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Gentle the


The Prosperity Project


Working together to support women SpaInc.ca Publications Mail NO. 40026342


Creating a safe space for healing


spa news

Canadian award winners making their mark on the global industry, the Global Wellness Institute gears up for Tel Aviv and more




The Gentle Touch: Treating vulnerable and disabled clients with care

Sherina Jamal, creator of Beauty Through Balance skincare, shares her path to success

18 The pandemic has spawned a new type of spa client, so this team developed the COVID-19 Response Initiative


8 The Prosperity Project: A new non-profit to support women in tough times


in the know


spa business

Esthetic oncology eases the side effects of cancer


fresh & new

Products for stress relief, pampering and sunnier days


spa star

Chair of the board for Leading Spas of Canada, Kathryn Gallagher wants to change the industry for the better



23 Cover photo: Scandinave Spa

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between us SPRING 2021

Coming Together in Troubling Times


ore than a year after the pandemic first caused worldwide lockdowns, we continue to ride an uncertain wave of ups and downs. While vaccinations are good news, they can’t seem to come fast enough as COVID infections continue to climb, and many businesses are suffering because of continued restrictions to capacity, hours and services. Although you’ve probably heard “we’re all in this together” too many times to count, the numbers show that the economic impacts are not evenly distributed among industries, but even less so among demographic segments. Recent information from Statistics Canada reveals that among people between the ages of 25 and 54, women have been losing work at more than twice the rate of men. The difference is even more dramatic for young women (under 25): Compared to the same time last year, their employment dropped by more than nine percent, but among young men, it dropped only three percent. The Prosperity Project, featured on p.26, is working towards narrowing this gap and raising awareness about the need to provide extra support for women during this difficult time. The most recent statistics for the accommodations and food service industries show improvement, but in March, nationwide employment in the sector was more than 24 percent below last February’s levels. That translates into almost 300,000 job losses – and if statistics for the Canadian spa industry were available, they would no doubt show a similar trend. As this issue’s Spa Star, Kathryn Gallagher, points out, “If people ... ask for statistics for the spa industry, they can’t get them.” Compiling those numbers is a project that’s long overdue, so in the not-too-far future, we hope to work with Canadian spa leaders to create an initiative that will validate the nationwide impact of this industry. It’s still difficult to know what the “new normal” really looks like. If “adaptability” wasn’t one of your strengths in the past, by now you’re probably an expert in switching gears – from full speed ahead to full stop, and back and forth again. Watching the headlines might be your new hobby, or maybe you started baking bread like everyone else on Instagram. It might feel like, for the first time, you have more than enough time for self-care, but your friend with three young kids might feel more harried than ever. This is an important time to understand we aren’t in the same boat, although everyone is forced to adapt to a new world. As we face an uncertain future together, we’ll continue to share stories, resources and news to help the spa industry move forward. Whether it’s business advice, a personal perspective or ideas for new treatments, there is a wealth of knowledge to be shared by people who Popi Bowman understand the unique challenges we’re facing, together. MANAGING EDITOR And please, stay healthy!

Check us out online @SpaIncMag

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Award Winner ISSN 1710 -1727 Volume 18, Number 1

Publisher Susan A. Browne sbrowne@dvtail.com

Managing Popi Bowman Editor pbowman@dvtail.com Art Katrina Teimo Director kteimo@dvtail.com

Contributors Abigail Cukier Sherina Jamal Jana Manolakos Senior Account Edith Dhillon Executive edith@SpaInc.ca 905.707.3525

Director Stephanie Wilson of Marketing swilson@dvtail.com

Production Crystal Himes Manager chimes@dvtail.com

Published four times a year by: Dovetail Communications Inc.

President: Susan A. Browne Tel: 905.886.6640 Fax: 905.886.6615 Email: general@dvtail.com SUBSCRIPTIONS AND RETURNS 30 East Beaver Creek Rd, Suite 202 Richmond Hill, Ontario L4B 1J2 PUBLICATIONS MAIL AGREEMENT NO. 40026342 Legal Deposit – National Library of Canada. All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced, in all or in part, without the written permission of the publisher. Dovetail Communications Inc. cannot be held responsible for any losses or other damages incurred by readers in reliance on information appearing in Spa Inc. Spa Inc. and Dovetail Communications Inc. do not assume any responsibility for the contents of any advertisement and any and all representations or warranties made in such advertising. Spa Inc. will review unsolicited submissions (hard copy or digital texts, photos or illustrations) for editorial consideration but does not guarantee their publication. The submitted material may be used without consent or payment. One-year subscription: Canada $25, U.S. $39. Single copies: $6. Please add GST/HST where applicable. PRINTED IN CANADA

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spa news

2021 ISPA AWARDS Announced in early April, this year’s ISPA Innovate Awards recognize excellence in new business practices, technology and philanthropy. Among the winners, the Noel Asmar Group won for its face masks with filter pocket and uniform-matching shields. Noel Asmar was interviewed for last issue’s “Spa Star;” her Vancouverbased company was founded in 2002, and recently expanded from uniforms to include equestrian wear and pedicure bowls. In the technology category, Toronto-based ResortSuite won for its touchless mobile app, which enables clients to make 24/7 real-time bookings including room and dining reservations, spa treatments, classes and events. Eminence Organic Skin Care was another winner for its new product donation initiative, supplying 50,000 units of hand sanitizer and over 6,700 personal care products to provide relief from the effects of prolonged PPE use, that were distributed to hospitals, medical facilities, non-profits and community organizations in Canada and the U.S. Eminence also donates a tree for every retail product sold; by late 2020, over 16 million trees were planted worldwide. The company’s Forests for the Future initiative helps train farmers in developing countries to build sustainable gardens in rural communities. Another charitable project, the Eminence Kids Foundation, was launched in 2013 to provide healthy, organic meals at participating hospitals and long-term care facilities, while educating parents and kids about making smart nutritional choices. To date, the program has served more than 117,000 meals. Congratulations to these Canadian companies that are making an impact on the global spa industry!

Personal Grooming Survey A survey by LawnStarter asked more than 1,200 adults how the lockdown changed their personal (and intimate) grooming practices. Roughly 51% of women and 59% of men describe their pandemic body hair as either a “managed forest” or a “wellmanicured garden.” Almost 40% of women said their body hair irritates them, while close to 6% admitted they don’t tend to their body hair at all. Among women aged 18 to 29, 45% admitted that they aren’t keeping up with personal grooming as often as before the pandemic. That age group (both men and women) is also the most likely to be embarrassed by seeking professional services for their bodyscaping needs.

Another Canadian Winner

In the 2021 Beauty Shortlist Awards, Graydon Skincare was named Best Natural/Organic Skincare Brand in North America, along with six additional product awards: Best Beauty Breakthrough Innovation and Best Beauty Breakthrough Product/ Makeup for the Face Glow Tinted Moisturizer Primer + Illuminator, plus the Editor’s Choice Award for the Fullmoon Serum, PhytoClear Botanical Retinol Gel Cream, Skin Stuff Face + Eye Ceramide Cream and Face Food Mineral Mist.

