CANADAâ€™S SPA CONNECTION
Ancient Remedies TRADITIONS IN THE MODERN SPA
SPA SOFTWARE 7 Time-Saving Solutions
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Indigenous-inspired spas south of the border, a US$1,000 facial and how to prepare for World Wellness Weekend
Ancient rituals and remedies play an integral role in many of today’s modern spas
How spa software can elevate your customers’ experience
22 A P.R. pro’s 15 simple tips to grow your business
fresh & new
Products that harness ancient secrets to heal and beautify
in the know
The origins and history of hammam spas as explained by Celine Tadrissi, owner of Toronto’s award-winning Hammam Spa
Artist Elena Colombo creates fire installations for luxury destinations around the world
science of the spa
An Ayurvedic doctor explains the basics of this popular wellness practice
28 Cover photo: Ancient Cedars Spa
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between us SUMMER 2019
the of the
n a world obsessed with the latest trends – more than ever, thanks (or no thanks) to social media – we often forget how important past traditions were in shaping who we are. How our ancestors lived is sometimes carried into the next generations with awareness, but this knowledge can also fade with the memories of those who came before us. Sharing the wisdom of the ages is essential for enhancing our human experience, so we wanted to take a closer look at some of the ancient traditions that continue to shape the spa industry. While new technologies are transforming how we can retain and restore our youthfulness, many other wellness techniques have been practiced for hundreds, and even thousands, of years. The test of time has proven that these therapies work, even if modern science might argue that we haven’t conducted enough studies to know for sure. You can read more about a variety of spas that utilize these age-old traditions on p. 7, and delve deeper into the worlds of hammam and Ayurveda on pp. 15–20. Of course, today’s spa also needs to be technologically savvy because customers expect the convenience of online booking, so we look at some of the best platforms on p. 22. And if you’re still not convinced that your spa needs to be on social media, spend some time reading “15 Simple Tips to Grow Your Business,” by Christine Faulhaber, the CEO of an award-winning marketing and communications agency. Although she encourages every business owner to engage with their customers on social media, Faulhaber also advises, “Don’t be afraid to go ‘old school.’” As we learn from mentors and business leaders, the wisdom of the ages isn’t isolated in the past – humanity (hopefully) continues to build on what we already know, to discover new, and better, ways of doing things. Popi Bowman But sometimes, that means understanding “new” MANAGING EDITOR doesn’t always equal “better.”
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Three spa rituals (way) south of the border Lantana Spa
Celebrating wellness around the world On September 21 and 22, the third annual World Wellness Weekend will take place in more than 100 countries, with thousands of venues hosting free classes and services. According to the event founder, Jean-Guy de Gabriac, wellness is built on five pillars: sleep/ restoration, nutrition/nourishment, vitality/ movement, serenity/mindfulness and purpose/solidarity. Participating spas and organizations are required to offer at least one free one-hour event, which qualifies them to be included on the geo-locator map as part of the weekend’s promotional activities. To register, visit: world-wellness-weekend.org.
Grand Velas Los Cabos
In Texas, the Lantana Spa at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa presents each guest with a piece of red ribbon to perform the Seven Knots Ritual, which originated among the traditional village healers in Latin America. As each knot is tied, a concern or worry is to be considered while visualizing the best outcome; the seventh knot creates a circle. Tying the knots is said to release worry and stress, while the red colour signifies courage, strength, health, energy, passion and survival. The SE Spa’s Four-Hand Tequila & Nopal Massage at the AAA Five Diamond Grand Velas Los Cabos in Mexico begins with an energy purification ritual to call forth the four elements, with sage to symbolize earth, a floating candle to represent fire and water, and a feather to conjure air. During treatment, the ancestral technique of stretching using a Mexican shawl helps to release tension. Also in Mexico, the Kinan Spa at Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa offers an authentic Mayan cleansing ritual in the temazcal, which is a pre-Columbian sweat lodge used by Indigenous Central Americans as a curative ceremony to purify the body. Ancestral drums and chants accompany a session with herbal infusions poured over heated volcanic stones.
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The US$1,000 facial Where else would you find one of the most expensive facials than in Las Vegas? The Spa & Salon at ARIA partnered with Valmont Cosmetics to create The Majestic Canyon Collagen Facial, a 100-minute treatment using masks infused with Valmont Clinical Collagen applied to the eyes, face and décolleté. While the masks do their work, the guests’ hands and feet are also massaged with Valmont Intensive Hand Treatment Cream. The spa also features traditional Japanese ganbanyoku – stone beds which are heated to help release toxins and relieve body pain.
ancient rituals and remedies B Y JA N A M A N O L A KO S
t’s a story as old as time: Humans have been covering their skin, steeping, scrubbing and massaging their bodies in the name of wellness and beauty for thousands of years. From ancient India, Egypt and China to Europe, the Americas and Indonesia, the world’s oldest cultures believed in holistic healing of body, mind and soul. The earliest sacred writings pointed to cleanliness and self-care as the wellspring for today’s modern spas. Now, ancient remedies have re-emerged to enhance the modern spa experience.
