If your New Year's resolution has something -- anything -- to do with getting well, read on. SpaFinder Wellness has released its annual report on the trends we'll see at spas in the coming year and beyond.
The research takes a year to compile and is 60 pages long, but on the following pages you'll find the highlights. If you're seeing these trends emerge at your favorite spas, let us know in the comments section.
In 2013 and beyond, what constitutes a true "vacation" will be redefined and "hospitality" will be rewritten, as we'll see an explosion of new "wellness everywhere" hotel chains, SpaFinder Wellness predicts. Healthy hotels come in many forms; there will be more wellness-branded hotel chains and more spas, plus more programs to boost fitness and healthy eating and sleeping.
|The Mindfulness Massage|
A creative blend of two approaches, mindfulness and bodywork, the "Mindfulness Massage" is a more profound experience that can help people relax more deeply and quickly. This new mix is for those people who find themselves on a massage table, but unable to shut off the brain chatter and stress of the day.
As modern-day humans become more cut off from nature, "earthing" promotes direct contact with the earth's electron-rich surface by, for example, walking barefoot. The claim: grounding our bodies to the earth's surface stabilizes natural electrical rhythms and reduces disease-causing inflammation, while providing pain relief, fostering healthy sleep and serving as a natural blood thinner.
|Spa-Genomics: Telomeres and Beyond|
Perhaps no genomic breakthrough holds such profound implications for the spa industry than telomeres, SpaFinder Wellness says. It's the only malleable part of DNA, which some studies are showing can be repaired by stress-reduction, exercise, sleep, healthier food and meditation.
So what does this mean? It's just getting started, but soon you may walk into a spa and have your DNA tested to isolate specific conditions or tendencies that could be improved by certain lifestyle changes.
|Authentic Ayurveda and Other Ancient Revivals|
SpaFinder Wellness says to expect more aggressively authentic global wellness experiences at spas with a distinctly ancient look, feel and language — and a far more expansive, exotic menu of wellness traditions. Even in a city as modern as New York, Aire Ancient Baths recently opened in Tribeca.
Expect more in-your-face shades on hair and faces. You'll see everything from reverse ombre – wild root color graduating to natural ends -- to neon lashes, to more body art offered at new, haute "tattoo spas."
Nail art will continue to ascend with less bling and more nuanced textures and designs. On the more subtle side, expect growth in skin brightening and lightening treatments. One driving force: in the world of wellness, many of these treatments are affordable and easily reversible.
The bodies welcomed at spas will look more like bodies in the real world; the industry will shift focus from luxe-pampering to delivering wellness to persons of all age and ability levels. This includes babies, children and people with disabilities.
SpaFinder Wellness predicts more spas will provide access for people with serious mobility issues, such as extra-wide doorways to accommodate wheelchairs; hydraulic treatment beds that can be lowered and raised; elevators and ramps instead of steps and roll-in showers and saunas.
From Yogalates and Piloxing to CrossFit and The Skinny Jeans Workout, health and wellness have become the new luxury. You'll see it in studios, certainly, but also look for it in hotels. Trend-setting hotels already offer far more than a treadmill: Yoga Booty Ballet at The Orlando Hotel in Los Angeles; Piloxing at the Tribeca Grand in New York City; Punch and Crunch and more at the Arizona Biltmore.
|Men: From Barbers to 'Brotox'|
Look for far more spas to build out comprehensive "beauty" menus for men — male waxing and threading services and man-geared cosmetic procedures.
Two things fueling the trend: Boomers, with massive spending power, are the first "refuse to age" generation, SpaFinder Wellness said. Second, the younger male generation is more comfortable with the concept of male beauty and have set high standards for themselves.
|Where the Jobs Are|
The need to fill spa management/director or therapist jobs promises to expand in years ahead, SpaFinder Wellness said, as the world continues its shift from a manufacturing to a service economy — and people, health care institutions and governments recognize the effectiveness of spas and wellness programs. Compensation varies widely, but 44 percent earn between $40,000 and $80,000, while 25 percent earn more than $80,000 annually.