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On November 15–18 in Tel Aviv, the Global Wellness Summit will host its 15th annual event, which includes the “Shark Tank of Wellness” student competition, open to undergraduate and postgraduate students (18 years and older); entries will be accepted until June 30. Three finalists will share $10,000 in prize money, with first place receiving $5,000, and will be flown to the Tel Aviv conference along with a faculty advisor. Business concepts can serve any aspect of the wellness industry, including architecture/design, beauty, education, fitness, hospitality, medicine, nutrition, real estate, spa, technology, workplace wellness and tourism. Finalists will present their concepts in person to a panel of “Wellness Sharks” in front of an audience of global business and thought leaders. The Global Wellness Institute also recently launched a new initiative, Living Well From Within, which was catalyzed by Dr. Daniel Friedland’s recent diagnosis of terminal brain cancer. Affectionately known as “Dr. Danny,” Friedland is the author of Leading Well from Within and CEO of SuperSmartHealth. He teaches Conscious Capitalism, which focuses on helping leaders

Making an Impact

and businesses transform the way they function “to generate both meaning and prosperity for all.” The initiative has attracted an impressive group of coalition partners, including the Whole Health Institute and the Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine. “The group of individuals and companies we have gathered have the influence to transform their communities and the world at-large,” said Dr. Daniel Friedland. “We intend to bring together all stakeholders on a quarterly basis for a series of two-hour online experiential Awakening Conscious Leadership programs, the first of which will happen in June, and will incorporate an annual in-person event when the time is right.” The Living Well From Within Playlist (YouTube) can be found on the GWI Initiative’s homepage, as can the first-ever Conscious Capitalism Workout, which Dr. Danny developed as a way to integrate the mission, tenets, economic value and scientific basis of Conscious Capitalism with an exercise routine designed to catalyze daily growth and wellness. For more information, visit globalwellnesssummit.com.

As part of an ambitious Plastic Free 2022 strategy to remove and avoid all virgin plastic materials from its hotel and spa operations, Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas is the first hospitality brand to collaborate with SustainChain and the U.S. Coalition on Sustainability. This follows a partnership with the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative signed in 2020 to work with suppliers to seek safer alternatives and address the root causes of plastic pollution. Six Senses has been reducing disposable plastic for many years, starting in the 1990s with refillable ceramic bathroom amenities, a signature glass water bottle since 2003 (more than 2.4 million single-use plastic bottles were replaced group-wide in 2019/2020 alone), and more recently with the elimination of plastic straws and delivery containers in 2016. The company is also developing a prototype for a plastic-free kitchen with the intention of extending the approach to all Six Senses properties. In Toronto, a movement to certify “green” salons and spas is aiming to reduce the vast amount of waste produced by the beauty industry – estimated at 877 pounds every minute, according to Green Circle Salons, which was established in 2009. The program has developed a system to eliminate up to 95 percent of beauty waste, including foils, hair clippings, aerosol cans and hair colour tubes. Recovered hair can be used to create sleeping mats and pet beds, among other useful items, many of which are donated to non-profits and disaster recovery efforts. With hundreds of members in North America, the organization is expanding its efforts by developing hair-based bioplastics and other solutions, such as a PPE recovery program, to reduce waste.

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The Gentle Touch Treating vulnerable and disabled clients with care B Y JA N A M A N O L A KO S

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In many cultures, a thin line exists between medical practice and traditional healing. Vida Spa, Whistler


or centuries, Europeans have sought treatment for their ailments by “taking the waters” in towns and villages built around thermal springs. Traditional Turkish hammams use steam to melt away aches and pains, while ancient Ayurvedic and acupuncture practices are said to ease health conditions, even today. In North America, too, that division is disappearing, as more and more consumers embrace health and wellness beyond their doctors’ offices — especially since the global pandemic hit. Canadian spas are expanding their repertoire by adding specialized treatments for allergies, rheumatism, osteoarthritis, stress and even cancer. According to the Ontario Blue Cross, a provincial insurance agency, there is growing evidence that doctors are coming on board, often prescribing massage therapy to individuals with injuries, illnesses and chronic health conditions. Allison Hegedus, president of Vida Spas (which has three locations in B.C.) says, “Prior to the pandemic, and now during the pandemic, we have seen an increased focus on self-care awareness and the benefit of stress reduction through touch therapy. Health professionals, including doctors, nurses and physiotherapists, are increasingly recommending spa therapies to their patients, [as] part of the overall goal of continued health and wellness.” This trend was growing even before COVID-19. “Alternative treatments are playing an increasingly important role in Canadians’ overall health care,” says Nadeem Esmail, co-author of a study by the Frasier Institute, which found that 79 percent of adult Canadians tried at least one form of complementary or alternative medicine in 2016; spending was an estimated $8.8 billion in the first half of the year (an increase of nearly $1 billion since 2006). In 2015, the American College of Physicians showed its support by putting out new guidelines for lower back pain that recommended non-invasive, alternative approaches like

acupuncture, massage, exercise, tai chi, heat wraps and mindfulness/yoga, before prescribing drugs as the last resort. THE IMPORTANCE OF TRAINING Vida’s founder and education director, Colleen Fraser explains that the spas’ therapists are specially trained in treating clients with debilitating conditions like temporal mandibular joint disorder, cancer, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, osteoarthritis, plantar fascia, stroke, whiplash and stress, for which massage is one of the more popular treatment modalities. Massage therapy treatment from a registered massage therapist can treat clients who present with symptoms related to back and neck pain, sports injuries, epilepsy, headaches, whiplash and many other common issues. It is also an effective form of treatment for other conditions, such as anxiety, depression, stress and even some diseases, such as cancer, stroke and arthritis. “If a spa client has any of these conditions and is looking for a relaxing and restorative treatment, a spa therapist can help soothe the client just by working indirectly through the benefits of a full-body massage,” Fraser notes, adding that therapists must be cautious when treating clients with health issues. “All Vida spa therapists avoid massage therapy directly over known tumors and sites where metastasis may be predicted. Caution is exercised in patients with boney metastases, who may be prone to fracture. Currently, no evidence indicates that massage promotes tumor

“Alternative treatments are playing an increasingly important role in Canadians’ overall health care.” – Nadeem Esmail, Frasier Institute S p a I nc .c a



79% of adult Canadians in 2016 tried at least one form of complementary or alternative medicine

Canadians spent an estimated

$8.8 billion

on complementary and alternative medicine by the first half of 2016, an increase of nearly $1 billion since 2006.

Vida Spa, Whistler Ayurvedic room

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Vida Spa

metastasis.” Guests to the Vida spas must complete an updated medical history form to ensure the therapist is aware of underlying or existing conditions or concerns. In B.C., massage therapists are required to have a minimum of 750 hours of insurable training. “Their education includes a variety of techniques to assist relaxation of nervous system, mobility of tissues around joints, assist the drainage of fluids and improve overall circulation and well-being,” Fraser explains. She cautions that while they are not able to work on specific health conditions, “skilled hands with Swedish techniques can effectively ease tension or reduce swelling. Clients who have underlying or existing health conditions tend to find peace of mind through the talent, passion and care of our Vida team.” The spa’s intense hiring process leaves no stone unturned, even going so far as testing candidates for personal self-care routines and balance. “Do they make outdoor activities, healthy food choices, exercise and yoga important pillars for health? Through experience, we have found that a therapist who is balanced in mind and body has further impact on our guests,” Fraser says. Once hired, additional training in protocol, risk management and hygiene practices are completed at Vida prior to servicing the first guest. Fifty hours of training in Ayurvedic philosophy and skills is offered to all therapists at Vida spas, including hands-on techniques. “It is vital knowledge for living in balance,” says Fraser. “Ayurveda teaches us preventative ways to live with a calm heart, good sleep, clarity of mind, strong body and agile digestion. Vida therapists learn about Ayurvedic healing properties, stress relief, aids in water loss, how it balances hormones, reduces inflation, removes toxins, reduces risk of disease, helps insomnia and benefits overall health. The therapeutic benefits on various conditions is endless.” Outside of the internal Ayurveda and hydrotherapy courses at Vida, additional post-graduate training courses are offered through national massage associations and schools like the Natural Health Practitioners of Canada.

feature TREATMENTS THAT EASE DISEASE AROMATHERAPY Last year, Toronto-based Hammam Spa introduced Decléor to its in-house boutique. The leading aromatherapy and phytotherapy natural skincare treatment is based on essential oils and plant extracts. Some aromatherapy oils have been shown to reduce blood pressure and act as effective sleep aids. A small randomized pilot study of hospital patients in 2014 found that 100 percent pure lavender oil at the bedside was associated with lower blood pressure and a slightly higher sleep score – with researchers concluding lavender aromatherapy may be an effective sleep aid. Another study concluded that the use of peppermint aromatherapy in conjunction with controlled breathing aided in relieving nausea.

depression, anxiety and insomnia. Unlike hydrotherapy, which covers any type of water intervention, balneotherapy is specific to the use of thermal water and waters with minerals and other organic elements. Balneotherapy is offered by spas like those belonging to Groupe Nordik and Temple Gardens in Saskatchewan, which boasts prairie-inspired spa treatments and the largest therapeutic geothermal mineral pool in Canada. Numerous studies have shown that salt mineral baths and hot mud packs can significantly reduce pain and stiffness from arthritis, chronic pain, nervous disorders, cardiac and respiratory disease, with uses in immunology, dermatology, sports medicine and even veterinary care.