Some 5,000 years ago, Sanskrit scriptures promoted the importance of balancing the body, mind and soul. Ayurvedic medicine was among this pantheon of wisdom, touting diet, exercise and meditation as a path for living a long, healthy life. Still in practice today, it prescribes methods for recalibrating the body’s chakras, including sadhana – spiritual practice – and the use of herbs and oils for health: sesame oil massage to rejuvenate the body; bhringaraj (eclipta prostrata, or “false daisy”) for radiant skin and thick hair; muscle and joint soothing with ashwagandha (also known as Indian ginseng or winter cherry), bala (country mallow) and mahanaraya oil (infused with almost 40 herbs); and neem (Indian lilac) to cool, cleanse and detoxify. You can learn more about Ayurveda in this issue’s “Science of the Spa” (p. 19).
Among all ancient civilizations, water held sacred qualities as an important spiritual path to cleanse the body, mind and spirit. For thousands of years water, mud and the minerals therein, like
Top: A traditional hammam spa Bottom: Shirodhara treatment
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sodium, magnesium and potassium, offered relief from skin irritations, muscle aches and pains, and helped boost circulation and refreshment. From the earliest humans diving into hot mineral springs, Egyptian milk and honey soaks, Roman mud baths, hammam in Morocco and the sea salt baths of the Middle East, to herb-infused sento soaks in Japan, Scandinavian plunge pools and European mineral springs, “taking the waters” – whether hot or cold – is recognized universally as a way to detoxify, heal and improve overall health.
BERRIES, BUSHES & BARK
Reaching into nature for remedies, the people of Myanmar produce Thanaka powder by grinding the bark of the Thanaka tree and mixing it with water for a poultice that protects skin from the harmful effects of the sun, while having antibacterial, cleansing and anti-acne properties; the tree roots are also used for Indigenous medicines. In North America, cedar was used as a natural antibiotic and still today is popular in cedarinfused massage oils, healing baths and body wraps. In Mesoamerica, the nutrient-rich bark of the mimosa tenuiflora tree was ground to create Tepezcohuite, acclaimed as a skin regenerative; Salma Hayek’s skincare line, Nuance, touts this as its primary ingredient. Ancient Peruvians prized the fat from the cocoa bean (now commonly used) as a moisturizer and antioxidant. In South Africa, the fynbos shrub is a traditional health remedy that’s also used as an ingredient in restorative skincare today. And, the now-trendy goji berries have played a role in ancient Chinese medicine for thousands of years – the seed’s oil being prized for its antioxidant qualities.
ESSENTIAL OILS & AROMATHERAPY
For 6,000 years, incense and plant-based essential oils have helped to improve well-being and, according to some traditions, offered a spiritual link to the gods. Prized for their aromatic, beauty-enhancing, healing and antiseptic qualities, essential oils also were credited for saving lives during the Bubonic Plague in the 14th century. In Tahiti, coconut oil infused with tiare flower (Tahitian gardenia) – known as monoï, or “sacred,” oil – is a centuries-old hair and skin elixir that can now be found in products by Nars, Yves Rocher, Eminence Organics and many other brands. Today, traditional Mayan achiote oil is applied to hydrate the skin (and is commonly used in cooking); Moroccan argan oil, which was traded over 1,000 years ago throughout the Mediterranean, is prized for its rich nutrients; and natural oils, like clove, are still used in European hospitals for their antimicrobial, antifungal and antioxidant properties.
GOLD, PEARLS & GEMS
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For the ultimate pampering, ancient Egyptians revered gold’s curative and antibacterial properties; used topically on the face, 25-carat gold powder results in glowing and rejuvenated skin, helping retain collagen and improve circulation. In ancient Chinese medicinal practices, pearl powder was acclaimed for enhancing skin quality, and it is often used to treat acne and rosacea. For minimizing dark circles under the eyes and brightening the complexion, conch shell powder plays a role in Ayurvedic medicine. Mayan shamans, Chinese healers and many other traditions taught that jade, quartz and other gemstones enable energy flow through the body. »
spa light MASSAGE & PRESSURE POINTS
Since time immemorial, people have used massage to relieve sore and tired muscles, improve circulation, reduce nerve compression or simply relax. The earliest records show its popularity in China, Egypt and India. Many others followed – Swedish and deep tissue, as well as more exotic styles like the gentle pressure and stretching of Thai massage and the pinpoint force of shiatsu for opening energy channels. Unique in application, the ancient Chinese introduced cupping to enhance circulation, the Balinese rolled bamboo sticks to loosen fascia, and many other cultures around the world applied a variety of hot stones – from jade to lava rock – for deep relaxation. The Mayans combined aromatic oils and native salts into their stone massages to help release tension.
