of the population. In order to properly reach this goal, spas will need to look at several aspects of their businesses including the structure of their facilities and the kinds of services they provide. In this context, pain management treatments represent one of the most promising niches to explore.


Medical Treatments

In the last years, different players within the spa industry have been taking a more active role in the health field. By bringing professionals from the medical sector, spas are shaping different services that combine traditional medicine with exclusive spa treatments.

Many pain management treatments will be probably defined by a similar approach. According to Susie Ellis, spas will continue to combine the expertise of medical professionals like exercise physiologists, chiropractors, and orthopedics with that of naturopaths and massage therapists.

There are already a significant number of spas offering successful pain relief services. Some of them include Inspiritas’s treatments to patients suffering from cancer, the muscle and joint program implemented by Fairmont’s Willow Stream Spas, and Biofreeze Pain Management massages currently offered by several spas and wellness centres.


Hydrotherapy and thermal baths

The use of water in pain relief treatments has re-surfaced and spread significantly during the last years. For example, hydrotherapy techniques based on showers have proved to be an effective alternative to fight different kinds of pain such as rheumatism and digestive problems. In order to satisfy the needs of the mature audience that have arisen as a lucrative opportunity in the market, some spas have been incorporating into their service offering new chilled loungers able to deliver pain relief solutions in a safer and more comfortable environment.

Along those lines, thermal baths have also flourished in recent years. This popularity is the result of a new rediscovery regarding the benefits thermal baths are able to provide. In fact, many spas are now introducing thermal baths as a pain relief solution rather than a beauty or relaxation option.


Marine algae and mud treatments

Treatments based on marine algae and mud have become very popular within the spa industry. Just like thermal baths, these kinds of treatments have traditionally been presented under an aura of beauty or wellness. In recent years, however, spas have been emphasising the benefits these treatments offer for pain management.

In fact, many spas and wellness centres are spending a lot of time talking about the healing properties of the minerals and different substances that are contained in marine algae and mud. Algae therapy, which reduces pain in patients suffering from bone injuries, muscular problems, and rheumatism, is just one of the most popular alternatives spas are currently using to satisfy the increasing demand of pain relief seekers.


A market niche with real potential

Pain management is a real business opportunity for the spa industry. Spas and wellness centres willing to enter into this field will find a fertile terrain produced by the industry’s natural evolution and a significant portion of the population ready to pay for these kinds of services.

Medical treatments, hydrotherapy, thermal baths and treatments with different substances are just a few of the channels that are available for spas to meet this new demand. Innovative spas will embrace this business opportunity.

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

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