AYURVEDA Many spas incorporate Ayurvedic techniques, originating in a holistic system of medicine from India that guides lifestyle choices to maintain well-being and help those with health challenges. The scientific community has paid close attention to this 5,000-year-old practice. At Ohio University, preliminary studies showed Ayurveda had positive effects on depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, hypertension, diabetes, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. A Norwegian study exploring Ayurveda’s impact on fibromyalgia patients found that combining diet, herbal foods and meditation improved pain, fatigue, anxiety and depression.

MANUAL LYMPH DRAINING Wherever massage is listed on the spa menu, you’ll often find a therapist that specializes in lymphatic massage, which uses slow, light and repetitive strokes to help move lymph fluid through the system of vessels and nodes. Clients with cancer, tuberculosis, thrombosis and phlebitis, hyperthyroidism, acute inflammation and blood pressure issues should consult their doctor or therapist before lymphatic drainage body massage. After reviewing a body of medical evidence, the University of Alberta concluded that for breast cancer patients, a statistically significant benefit comes from adding manual lymph drainage massage to compression therapy for reducing upper extremity lymphedema.

BALNEOTHERAPY AND HYDROTHERAPY Natural thermal and mineral waters, like those that are readily found in western Canada, have been used for healing over thousands of years. A 2017 study from Australia’s RMIT University found that bathing in hot springs provides significant relief for severe back pain, arthritis, injury, chronic pain,

MASSAGE By using direct, hands-on manipulation of the body surface to achieve therapeutic results, massage can focus on specific types of injury treatment, stress reduction or release of muscle tension, and it can boost range of motion, improve circulation and mental well-being, help with sleep disturbance and reduce pain in clients S p a I nc .c a


feature with many conditions, such as cancer, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, osteoarthritis, stroke and headaches. A small study from McMaster University in 2012 found that a 10-minute massage reduced the production of cytokines, which play a critical role in inflammation – and stimulated mitochondria, which convert glucose into energy for cell function and repair.

RELAXATION THERAPY The core essence of Canadian spas is their ability to immerse clients in tranquility and beauty, blending lush surroundings with techniques that promote stress relief, the elimination of tension and a peaceful state of mind, using modalities like progressive or cue-controlled relaxation, breathing exercises, guided imagery/ visualization, biofeedback, water therapy and colour therapy. Scientists at the University of South Florida found that stress reduction could extend cell longevity.

FOREST BATHING Taking full advantage of lush treed surroundings, Scandinave Spa in Blue Mountain, Ontario, recently added forest bathing to its repertoire. Not simply a walk in the woods, it is the conscious and contemplative practice of being immersed in the sights, sounds and smells of the forest. Researchers, primarily in Japan and South Korea, have established a growing body of scientific literature on the diverse health benefits, such as lowered pulse rate, blood pressure and cortisol, and reduced anxiety and depression.

EnVogue takes it one step further YOGA Among the restorative wellness classes at Ste. Anne’s Spa in Ontario, yoga nidra or “yogic sleep” is a favourite. A form of yoga without movement, it deeply integrates the body, mind and spirit through relaxation, affirmation (Sankalpa), breathing and visualization. Among a range of yogic practices first described in The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, written thousands of years ago, pranayama breathing has been shown by several studies, some of which used magnetic resonance imaging, to reduce anxiety and trigger positive changes in the brain. Last year, a study by Harvard Medical School showed that Kundalini yoga significantly reduces anxiety disorder. Other recent studies showed its positive impact on migraine sufferers, sleep quality, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, blood pressure, memory and depression.

In addition to a fulsome menu of spa treatments, EnVogue Spa in Regina, Saskatchewan has taken it even further by providing services for the blind who bring in seeing-eye dogs. They even make house-calls, to clients who are shutin, in care homes and in hospitals.

Patricia Cassell-Ogilvie and daughter Kim Cassell 12 S pa Inc. | Spri n g 2 02 1

feature Le Monastère des Augustines

A unique and ancient place where science and spirituality merge B Y JA N A M A N O L A KO S


t Le Monastère des Augustines in Quebec, science and spirituality come together in the service of healing, explains Isabelle Houde, the assistant executive director. Le Monastère stands as a monument to Canada’s medical system, its history dating back to 1692 when Augustinian nuns opened it as the first hospital north of Mexico, but it is even more than that, Houde says. “Since then, they’ve always taken care of the sick and the poor,” she explains, “and it wasn’t just the body, but it was the body and soul and the whole person.” Today it is a non-denominational, non-profit holistic centre where clients come from all walks of life and abilities to recover physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally – spending one day or several in its pristine guest rooms and facilities, where programs for yoga, Tai Chi and Qi Gong complement mindfulness, massage and meditation. At Le Monastère, the onus is on the individuals to seek self-improvement as something they can take with them when they leave – from healthful and mindful eating in the centre’s restaurant, where the emphasis is on wholesome farm-to-fork fare, to improved deep breathing exercises in an environment that’s fused with the aroma of essential botanical oils, created and modified from age-old herbal formulas found in the monastery’s 400-year-old archives. The spa includes five treatment rooms featuring therapeutic and healing modalities. “We offer 12 different services and massages, use of essential oils and aromatherapy, holistic health consultations and private sessions. Our cuisine features healthy, organic and locally sourced food,” explains Houde. A variety of mindfulness activities are offered daily, while the spa also hosts spiritual retreats, botanical medicine workshops, art therapy and soothing events such as classical music and Tibetan bowl performances. “Many activities are held in the mysterious and beautiful vaults, dating back to 1695. The treatments and consultations are accessible to

people with mobility issues or health conditions, and most activities can be adapted,” Houde adds. The comfort of the guest room, combined with the silence and the spirit of Le Monastère, offers a contemplative experience that allows guests to spark a transformational change in their life. “With a legacy dating back to the 1600s, we offer our guests a unique experience in holistic health, along with a rare opportunity to connect directly with the Augustinian Sisters’ remarkable heritage. Guests can immerse themselves in a location dedicated to healing, compassion and serenity for nearly four centuries.” In 2019, the centre welcomed more than 21,000 guests. Houde notes that the facility is able to accommodate people with different therapeutic needs, like those with cancer, disabilities and even burnt-out caregivers; staff try to adapt to each client. For example, she says that in the case of someone in a wheelchair, therapists can modify the program by teaching them how to do auto-massage, breath work or meditation. It depends on the client’s preference. In the coming years, Le Monastère will focus on attracting visitors from across Canada and parts of the northeastern United States. As Houde puts it: “To allow Canadians to discover their history in a culture of care.”