SALT CAVES & SEA SALT
The modern-day therapeutic use of salt caves began at Poland’s Wieliczka Salt Mine in 1843, although the practice can be traced back to Grecian times, and continues to this day. Beyond the calming solitude of a salt cave, exposure to micro-sized salt particles clears airways, reduces inflammation and disinfects sinuses and lungs. Sea salt scrubs paired with wraps and combined with essential oils stimulate circulation, exfoliate and promote lymph flow, leaving the body glowing and massage-ready.
SAUNAS & SWEAT LODGES
Recognizing the benefits of eliminating toxins by sweating, many cultures around the world established purification rituals that involved heating the body. Similar to Native American sweat lodges, the Aztec temazcal – a steam bath inside a circular brick or mud abode – merged shamanistic rituals with the health and wellness benefits of improved circulation, muscle relaxation and reduced pain. In Finland, similar to sweat lodges, using a sauna has been a way of life for over 2,000 years, originally dug into the ground and lined with leathers and furs. They believed the steam formed by throwing water onto the fire was cleansing and purifying.
THREE CANADIAN SPAS THAT PRACTICE ANCIENT WISDOM
Located along the banks of the St. Lawrence River on the outskirts of Lévis, Quebec, guests can indulge in Japanese-inspired baths and exotic treatments in the ambiance of a beautifully restored Victorian manor. Co-owners Marie Renier and Jean-Philippe Devaux were inspired by the practice of “sento,” or public bathing, during a trip to the island of Shikoku, Japan. Sento stems from the ancient ritual of washing before entering a temple to purify and cleanse one’s body, mind and spirit. “In our travels we discovered that after a long day of work, the Japanese are in the habit of going to the sento to clean their body,” they explain. “It’s a ritual that comes with spiritual practice. The 10 S pa Inc. | Summ e r 2 019
immersion in a very hot bath after the obligated purification step, is a pure moment of happiness.” After immigrating to Quebec from Belgium, the duo opened their spa in 2011 to create a haven for relaxation and healing, says Renier – with an assortment of treatments, hot and cold baths, as well as steam and sauna complemented by a salt cave and chromatherapy lounge. The spa’s specialties include Asian massages like Japanese anma, and Chinese tuina. She explains, “Those treatments are completely different from the massages we are used to. Therapists use no oil; it’s based on Chinese traditional medicines and helps the body find a balanced energy.” “We also offer kobido, Japanese facial treatment,” Renier says, explaining that the 90-minute treatment includes massaging the body’s meridians or vital energies, acupressure and a series of prescribed techniques that have been passed down over generations to release tension, revive the skin’s natural glow, restore elasticity and promote energy circulation in the upper body. When she and her husband renovated the heritage house, they worked with a designer knowledgeable in Japanese traditional aesthetics, incorporating natural stone and cedar wood and creating Zen gardens, with pines, stone cascades and outdoor pavilions constructed without nails in the traditional Japanese manner. “Our cedar wood tubs and our natural stone bath have the perfect design to completely immerse the body,” Renier adds. “Our clients love this place for its intimacy. All the different baths and installations are set in a way that you don't see other clients.” Today, the spa has 12 employees and 25 therapists. sentospa.com
Ancient Cedars Spa
Ancient Cedars Spas
At the Wickaninnish Inn in Tofino, B.C., this spa overlooks the Pacific Ocean. Here, there’s no need for relaxing music; with the French doors open to the waterfront patio, the gentle ocean waves and breezes do it all. The Inn’s Managing Director, Charles McDiarmid, says, “If the Wickaninnish Inn is the oyster, its pearl has to be Ancient Cedars Spa.” The Inn is surrounded by 100 acres of ancient rainforest. Many of the trees are cedars, a native tree which the local Indigenous people call the “Tree of Life.” Spa Manager Anyeska O’Rourke explains, “Traditionally, it was used in almost everything they did. Each part of the tree – roots, bark, wood and branches – were used to make items to sustain their lives, such as canoes, big houses, totem poles, baskets, mats, clothing and cedar bark regalia.” It’s used in the spa’s brand to highlight wellness, wisdom and being one with nature. Among the spa’s treatments is Hishuk Ish Tsawalk, which incorporates the traditional cleansing ceremonies of local West Coast Indigenous people, with elements of fire, water, earth and air. The First Nations phrase means, “Everything is one – all is interconnected.” The spa collaborated with local Indigenous women to incorporate the ceremony. As O’Rourke explains, “So much of our culture involves Indigenous traditions; we had to include this in our wellness offerings. It begins with a full-body exfoliation using a Vancouver Island seaweed body polish to invigorate the soul, followed by hot and cold water therapy to awaken the spirit. Internal reflection is encouraged with the S p a I nc .c a
spa light final step, when heated local basalt stones are used in a massage to encourage the body into a state of calm and deep relaxation.” Another treatment, Lomi Lomi, is traditionally used by Hawaiian shamans and healers as an initiation into wholeness of mind, body and spirit. The weaving of passive movement, stretching and rhythmic fullbody massage strokes enhances relaxation and allows for the release of tension. “The deeper meaning of Lomi Lomi is ‘to remove that which does not belong,’” O’Rourke says, “thus to awaken the senses to harmony.” Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the spa offers a full range of body therapies, thalassotherapy, signature treatments, skincare, esthetics and yoga. “We also offer wellness packages that have become quite popular,” adds O’Rourke. www.wickinn.com/spa-and-wellness/ancient-cedars-spa