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in the know




How Esthetic Oncology Can Help B Y JA N A M A N O L A KO S


ancer came knocking on Diana Spagnuolo’s door just before Christmas two years ago, at 52 years old, when she found an ominous lump in her breast. It was a cyst, but it came along with another often-overlooked sign of breast cancer, an inverted nipple. Subsequent tests revealed devastating news; she had inflammatory breast cancer, a rare and aggressive form of the disease that invades skin, milk ducts and lymph nodes. It usually starts with the reddening and swelling of the breast instead of a distinct lump and spreads quickly, sometimes within a few hours. Spagnuolo warns that “because inflammatory breast cancer is not a lump, it is very often misdiagnosed.” That year, she was one of over 220,000 Canadians diagnosed with cancer. The Canadian Cancer Society expects the numbers to continue growing as Canada’s population expands and ages. “I had eight rounds of chemo; a mastectomy of my left breast and 22 lymph nodes removed,” recalls Spagnuolo. Twenty-five rounds of radiation followed. “Chemo was difficult, but not as bad as I thought,” she admits. In the process, Spagnuolo lost her hair and her skin became fragile and irritated. “I was mostly concerned about staying healthy, more than my looks,” she explains. “But, lots of people stare at you – even though I wore a hat and

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sometimes a wig. More than anything it was very, very annoying.” The chemo took a toll on her skin, leaving it with dark blotches, redness and bumps. After searching for a spa that specializes in esthetic oncology, Spagnuolo found the Redwood Medi Spa and Wellness Centre in Toronto. The award-winning spa includes esthetic oncology along with a range of advanced non-surgical skin treatments and modalities. Redwood’s president and founder, Maggie Guo says that oncological estheticians need to understand the impact of cancer, physically and psychologically, so they can communicate better with cancer clients. “This requires estheticians to have an abundance of knowledge in understanding cancer, immunology and lymphatic systems – as well as understanding common anticancer drug therapy, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and their side effects on skin, hair and nails.” On top of that, Guo says, spa technicians need to comprehend cosmetic chemistry and ingredients in skincare, such as the known carcinogens, toxins and irritants. Her oncological clients have skin that is very dry, sensitive and fragile, and could get irritated and disrupted by the physical exfoliation process or active ingredients like retinol and AHAs.

in the know Interested in being accredited as an oncological esthetician? Here are some organizations worth checking out. Beauty Institute of Canada is a registered, private career college under the Private Career Colleges Act 2005, dedicated to delivering quality structured education, practical skills and knowledge needed in the competitive fields of health and beauty. LOCATION-ARROW beautyinstitutecanada.com

“We need to recognize that each cancer client presents unique circumstances, and we might need to make necessary modifications to ensure their safety and comfort. We also need to sense how to emotionally connect with them, building their trust, and treating them with ultimate compassion and care.” – Maggie Guo, President and founder, Redwood Medi Spa and Wellness Centre

In such a highly specialized field, it’s no wonder there are only a few spas in Canada that offer esthetic oncology – despite rising numbers of cancer patients. “Every cancer client will present unique circumstances,” Guo explains. “We offer the Redwood Personalized Oncology Facial to hydrate, relax and revitalize the skin. We also offer O2 lift, which is an acid-free, sulfate-free organic enzymatic facial peel with oxygenating masque, to energize skin cells, improve circulation, speed healing and promote the cell’s natural regenerative abilities.” At Redwood, estheticians follow a safe treatment protocol including pre-treatment consultation, treatment techniques and post-treatment follow-up, and they are especially vigilant when it

The Canadian Aesthetics Association (CAA) is recognized by Health Canada; this regulatory organization is working to raise the bar for professional estheticians and enhance public appreciation for the esthetics field. LOCATION-ARROW canadianaesthetics.ca Canadian Board of Aesthetic Medicine (CBAM) is an independent board dedicated to providing standard on-line and in-class education in the field of esthetic medicine for health care professionals. LOCATION-ARROW cbamedicine.com National Coalition of Estheticians Association (NCEA) offers certification to those who have met the advanced training standards equivalent to a Master Esthetician license. Attaining the National Esthetician Certification is the highest voluntary credential in the United States and is also applicable in Canada. LOCATION-ARROW nceacertified.org Oncology Training International (OTI) is a global leader in oncology-certified training programs for spas and salons, educating in oncology esthetics and skincare, hair, nails and massage training, as well as Dermo Taping. It also provides equine facilitated wellness and spa consulting. LOCATION-ARROW oti-oncologytraining.com ThinkTree Hub is an International Professional Association for complementary therapists, practitioners of all modalities, courses providers and the public seeking professional health treatments, CPD and Accredited courses. LOCATION-ARROW thinktreehub.com

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in the know

comes to skin compromised by cancer. “We need to recognize that each cancer client presents unique circumstances, and we might need to make necessary modifications to ensure their safety and comfort,” Guo explains. “We also need to sense how to emotionally connect with them, build their trust and treat them with ultimate compassion and care.” For Spagnuolo, a visit to the spa eased her feelings of anxiety. “My facial was most definitely an emotional boost. I felt so relaxed and emotionally energized once I left Redwood, which is tough when you’re in chemo and cancer treatments for months.” According to Mórag Currin, a global expert in cancer-specific esthetics and founder of Oncology Training International (OTI), “For someone with cancer, there’s a lot of depression, anxiety and stress around treatment, concerns over whether they are going to survive, side effects and how they’re going to feel. They need a safe space and nurturing touch more than anything during this time.” The Mórag Currin Method of Oncology Esthetics (MCMOE) is used by OTI experts to train thousands of students each year in over 14 countries.

SETTING THE STANDARD FOR LASH EDUCATION The lash industry is a rapidly growing industry. Lash extensions have become a beauty staple for all cultures, genders, and ages. Due to such growth, the lash industry has an abundance of training options to choose from which can become quite intimidating and rather confusing. Choosing the most appropriate lash education can begin the foundations of your career. That is why it is important to consider your choice of lash education as a key investment towards a successful lash career.

Signature Lashes by Creata Beauty has launched courses that are built by lash masters to help you begin and foster a successful lash career. To understand which lash education courses to invest in, here are a few tips to consider: Learning style Choose a course based on whether you are an effective visual (virtual) or handson learner. Signature Lashes offers online and in-person course options. Products Select a course based on products you will realistically be using when beginning your lash career. Our products are carefully created with emphasis on performance and quality to give lash artists confidence. Client education Choose a course that not only trains in lash application but also client interaction. Learn how to respond to questions and concerns and portray yourself as a confident lash expert to establish trust and credibility.

Support Consider what kind of support is offered after your certification. The learning process does not end as soon as the course does. Signature Lashes offers ongoing coaching and support throughout your career across various different platforms. Location Try to avoid letting location be a deciding factor. Sometimes the travel is worth the effort for a quality course. Experience of trainers Consider the how long the lash trainer has been in the industry. For example, Jessica Martel has been a lash artist for 10 years therefore her experience is her strength. Also note that a well-rounded trainer has been trained by multiple companies and have multiple certifications.

Quality of your lash education is not dependant on the size of the company you choose but rather the quality of their education courses, the selection of trainers, products, and emphasis on safety and theory much like we do at Signature Lashes by Creata Beauty!


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“For someone with cancer, there’s a lot of depression, anxiety, and stress around treatment; concerns over whether they are going to survive and the side effects; and, how they’re going to feel. They need a safe space and nurturing touch more than anything during this time.” – Mórag Currin, Founder, Oncology Training International

While initially there were concerns over patient safety and liability, today there’s growing recognition that spas can help. OTI works with insurance companies in developing training modules for treating oncology clients. “Insurance companies became more accepting of what we were doing, because it was quite the opposite to things like laser and derma-blading and anything that’s invasive. It’s completely non-invasive,” she explains. Among a range of courses, OTI students learn about the side effects of chemotherapy, like those caused by a drug for treating melanoma which leads to loss of pigmentation in the skin and hair. It’s a catch-22, explains Currin, because the loss of these pigments, which are a natural way for the body to protect against sun damage, ironically exposes the skin to even more melanoma. The drug’s effects on hair leaves brows almost invisible, so the esthetician needs to learn about the best types and styles of makeup. Beyond cancer, Currin suggests that the industry would be well served to understand the impact of other diseases, like diabetes and heart disease. Knowledge of these afflictions enables estheticians to offer the most effective treatments. “For example, somebody who’s on corticosteroids can also bruise and bleed very easily. So, it is important for us to be asking the right questions.” For spas interested in offering oncological esthetics, Currin suggests they focus on offering their clients relaxation, symptom relief and appearance recovery. She’d love to see more oncology estheticians in the industry. It would have made the search that much easier for cancer survivors like Spagnuolo, who explains, “Cancer treatments are difficult; if you can find someone who can help you feel better and support you, I would highly recommend it.”

spa business



From a one-woman project to a successful Canadian brand


eople often ask me why I created a skincare brand. In thinking back, my initial interest in natural skincare started when I was young, seeing my mother and grandmother use traditional remedies for health and for the skin, based on our East Indian heritage. Along with this, I was always exposed to small business and hard work, as both my parents have a long history of owning and operating small businesses since moving to Canada from East Africa in 1967. My interest in using natural ingredients for skincare grew while I studied sciences at college. I spent a great deal of time researching natural ingredients and their benefits to the skin, along with learning about ancient healing practices from around the world, such as Ayurveda. After a couple of years of research and taking courses, including herbology, aromatherapy and Ayurveda, I knew I wanted to share the knowledge I had gained to inspire more people to use natural home remedies for skincare and health. 18 S pa Inc. | Spri n g 2 02 1

spa business

I grew the product line using seaweed and clay as key ingredients to create sophisticated luxury formulas and launched the line officially in 2005.

This led me to write a “DIY Quick & Easy Recipe Handbook for the Skin” in 1996, and I began offering seminars to groups at health/wellness conferences and writing articles focusing on the subject. I put together a second handbook that featured guest writers along with my own chapters, covering a range of topics from natural skincare and healing recipes, to aromatherapy, yoga and reflexology. In 1997, I received the Young Entrepreneur Award from the North Shore Chamber of Commerce, and my company has been featured in several publications since then. This was when I started envisioning a skincare line that reflected my belief that healing comes from within, and from a connection to nature. This began my journey into creating natural skincare formulas to help heal and rebalance the skin. I was grateful to have connected with some local cosmetic chemists at this time, and I spent a few years learning important skills in the areas of product development/manufacturing, which in hindsight helped me greatly in many ways over the years. At that time, I noticed many skincare brands on the market contained ingredients that were synthetic and not really focused on a natural, holistic approach. I saw a gap in the industry and I wanted to fill it with skincare products that would be healing. My first line was called the Lotus Line Collection by Ancient Secrets Inc., which I made by hand in small batches based on plant extracts and essential oils. I sold these products directly during my seminars at local trade shows and even got a few contracts at well-known local health and vitamin stores. In early 2000, during my ongoing research into healing ingredients for the skin, I learned about the remarkable healing benefits of Macrocystis seaweed and intertidal glacial clay from the northern coast of B.C. After studying the history and benefits of these ingredients, which have been used for more than 5,000 years in Thalassotherapy, I knew I needed to use these to create holistic body care for the spa industry. There was nothing like this in the spa industry at that time, so it was a unique opportunity. The initial formulas were developed with the help of my

cosmetic chemist colleague, using these Indigenous ingredients, which became the foundation of my very first products in the Ancient Secrets Spa Line. What was so exciting was that these products were one of the first in the Canadian spa industry to be created with locally harvested ingredients that were 100 percent sustainable, and this was long before “green” beauty was a trend. I grew the product line using seaweed and clay as key ingredients to create sophisticated luxury formulas and launched the line officially in 2005. I would say one of my big breaks came around 2007, when the spa director of the Grotto Spa located at the award-winning Tigh-Na-Mara Resort in Parksville, B.C., took time to learn about my products and saw a vision of being a destination spa that offered spa treatments which reflected the local environment. This was our first big spa partner, and I’m proud to say that to this day, our product line is still offered at this spa. At the same time, my line was picked up by one of the top spa product distributors in the Canadian spa industry, and they helped to further establish the line in several top spas and resorts. In 2009, I realized that I could only create the vision that I had for my company if I took over the distribution myself, and since then we have been handling our own distribution and all other aspects of the business. I changed the brand name to The Beauty Through Balance Spa Line, to reflect what I truly believe – that true beauty starts from a place of healing from within. I am very proud to say our brand is carried in some of Canada’s most prestigious and award-winning spas, and we are set for expansion outside of Canada. Since its official launch, the line has undergone packaging changes, a number of expansions and updates to the formulas to become a complete range of holistic facial and body care.

Lessons & skills I learned along the way The path of creating my own business and product line certainly has not been easy or smooth – there have been many ups and downs, and many lessons learned along the way. A key lesson I’ve learned is that patience is truly a virtue. It isn’t always easy to have patience, because as entrepreneurs with ideas and goals, we want to have them come to fruition as soon as possible. It’s taken me S p a I nc .c a


spa business A key lesson I’ve learned is that patience is truly a virtue. It isn’t always easy to have patience, because as entrepreneurs with ideas and goals, we want to have them come to fruition as soon as possible. many years to grow the business/brand, and I feel that the slower growth has allowed me to cultivate more patience, which also has helped me in my personal life. I see many new “green” beauty brands on the market these days, which is wonderful to see, but things were certainly much more challenging to create, launch and market a natural, locally made skincare brand back in the late ’90s and early 2000s. At that time, there was no Instagram, so sales, marketing, brand awareness and generating media opportunities was done the oldfashioned way. Taking a slow growth, hands-on approach allowed time to really improve and sharpen my business skills, along with learning what was needed to achieve the goals I had set out. My educational background before starting the business was mainly in the sciences and holistic healing/health. Even after starting the brand, I never took any business classes, marketing or accounting courses. I definitely feel that if I had taken the time to educate myself in these areas earlier on, it would have been helpful to structure and manage things better from the start. I would definitely encourage anyone wanting to enter into this field to get a solid education in business and bookkeeping basics. Keys to success and growth: Over the many years I’ve been able to acquire valuable skills, which is a benefit of starting a business from scratch, especially when it involves product development, manufacturing, sourcing, quality control systems, distribution, marketing, client support, creating a team… and the list goes on. I always say that this business is like a few businesses rolled into one.

Here are a few key things that have contributed to my brand’s growth and success: Creating a brand/product that is unique, authentic and meets current and future industry trends: Starting out in a competitive market, I knew I had to provide something unique, that connected 20 S pa Inc. | Spri n g 2 02 1

people to the healing aspects of what I was trying to provide. Being one of the only Canadian-made spa brands using locally harvested ingredients did set us apart from the start, as did offering treatments that were therapeutic in nature. Knowing how to communicate a unique message for your brand is very important, and it’s something I’ve worked on perfecting over the years. Our sustainable harvesting methods and environmentally conscious approach, along with the remarkable benefits of the seaweed and local clay we are using, created a unique brand story that resonated then and now with spas and customers who want to use something more locally inspired, that also brings results. Let your life be a reflection of your company/ brand, and vice versa: I do my best to live a lifestyle that reflects the core philosophy and concept I want our brand to represent, which is a connection to nature for healing and wellness. I try to live my life according to the same principles by getting out in nature as often as I can, practicing meditation, eating a whole food, plant-based diet, giving back to the community through volunteer work and using natural remedies as a daily practice. Don’t rush expansion and scaling: One question I’ve been asked a few times is why we didn’t expand into other countries, like the U.S. market, sooner. We actually did. In 2006-08, my line was in a few top spas in the U.S. and I had plans to expand, but then the recession hit, so we pulled back. As the industry slowly improved, we changed our strategy to focus on establishing ourselves successfully in Canada before expanding. Being a small business and growing slowly, we continued to create a solid foundation in Canada. Looking back, this was the right decision because it gave us a chance to put into place what we needed to expand outside of Canada. The power of negotiating: When running any business, you will have suppliers, and it’s important to have negotiation skills to achieve your needs when it comes to quantities, quality, pricing, etc. This is a very important part of running a successful business, and being able to negotiate well has played an important role in supporting my company’s growth. Quality control in manufacturing: When developing and selling skincare, I learned right from the start through my work with cosmetic chemists and labs the importance of ensuring the safety, stability and purity of the products. From the beginning, I

I learned right from the start through my work with cosmetic chemists and labs the importance of ensuring the safety, stability and purity of the products.

spa business followed specific processes and procedures for all stages of ingredient sourcing, R&D and manufacturing. For anyone starting a skincare line, I would encourage taking a course in cosmetic chemistry and manufacturing procedures before beginning.