Ancient Cedars Spa
Ayurveda is carefully woven into the guest experience for this chain of high-end spas at the Sutton Place Hotel and The Westin Bayshore Hotel in Vancouver, and the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, in B.C. The company president Allison Hegedus explains, “Based on the foundation of this 5,000-year-old Indian philosophy, our mission is to restore each customer’s energy and well-being to help them get the most from life.” The belief is that all individuals are a combination of three earth elements: air, water and fire, known as a dosha type. Hegedus explains, “Many challenges and stress can cause our dosha to fall out of balance. For example, an individual who is Vata (air) when in balance can be very creative, multi-task and a fast thinker/doer. When they fall out of balance, they become forgetful, they don’t sleep and they will lose weight very easily.” The goal of an Ayurvedic massage specific to this dosha will be to slow the Vata personality down. “Every movement is slow, base oils are rich and nourishing, essential oils are calming and grounding, to slow down the mind and body and bring their personality back into balance.” The treatments are accompanied by all-natural, locally made Vida Ayurvedic products so that guests can bring their experience home and continue balancing their doshas. (These products are also available on a wholesale basis.) Ayurvedic massage applies generous amounts of warm oil over the body, with extra attention to the head, neck and scalp; guests can also opt for abhyanga, which is when the massage is performed by two therapists. Shirodhara applies a steady stream of warm oil flowing over the crown of the head; as a pre-meditative technique to quiet the mind, all doshas benefit equally. Hegedus explains, “Clients that have headaches, head congestion, difficulty sleeping or insomnia will benefit from this treatment.” Another common Ayurvedic practice, swedana uses herbenhanced steam to release toxins from the body through the skin. At Vida Spas, guests are cocooned in a custom-built cedar steam cabinet. Afterwards, herbal powder brushing of the entire body stimulates and exfoliates the skin to prevent re-entry of toxins. The spa’s original founder, Colleen Fraser, was trained by one of the best Ayurvedic teachers in the world, Dr. Vasant Lad at the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Fraser continues to work as Vida’s education director, personally undertaking all Ayurvedic training for spa staff. vidaspas.com 12 S pa Inc. | Summ e r 2 019
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in the know
The ABCs of
HAMMAM B Y C E L I N E TA D R I S S I
Meaning both a public steam room and a deep cleansing treatment, hammam is the ultimate wellness ritual.
his exquisitely purifying ceremony has been around for centuries. The first hammams were found in Arabia, and it was the Turks who made them popular by allowing access for all. When the Ottomans took Constantinople (now Istanbul) from the Romans in 1450, they brought with them their own bathing traditions. The Turk Ottomans soon encountered the Roman bath habits and merged these with their own. Thus a whole new cleansing ritual was born, conforming to the requirements and rules of Islam. The Turks called it hammam, meaning â€œthe spreader of warmth.â€? Although we think of bathing as a private activity, the public bath, or hammam, was a vital social institution in any Middle Eastern city for centuries before the development of modern plumbing. Hammams played a central role in promoting hygiene and public health, but they also served as meeting places where people could relax and socialize. The Ottomans were inspired by their religion and followed their own cleanliness rules. They considered bathing to be a purification ritual completed before prayer. For this reason, many modern-day hammams can be
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in the know found next to a mosque. The oldest Turkish bath in Istanbul, Ağa Hamamı (built in 1454) is one of the many baths in Turkey frequented by locals and tourists today. Traditionally, a Turkish bath has three interconnecting rooms: a camekan, a sıcaklık and a soğukluk. Double Turkish baths have separate sections for men and women, whereas single baths accommodate women on certain days and hours. The first room (camekan) is an impressive entrance hall that serves as a reception and locker area, where you undress and receive a Turkish towel (peştemal) to cover your body, and a pair of wooden slippers to prevent slipping on the wet floor. Next, a masseur (tellack) escorts you to the main room (sıcaklık) where thick, wet steam begins to relax the muscles and detoxify the body. The earliest Turkish baths were heated by the hypocaust system used in Roman baths, which used a wood or coal furnace to heat water used in the bath and air that circulated under the floor and in the walls. The sıcaklık features a large marble slab, usually octagonal or rectangular in shape – called a göbek taşı, or belly stone – in the centre, and niches with fountains in the corners of the room. The most distinct feature of the sıcaklık is the dome-shaped roof decorated with circular or star-shaped windows, through which natural light illuminates the space with an otherworldly glow.