From the beginning, I followed specific processes and procedures for all stages of ingredient sourcing, R&D and manufacturing.

Sales and building long-term relationships: Having strong sales skills is one of the most important aspects of ensuring growth of your product/brand. Prior to starting my business, I had held many jobs starting from the age of 16 that were all sales oriented, which gave me a natural ability to approach sales with confidence and in a way that focused on education and building relationships with potential clients versus a “close the deal” approach. I value the relationships that we have built with our clients and I approach the relationships with respect, gratitude and with an approach of creating a long-term partnership versus retaining a client. Wear all the hats: Another key to our success is I took time to learn and experience all aspects of the business, from picking/packing orders, to sales, training, marketing, sending out press releases, managing inventory, production planning, etc. This is an important part of knowing how to properly scale and manage a business. Always stay passionate and embrace the challenges: When starting any business, there will be challenging times, so it’s important to stay focused on your true passion and the reason you started the business in the first place. Use challenges as a positive way to learn and grow. Create a strong team: Initially, for many years I did wear all the hats, along with having hands-on support from friends and family, but as the business grew, I knew I had to start building a team. When looking for the right people to join your team, try to find people

Dealing with the pandemic In the initial stages of the COVID-19 lockdown period, company revenue dropped by about 90 percent, mainly because most of our revenue was based on business-to-business sales. Although there were reasons to be concerned, we actually did not feel worried; we had a core belief that our business would be fine, so we chose to use the slow time as an opportunity to work on outstanding projects that we had not had the chance to dive into, such as further organizing the inventory and operations side, along with revamping certain aspects of the business. Actually, we were glad to have this slower time to accomplish some important projects, as it helped us to prepare for post-COVID and future growth. Due to these projects and maintaining shipments of any orders that came through, we retained almost the same hours; however, we scaled back the team to work a bit more from home. Around mid-summer of 2020, orders began to increase gradually and were fairly steady. Around late fall, we began to notice an increasing number of spas contacting us, and within less than three months we had acquired several new spa partnerships and continue to open new accounts during this time of the pandemic. Acquiring so many new spa accounts during COVID was certainty unexpected; however, we learned that these spas were reaching out because they wanted to support a local reputable and established brand. We also noticed increased ordering from our online shop partners as people were not going to the spas as much and wanted to have a home spa experience. Since our products are therapeutic and some formulas help to support the immune system, along with promoting calm/anti-stress, those products in particular have done very well during the pandemic. This time also has been beneficial in helping us to offer more support and online training options to our spa partners/clients, along with creating more training videos and self-care videos.

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spa business who relate to your company’s philosophy and core values. Also look for people that are passionate about your industry and are open to growing, learning and supporting your vision. I have been blessed to have some amazing people be a part of this journey, from my parents helping when I first started out in their basement back in the early 1990s, to my husband who was working behind the scenes handling the accounting. In 2018, he took on a more active full-time role in the areas of operations and strategy, which has helped the company grow and expand. I’m also grateful to all of our committed team members we’ve had along the way at our labs and head office, along with trainers and product educators.

The right partners and team members are the most valuable asset you can have as you grow. Lastly, I would say that I’ve always tried to do my best to conduct business with integrity and truth. I have run the business from the start based on my own personal core values, and it’s never steered me wrong. As a female CEO/entrepreneur who has gone through the many challenges and successes of owning and operating a business while developing a brand from scratch, I hope that I can continue to inspire, help and support other women starting out in business or wanting to create their own product line. My vision is to continue creating therapeutic products that help people with their skin and promote well-being, along with taking more time to share my experiences through writing and speaking.

Sherina Jamal is the CEO and founder of Ancient Secrets Inc., and developer of the Beauty Through Balance skincare line, created in B.C. She served as a committee and board member for Leading Spas of Canada, winning an award for her volunteer efforts. Jamal’s products can be found in some of Canada’s top spas as well as online, and she is planning several new expansions for the brand. Her articles have been published in several health, beauty and wellness magazines, and Jamal has been a speaker at industry events and conferences. She believes in giving back to the community and regularly donates a percentage of profits and products to various local non-profit organizations.

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spa business

Survivors Treating


Left: Jennifer Findlay, co-founder, Core Essence. Right: Mariana Palmeiro, Well Culture.


hile the pandemic fallout begins to settle from a year that redefined “normal,” a new breed of spa client has emerged: the COVID-19 survivor. These are the battlescarred coronavirus casualties, their family/friends and countless frontline workers for whom spas can offer comfort and treatment. “As we’re moving into the later phases of COVID, we need to be really attuned to what the greater community at large needs now. The consumer experience, needs and mindset are extremely different than before all of this started,” explains Jennifer Findlay, co-founder of Core Essence, a global wellness design consultancy. The pandemic prompted her to join forces with Mariana Palmeiro, an expert in wellness and hospitality management at Well Culture, to create the “COVID-19 Response Initiative,” a resource package to assist urban and destination spas and wellness centres. We asked them about the program, launching this spring.

What inspired you to develop a COVID recovery initiative?

It comes from a place of responsibility. Mariana and I have both worked in the industry for a very long time, over two decades, each of us in various roles within the spa and wellness worlds, and we realized that we could do something to help spas get back on their feet. We hope to provide real, tangible solutions to immediate problems facing spa owners and operators so they can reopen successfully, recover business rapidly and, most importantly, support urgent humanitarian needs. Obviously, the industry can’t just go back to business the way things were. This is not business as usual. The reality of what the world is facing is just too grave and too unsettling, and has really uprooted everything. And that applies to the spa industry itself. Although you could reopen your doors and you can do some of the S pa I nc .c a


spa business “Some of the first questions that need to be asked are: How and when to reopen and how to serve the needs of tomorrow’s consumer?” – Jennifer Findlay amazing things you’ve always done – provide great body work, provide great skincare services, attend to and care for people – you have to recognize that their needs have fundamentally changed. Particularly, those who have been directly impacted by COVID. Four distinct groups make up this new consumer profile. These are the people who have recovered from the disease but are still feeling its long-term effects. There are also the friends and families of those who did not survive. On the societal frontlines, there are those who suffered financial loss, or overcame by fear, loneliness and isolation. And, rounding up the segments are the exhausted healthcare workers who are experiencing clinical anxiety, depression and posttraumatic stress disorder in staggering numbers. It’s a deeper level of consumer need than we’ve seen before, with clients seeking to build resiliency, regain their strength, enhance their immunity and nourish their health and mental well-being.

What needs to happen first to enable spas to serve this special client group?

The reality is that a lot of these facilities are still closed. And, so some of the first questions that need to be asked are: How and when can we reopen and how do we best serve the needs of tomorrow’s consumer? We’re hoping that a resource like the “COVID Response Initiative” will enable spa owners to reach out and support clients coping with COVID-19, with programming designed to provide a place of respite, resolve, retreat and support over the long run. It’s a planning resource that addresses such elements as layout and space utilization, service and product review, introduction of new programming dedicated to resiliency and recovery, an operational efficiency audit aimed at cost reduction, financial recovery initiatives, e-comm strategy, customer engagement ideas and advanced tech solutions for enhanced operational performance.

What COVID-related programs and services should spa owners consider?

The big focus globally is on prevention of disease through such things as enhanced immunity, respiratory health and emotional well-being. These should be 24 S p a Inc. | Spri n g 2 02 1

considered in program development. Respiratory health, for example, may look at treatments that prioritize improved cellular oxygenation. They could also involve partnerships with Registered Nutritionists to provide customized nutritional support and healthy eating recommendations that support reduction of mucus build-up. Treatments might also include inhalation therapy via simple yet tangible breathing practices that might be layered in to existing services or presented in a new way. Spas might consider a number of preventative approaches including reducing inflammation, improving daily habits of relaxation and stress management, and sleep education to trigger restoration of our immune systems. There’s great potential in alignments with specialists such as naturopathic doctors and nutritionists who can focus on improved gut health; the gut houses 70 percent of our immune system. If you’ve been ill, you likely have not been able to exercise, so rebuilding physical strength and endurance in a targeted manner is critically important..

What advice do you have for spas that are interested in an overhaul but also concerned about potential impacts on current business?

It has to be done in a way that makes sense. The “COVID Response Initiative” can be divided into a two-tiered approach. It doesn’t mean that every single service on your menu needs to be overhauled. At its simplest, spas can tweak existing programs to integrate the needs of this new client segment. Or they could take a more robust approach and fully adopt it into their DNA with more permanent changes, like including various amenities and support structures for specific recovery initiatives. Either way, you’re not going into this blindly, so you’ll need to do the homework. Where before spas were set up to offer massage, skin therapy or beauty services, to accommodate this particular client, you’ll need to drill down with probing questions like: What type of space might be required for those services? Does it involve very particular design initiatives to improve air quality and other environmental factors that might affect compromised immune systems?

Spas might consider a number of preventative approaches to reducing inflammation, improving daily habits of relaxation and stress management, and sleep education and sleep improvement to trigger restoration of our immune systems.

spa business

How does it feed into operating plans in terms of cost, protocols and procedures? How will this get promoted to clients and how will staff be trained and supported?

What types of programs should spa operators consider to accommodate COVIDimpacted clients?

Spas might consider introducing new types of fitness and well-being programs like yoga and massage to help open and relax the body, rebuild strength and realign posture that may have been lost during the illness. For those who have suffered anxiety, consider stress recovery. Are there ways to support guests pre- and post-treatment with a space that is quiet, to relax? Could you offer guided visualization or a guided meditation, sound healing or sound therapy, support groups through workshops and events that can help bring people together with a shared experience to heal, creating a safe space for people to come together and also share experiences and share stories to recover? It may be that some of your programming might be delivered in partnership with other experts like naturopathic doctors, nutritional specialists or even specialists in hyperbaric chamber therapy, which has been shown to support respiratory health and recovery.

What role do science and the medical community play in this?

At present, the spa industry and the medical community are two distinct entities and two very separate industries. While spas address the needs of clients who – in theory – are healthy and well, the traditional medical world addresses those who are already sick. The reality is that if we brought those skillsets together through dedicated facilities or specialized clinics, we actually would be delivering a model of health that is closer to the way the World Health Organization envisions it: “Health is a complete state of physical, mental and social well-being, not merely an absence of disease or infirmity.” A growing body of research is just unfolding around different therapeutic applications like infrared saunas and salt caves, that can help cleanse the body and evoke vibrancy and health at a cellular level. There’s also more research and evidence-based work being applied into nutrition. And if you go deeper, there’s a lot of information right now coming out on the microbiome, which is essentially looking at gut health and its role in building immunity and resiliency. The research and data are giving credence to spa and wellness therapies as real forms of prevention and rehabilitation. Ultimately, it’s about linking up with the right individuals or groups and partnering with experts in a way that is designed to meet the reality of the needs of those who’ve been impacted by COVID. S p a I nc .c a


special feature

The Prosperity Project B Y JA N A M A N O L A KO S


survey released in March by The Prosperity Project paints a bleak picture of declining mental health among Canadian working women, many of them in service industries like Canada’s spas, restaurants and resorts – hard-hit sectors that have suffered unprecedented job losses as a result of the COVID-19 shutdowns. Pamela Jeffery, founder of The Prosperity Project, explains, “We can’t have economic recovery without increased labour force participation of women, and we can’t have women in the workforce without childcare.” Her non-profit organization includes a list of women that reads like a who’s who of Canadian influencers. Together they launched The Prosperity Project in May 2020 and embarked on a mission to ensure women are not left behind as Canada restarts its economy. The group already has gained remarkable traction, plunging into a five-pronged plan intended to help non-profit organizations to meet funding challenges, deliver research and raise awareness of the effect COVID-19 has on family life, work/life integration and women’s responsibilities at home. They recently launched into a new awareness drive – modelled on the famous “Rosie the Riveter” poster campaign from World War II – that promotes women’s workforce participation and advancement; and they have introduced a matching program that pairs business experts with non-profit organizations serving women. Survey finds that working moms are experiencing much higher levels of stress The Prosperity Project also released a second mental health survey, following one that ran at the beginning of the pandemic. Conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights, in partnership with CIBC, this year’s survey is a cross-country poll of more than 1,000 adults. It found that women were much more likely than men to feel anxious, stressed and depressed during the pandemic’s second wave as 26 S pa Inc. | Spri n g 2 02 1

compared to the first. These feelings were even higher among working mothers, who reported experiencing higher levels of stress (52%), anxiety (47%) and depression (43%), compared to working women without children (36%; 38%; 29%). These levels are also higher when compared to working fathers (37%; 40%; 27%). In addition to worries about helping with schoolwork and their children’s safety, mothers are also more likely to feel guilty about not spending time with their children and are more likely to turn down jobs or promotions to spend more time with their family. The survey also found that, during the pandemic’s second wave, women were more likely to consider quitting their job, ask for reduced working hours or take a position with different working conditions. “Parents – mothers and fathers – need flexibility, quality and affordability in childcare. A lack of childcare is not a women’s issue: it is an issue for all working Canadians who can’t be the professionals they want to be in their workplaces without supports in place based on their particular needs,” explains Jeffery. Working parents were much more concerned about financial burdens, repaying debts and household bills, than those who didn’t have children. Four in 10 respondents among both men and women say they had to use their savings during the pandemic to make ends meet. Working parents, more so working mothers (48%, compared to 44% of working fathers), reported having to dip into their savings considerably more than those without children (35% women; 38% men). According to the survey, 44% of women feel that they will face an economic recession and lack of job prospects once the pandemic is over. Racialized, low-income and immigrant women have been especially hard hit, with 41% believing that women are less likely to be considered for jobs after the pandemic (compared to 29% of white women).

special feature

Working mothers reported experiencing higher levels of:

compared to working women without children:

stress (52%) anxiety (47%) depression (43%)