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While lying on the stone or seated in one of the niches, treatment begins with a muscle-kneading massage and then pours of warm water, followed by a vigorous scrub using a rough cloth glove, called a kese, all over the front and then back of the body to remove dead skin. After rinsing off the dead skin, mounds of bubbles are piled onto the body and black soap is massaged into the skin. Black soap is made with eucalyptus oil, olive oil and macerated olives that give the soap its characteristic dark greenblack colour. After the final cleanse and cool water rinse, the body feels revitalized, smooth and moisturized. The last room, the soğukluk, is a room for recovery, like a modern-day tea lounge, where you can relax and re-energize with a cup of warm tea and sweets like baklava and Turkish delight. The Turkish bath is one of the oldest cleansing traditions in the world, and in the 15 years since I opened the award-winning Hammam Spa, a modern interpretation of traditional Turkish baths in downtown Toronto, it has been our most popular treatment because it is a unique ritual. We’ve maintained authenticity of the treatment by using similar products and techniques, and we’ve brought it into the 21st century with luxurious facilities inspired by the ancient architecture of the Turkish bath. With nearly 900 guests coming through the spa doors weekly, I know how vital the experience of being pampered is to our sense of well-being, and that a Turkish bath promotes healthy skin, body and mind. The detoxification, exfoliation and relaxation steps of the Turkish bath can result in a healthier immune system, increased circulation, less stress and beautiful skin. If you have yet to experience a Turkish bath, I encourage you to give it a try. I promise you’ll feel refreshed, and your skin will never feel softer. Celine Tadrissi’s spa, Hammam Spa in Toronto, was the Top Day Spa winner in the 2018 Canadian Spa & Wellness Awards. She also recently launched the plant-based Céla Skin Care line (thisiscela.com), using botanicals grown in Canada, along with Abyssinian oil, aloe vera, cupuaçu butter and other all-natural ingredients.
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science of the spa
ayurveda? BY MANJIRI NADKARNI
“Ayurveda is all about finding things we can do, eat, say and think that will optimize our Prana, and integrating those things into our life.” —Dr. Robert Svoboda (“Prana” refers to energy, life or breath; it is the life-giving force, or universal energy)
ost people in the spa industry have heard of Ayurveda, though they aren’t really sure what the word means. Derived from the Sanskrit language, it is made up of two words: “Ayu = life” and “Veda = wisdom,” or “the wisdom of life.” Originating more than 5,000 years ago, it is the oldest known holistic medicine and bears its roots in the Indian subcontinent, where it is still popular. Many modern spas have adopted some Ayurvedic therapies, but as a health science, it offers much more than oil massage techniques. Ayurvedic medicine is different from modern medicine because it believes in finding and eliminating the root cause of disorders and focuses on using food as the first medicine to heal your body, by personalizing your diet lifestyle according to your needs and how your individual body works. Ayurveda focuses not just on physical health, but strives to inject harmony in all aspects of life whether physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual or social. A foundation of Ayurveda is the concept of five basic elements in nature – ether, air, fire, water and earth – which make everything in the universe. In the human body, these combine to form certain bioenergies known as the “doshas.” The word dosha literally means “the one that maligns,” and thus doshas are tendencies in the body that serve as the seeds of diseases if not balanced. The “Tridosha Theory” in Ayurveda defines three bio-energies, or doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha, each of which signifies the energy of the wind, sun and moon, respectively. Vata is dry, cold and constantly moving, and leads to wandering tendencies of the body as well as of the mind; Pitta is hot and sharp, which leads to fieriness of the body and mind; whereas Kapha is calm, cold and heavy, which can lead to sluggishness of the body and mind if left unchecked. Each person has all three doshas in their body constitution and has a dominance of either one or two, or a balance of all three doshas. This is known as Prakriti, which also translates as “innate nature,” and is popularly known as a “dosha type” or body constitution. Your body constitution determines the diet and lifestyle you should be
following to stay in balance. In today’s world of ever-changing diets and food trends, one must know their dosha type to avoid falling prey to dietary fads that can sometimes create more harm than good. For example, a person with a Vata-dominant body type should refrain from fasting unless it is done under supervision. Similarly, cayenne pepper in the Master Cleanse can create issues like hyperacidity, gastritis or ulcers in a Pitta-dominant individual. The Tridosha model of Ayurveda can be used to develop a greater understanding of what foods support your physical as well as mental/emotional needs. When it comes to mental characteristics, people are categorized into three types: Sattvic, those who have profound clarity of thought and actions and a good degree of self-knowledge; Rajasic, those whose minds are restless and constantly wandering, which can often lead to excess passion, anger, etc; and Tamasic, those whose minds are sluggish and dull, leading to false perceptions and depression. Ayurveda celebrates the importance of food by placing it as the first of the three pillars of health. To maintain health, all meals should contain six different tastes: sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent. Foods can impact each of the individual doshas depending on the similar or opposite qualities; for example, breakfast cereals are dry, rough grains which would aggravate Vata if eaten often, but the same grains cooked in water will prevent Vata aggravation. Following an Ayurvedic diet and lifestyle can prevent food allergies, improve your digestion to eliminate food sensitivities, increase energy, regulate sleep, balance your hormones and support overall health. The changes in seasons can also lead to natural fluctuations of doshas in your body. Spring allergies, which create symptoms like phlegm and sneezing, are a result of excess Kapha in the body; likewise, symptoms of arthritis-like joint pain in the fall season can be attributed to excess Vata in the environment, which leads to Vata aggravation in the body. S p a I nc .c a
science of the spa Ayurveda also provides various body therapies that can help maintain your health by preventing dosha aggravation and supporting healing. Due to their gentle, relaxing effects, these therapies are also popular as Ayurvedic spa therapies: Abhyanga: Ayurvedic oil massage is prescribed as a part of the daily routine, prior to bathing. Abhyanga provides a multitude of benefits by its dosha-pacifying action such as building strength, increasing circulation, improving stamina and promoting a calm and restful sleep. It also improves the lustre of skin and enhances complexion. Regular abhyanga promotes longevity by nourishing the entire body. During abhyanga, various medicinal oils that have been cooked with herbs are selected depending on the constitution type, the type of ailment or the desired action. The most basic oil used is warm sesame oil, which is Vata-balancing in action as well as strengthening as it penetrates deep into the body tissues. For Pitta, various oils containing sandalwood are used, whereas for Kapha oils, containing camphor can be used to aid circulation and warm the body. “Shiroabhyanga” is abhyanga done to the head region, with cooling herbs to aid sleep and make hair grow thick and luxurious. Regular application of shiroabhyanga can alleviate headache, prevent greying and help sharpen the senses. “Padabhyanga” is a popular Ayurvedic foot massage with medicated oils to relieve roughness, stiffness, dryness, fatigue and numbness of feet. This is also seen to support vision in addition to restful sleep. Udhvartana: This type of massage uses powdered herbs, clay, salt, sugar or herbal paste applied to the body. This aims at detoxifying, exfoliating as well as stimulating the body. Udhvartana is mainly used to balance Kapha dosha and can help strengthen as well as tone the body and prevent body odour. Udhvartana also helps the body to lose fat as well as cellulite by increasing the blood circulation, and it improves the glow of the skin. Katibasti: This is a popular treatment for conditions like lower back pain, sciatica and other disc-related conditions. For this procedure, a wall is created with the help of black gram flour around the lower back and filled with medicated Ayurvedic oils. This helps reduce pain and inflammation and helps rejuvenate the discs. Pinda Sweda: This unique Ayurvedic therapy involves the use of “rice puddings” or medicinal rice cooked with herbs and bundled into soft cotton to create warm boluses that are then used for massaging the body. This involves both massage as well as fomentation and is recommended for muscle stiffness, muscle weakness and achy joints. It helps promote the elimination of toxins while enhancing circulation and blood flow to the musculature and joints, so it is used to treat arthritis, spondylitis, muscular pains, back pains as well as sports injuries. Shirodhara: “Shiro” means head and “dhara” means pouring. This is a relaxing, gentle procedure where warm liquid like medicated oils, milk, buttermilk or even water is poured on the forehead in a constant gentle stream over the region of the third eye. This therapy has a profoundly calming effect on the brain while stimulating the nervous system to invigorate both the mind and body. One of the most popular treatments in Ayurveda today, shirodhara serves as a great stress management therapy that can be used to combat insomnia, anxiety, as well as stress-related physical issues like high blood pressure and psoriasis. Shirodhara promotes mental clarity, enhances memory and increases spiritual awareness, in addition to promoting youthfulness by reducing worry lines. Nasya: In Ayurveda the nostrils are considered as the doors to your brain, so this is a popular therapy employed to support and strengthen everything above your clavicles. Both a healing and cleansing procedure, nasya employs a massage to the forehead with fomentation, followed by application of herbal oil drops in the nasal passages. This therapy enhances mental clarity and memory, strengthens nasal passages, sharpens all senses and combats insomnia as well as migraines. Due to its benefits it is included in the five main detox procedures known as Panchakarma. Ayurveda can help you gain an in-depth insight into your body and mind by revealing your unique blueprint, and by providing a holistic plan to maintain balance and health. While many spas may only offer one or two of these treatments, there is much more to explore for those who are curious. 20 S pa Inc. | Summ e r 2 019
Manjiri Nadkarni is an Ayurveda MD (trained in India), Registered Holistic Nutritionist and President of the Ayurveda Association of Canada, which she co-founded in 2017.