stress (36%) anxiety (38%) depression (29%) Pam

ela J

e f fe r y ty P , Founde r, T he Prosperi

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The solution lies in a national childcare program level families the access to affordable childcare as a way to boost As the country grapples with a third wave, Jeffery believes there births while encouraging more women to enter the workforce. may yet be hope for women if the federal government and its It’s the kind of model The Prosperity Project would like to see partners implement a long-promised national childcare program. across Canada. It’s been a key focus of The Prosperity Project’s national A 2017 study by McKinsey reported that advancing women’s advocacy efforts. equality in Canada has the potential to add 0.6% annual In its second COVID-19 budget released this March, Ontario incremental GDP growth totalling $150 billion by 2026. The study earmarked funding for small businesses to assist with pandemic pointed to the most important ways to grow the economy: increase expenses and created a new job training tax credit. It also included women’s labour force participation rate by three percentage extended payments to families with children through the Ontario points, increase the number of women in targeted sectors such as COVID-19 Child Benefit. natural resource development and technology, and increase “It’s a step in the right direction,” says Jeffery, who hoped it working women’s working hours by 50 minutes per week. would encourage the federal government to Resetting work and personal lives to a act on childcare. “Childcare will improve “new normal” needs leadership that’s women’s employment. It will improve their grounded in empathy, compassion and According to the survey, mental health. It will improve family flexibility courage, says Jeffery, noting that leaders – for women and men. This absolutely needs who invest in their employees, build to happen.” attractive workplace cultures and remain Her group wants to see a plan on childcare authentic and transparent are the feel that they will face an and early childhood education that will hallmarks of successful companies. economic recession and lack nurture early development and get kids on So how can the spa industry help? of job prospects once the track for education at a young age. Secondly, Jeffery points out that despite almost pandemic is over. the group is encouraging employers to apply a insurmountable challenges, spas have gender lens to understand that their employees shown their resilience in riding out the have different experiences and needs – pandemic – from boosting online sales to especially working parents. It’s also about paying childcare and pivoting to new business models. She hopes they’re willing to elder care workers better. volunteer their insights and experiences with non-profits that Jeffery explains, “Men often have different needs than women. serve women and girls, as part of The Prosperity Project’s Racialized women have different needs than other women. We Matching Campaign. Spas and industry partners interested in are encouraging employers to take the time to understand what offering their insights to these types of non-profit agencies can their different employees, segments or populations need in get more information from The Prosperity Project website at: order to be successful and help us achieve the economic recovery canadianprosperityproject.ca/matching. we need.” “We have to start now to take action that can turn this into In 1997, the Quebec Government implemented $5 a day something that is tangible for the women out there. When women childcare as part of its new Family Policy, offering all-incomesucceed, we all prosper,” Jeffery concludes.

44% of women

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The latest offering in LASPA’s line of Canadian-made natural, mineral sunscreens is its Fluid Matte Foundation SPF20 which comes in three natural tints for light, golden and bronze skintones. Made with certified organic and naturally derived ingredients, this 3-in-1 product offers a base level of sun protection, in a moisturizing foundation that’s suitable for daily use on the face. laspanaturals.com


Gold Infused Skin Care

Makanai offers a full line of skin care products, most of which feature a proprietary KaESS complex, comprised of persimmon (kaki) leaf rich in vitamins and antioxidants, eggshell membrane for hydration and collagen elasticity and soybean sterol to combat dryness. A luxury line features gold infused products like Goldays 24K Perfector Sheet, Skin Jewel Oil Serum and Goldays Magic Glow Balm. makanaibeauty.com



A spicy, warm essential oil that comforts the nerves and eases the mind, frankincense is used to help relieve cough symptoms and laryngitis, rejuvenate dry and mature skin and can help keep Plantar Fasciitis symptoms at bay. German researchers have also found that it contains boswellic acid, which interferes with the inflammatory process, thereby reducing inflammatory reactions. saje.com

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Home Sugaring Kit

Bringing the spa home, Sugar & Co worked with researcher at Western University in Ontario to develop their natural sugar paste which is included in this home sugaring kit which comes with 10 large reusable strips, a reusable spatula and special directions. The products are all-natural, biodegradable, non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic, glutenfree, non-GMO, cruelty-free, and 100% toxic-free. sugarcocanada.com

spa star What concerns do you have regarding a lack of government recognition of the industry? I think that our industry still struggles to get credibility. There are a lot of really intelligent, talented people who are part of this industry, who have amazing things to contribute, and I sometimes wonder whether we’re being represented as effectively as we could. I think there is a lot of old-school thinking out there, particularly when it comes to our government. Try to get any type of statistical information on our industry. You can’t get it, because the government doesn’t track spas. They lump us into the personal service sector, with tattoo parlours and nail bars and hair salons. It makes it difficult for businesses in Canada to plan, develop, expand and grow. If people who want to invest or expand into the Canadian market ask for statistics for the spa industry, they can’t get them. This is not just a Canadian issue. Businesses globally have struggled with trying to change the image of the spa industry. I do think we are starting to see a change. There is a shift happening in terms of credibility for our industry, so that’s encouraging.



ith more than 30 years of industry experience – including working in day spas and department stores, as a resort spa manager and as a spa consultant – Kathryn Gallagher is passionate about upholding and strengthening practice standards and policies for estheticians, and bringing increased government recognition to the industry. The current chair of the board of directors for Leading Spas of Canada, Gallagher has organized and opened several spas across Canada, including the country’s first Aveda training institute in Victoria, B.C. Since 2005, Gallagher has been a professor in the Esthetician, Esthetics & Spa Therapies program at Seneca College in Toronto. After all of your experience in the spa industry, what inspired you to teach? I think that after a period of time in the industry, you want to share what you’ve learned with the future of the industry. I had also witnessed poor practices and wanted to contribute to making a difference in improving the standards.

You earned your Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Guelph’s College of Business and Economics. As part of that program, you wrote a research paper, “The Need to Professionalize Estheticians” (published in 2017 in the Routledge Handbook of Health Tourism). What were some of the major issues the paper discussed? It looked at how we can get the government to listen to us when it comes to the way that our industry is evolving. I was looking at this crossover between day spas and medical spas and how it’s blurring [with treatments such as laser hair removal and laser skin rejuvenation being done in day spas, destination spas and hair salons]. The type of equipment and technology being developed and used in spas is concerning. The lack of regulation on high-risk machines and on operators has put a lot of people who want these services unwittingly at risk. In a 2012 survey by the Canadian Dermatology Association, 73 percent of dermatologists said they had treated patients for scars, burns and other wounds sustained after receiving laser treatment. People are being harmed. And I think that should be something that would catch the attention of the government. When it comes to these machines, Health Canada does regulate the manufacture and the sale quality of lasers, but it doesn’t regulate who’s using them. Once they go on the market, there is no oversight. The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has an infection prevention control unit for personal service settings. But one inspector in Toronto I spoke to [in 2015] for my paper told me there were 10 inspectors responsible for conducting health inspections on approximately 3,500 businesses offering hair, esthetics, tattoos and nail services. So, quality control and oversight are not going to be consistent. They’re not going to be able to see every single business on a regular basis. S pa I nc .c a


spa star

Kathryn Gallagher is the current chair of the board of directors for Leading Spas of Canada

Can you tell us more about Leading Spas of Canada? Leading Spas of Canada is the only national member association that leads, supports and promotes members of Canada’s spa and wellness industry. Members must adhere to the highest standards and practices related to service, hygiene and safety. Its Quality Assurance Program takes it one step further than legislated standards and recommendations by public health units to verify and ensure spas with this designation are demonstrating best practices around operating procedures, ethics, safety and hygiene. I think the Quality Assurance designation gives spas a distinct edge and shows that they’re meeting national standards and that consumers are getting a safe, quality experience. Clients should be seeking out spas that have that designation. They can be reassured that all the protocols and health and safety standards are beyond what the government is asking for. I think if there were ever a time where an association is needed

Spas have an important role to play when it comes to helping people feel well, whether it’s physically, psychologically, or both. – KATHRYN GALLAGHER

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to help bring people together, provide a strong voice for the industry and a place for people to learn from each other and share information, the time is now. Everyone has been affected by the pandemic and we are all in this together. That is why an association like this is needed, and it’s the only national association for the spa industry in Canada. So I think we really need to protect it and try to come together as much as we possibly can. What do you see for the future of the industry following COVID-19? Spas have an important role to play when it comes to helping people feel well, whether it’s physically, psychologically, or both. With the pandemic, we have to seriously look at the role that spas play and what they can do in terms of helping people. I think our clients are going to be very aware of the need to be healthy and stay healthy. People are going to be seeking that from spas as they reopen. It’s going to be very important that spas pay attention and communicate with their clients and find out how they can support them. People want to feel that they’re connected and cared for. Businesses should look at this idea of being like a home away from home, where clients can feel taken care of, because it is important to look at how to get clients back into the spa feeling reassured, comfortable and secure. Increasingly, people are looking at wellness as something they need to tend to every day, not just once in a while. I see this as a great opportunity for spas, but they have to be aware of what their customers want and tailor what they offer around that.

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Profile for Dovetail Communications

Spa Inc. Spring 2021  

Spa Inc. Spring 2021  

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