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Software THE ‘HIGH TECH’ TO YOUR ‘HIGH TOUCH’
onvenience once meant offering spa-goers a few additional weekend hours, but the next generation of clients expects much more. They want services at their fingertips anytime, anywhere, and are fuelling an on-demand economy. This has led to an explosion of spa software with features aimed at enhancing customer convenience, and a host of options for spa owners to choose from. With growing consumer interest in online conveniences, it’s a good bet that those spas not jumping on the digital bandwagon stand to lose clients. “Modern software solutions for spas provide so much more to business owners than just a fancy digital appointment book,” says Tirena Dingeldein, lead analyst at Capterra, an online peer review site that’s been helping businesses find software solutions for 20 years. Dingeldein suggests that beyond the basics, like client self-booking, simple reporting and marketing functions, some of the more popular spa software features include management of staff, inventory and membership programs. Dingeldein has seen a growing trend among clients who want to digitally interact with spas, a trend that reflects what Amazon already knows: that
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consumers – especially millennials and GenZs – do most of their shopping through the internet. “Beyond booking an appointment online, they want to order products, get follow-up care advice and check their loyalty program status from their phone or computer,” she explains. “Some spa software providers have noticed the change as well and have started providing spa owners with solutions that bring a comprehensive digital experience to their clients.” One provider that has consistently stayed ahead of this curve is Book4Time (book4time.com), which has been in the spa and resort software business since 2004. Book4Time is used by many of the world’s leading upscale and luxury hotel and resort spas, as well as multi-location day spas, including Bliss, Cowshed, Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, Four Seasons, Accor, Canyon Ranch and Equinox. Sean Anderson, VP of global sales, explains, “These leading brands trust Book4Time because of our experience and advanced capabilities including such features as group booking, yield management, turnaway tracking and wait list management, the widest breadth of integrations with hotel and payment systems in the industry, system reliability and uptime, and world-class 24/7 live phone and
B Y JA N A M A N O L A KO S
According to the 2016 ISPA U.S. Spa Industry Study, the number of spas with online booking jumped from 55 percent in 2015 to 68 percent in 2016.
spa business email customer support.” For Amanda O’Shea, spa director at the St. Regis Hotel in Toronto, it’s the go-to resource. She’s worked with a variety of spa software in the past, but finds Book4Time to be the most intuitive. “As a result of this, we are able to spend more time getting to know our guests,” O’Shea says, “to create a warm and welcoming environment that is personalized versus transactional.” She finds the software’s userfriendly interface particularly appealing, adding, “It requires minimal ‘clicks’ in order to schedule a booking, add notes, check out and modify or book a treatment online, which in turn saves our guests time. From a reporting perspective, we can easily see our most and least popular treatments, compare month-overmonth and year-over-year sales and staff utilization, turnaway logs and waitlists.” O’Shea says the software allows her staff to learn guest preferences and assists them in “turning the sail in the right direction.” But not all spas fit the St. Regis model. A variety of platforms and price points are geared to smaller, standalone or growing spas. Among these, Shedul bears some mention as it offers a full set of functions for free, with no trial period and no limits according to Capterra, which has crowned it as “the best salon and spa booking software available.” Shedul says it is fully mobile optimized as a Web app, and this July launched a new app, “the Official Native App.” Capterra’s Dingeldein cautions that internet access can be a double-edged sword when it comes to protecting privacy, adding, “Some spa software solution providers are trailblazing and making advances in how businesses can protect their clients. Software that offers these options allows spas to attract clients who value data privacy. For instance, customers are more relaxed if they know their information is secure, and now there is software for spas that is both HIPAA compliant and has increased data security.” So where does the future lie? Dingeldein explains, “I think it’s a good bet that blockchain and spa inventory management will sync up in the near future.” Blockchain is a shared ledger for recording the history of transactions; you might say it’s like a conga line of friends who only invite their trusted partners to join the line. She adds, “Clients want to know that the products that spas are using are sustainable and responsibly sourced. What better way to prove that to your clients than by using blockchain to verify your supply chain?”
KICKING THE SOFTWARE TIRES While we are not the experts, our curiosity drove us to kick the tires of some spa software, using free demos offered on their websites. Here are a few we thought were worth mentioning: Salonist by Shrivra, a five-star software package housed in your smart device, manages all aspects of your spa business with a user-friendly POS system that automates tasks including appointment booking, scheduling and staff management. Straightforward pricing gives you an option between basic and premium on a monthly or yearly schedule. shrivra.com Vagaro, a cloud-based platform, offers an integrated solution to manage bookkeeping, payroll, client databases and inventory management, as well as featuring email and text notifications to clients and automated email marketing. Users can list available appointment slots, and customers can then look for salon facilities nearby and book appointments through Vagaro’s website or the VagaroPro app. vagaro.com Orchid Medical Spa Software stood out with its focus on the needs of medi-spas and commitment to client confidentiality. It tracks clients, books in new ones and checks for staff availability, in an easy-to-scan, colour-coded system. From client purchase histories to performance reports, commissions and photo/document storage, this software has a lot to offer. medicalspasoftware.com Milano Software offers a number of innovative software solutions designed for growth and success. Whether it's generating easy-touse reports, creating eye-catching promotional emails or collecting client loyalty points, Milano has all the features a salon or spa owner needs. milanosoftware.com Rosy Salon Software by Floydware is a cloud-based salon and spa management solution designed for small and midsize businesses, with a comprehensive list of functions to support both your front desk and back office. rosysalonsoftware.com Salon/Spaware is scalable with functions that range in suitability for both the single-operator salon to a fully networked multistation business. It offers easy touchscreen design, power and flexibility, with a one-step QuickBooks link, credit card module, automated marketing and technical support. salonsoftware.com MINDBODY, a top global provider of spa software, is designed to help manage spa operations across all functions. It offers appointment scheduling, an advanced suite of marketing features, a secure payment process, plus the ability to track success measures, manage staff schedules and prevent no-shows with automated appointment reminders. mindbodyonline.com S pa I nc .c a
SIMPLE TIPS TO
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B Y C H R I S T I N E FAU L H A B E R
started Faulhaber Communications on my laptop in my kitchen 19 years ago. My business grew mostly from referrals and industry connections, but decisions made in those early days played a pivotal role in getting Faulhaber to where it is today; in 2017, our company was included on the Profit 500 list of Canada’s FastestGrowing Companies. From experience, I appreciate the inherent difficulties in establishing and growing a small business. The most significant piece of advice I can give? Stay true to your customer base. Stay in touch with your customers – their faces, their hands, their nails. You know their wants and needs, up close and personal. You’re the expert in your craft, but turning your passion into profit requires promotion. Twenty-five years of working in public relations has led to the following 15 tips and tricks for successfully getting the word out there. 1. Determine what you actually need. What is going to move the needle? Do you really need printed business cards? What about an automated email system instead? Or maybe, those beautiful business cards will effectively set you apart from the competition. 2. Start with grassroots marketing. Have you told everybody in your personal and professional network what you’re doing? Have you posted it on your Facebook? Does your mom even know? She might have 20 friends who will help spread the word! 3. Get to know your local business partners. Literally, knock on the door and show up with a coffee or a sample of your product, and shake the hands of all the business owners in the neighbourhood. They’re all in the same boat as you, so have you reached out to your local market and introduced yourself ? It’s that easy, and it’s free! 4. Use social media. If you’re not on Instagram already, and you’re selling something attractive, you’re doing something wrong. Look at what your competitors are doing, and figure out which social platforms are best for you. Are you a business owner? Do you have something to say? Perhaps you should be a thought leader on LinkedIn. This is a great way to add professional credit to your brand. Be an expert in your industry and post thought-provoking content. Do you have a beautiful spa or retail space? Take pictures. You don’t have to invest a lot: iPhone X photos are great! If you do want to kick it up a notch, invest in a professional photoshoot. A day’s work can provide you with a month of quality content. »
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If you’re not on Instagram already, and you’re selling something attractive, you’re doing something wrong. Look at what your competitors are doing, and figure out which social platforms are best for you.
5. Spend time engaging. Once you gain followers, it’s all about engagement – and this takes time. Someone has to do it, and in the early days, it’s often the business owner. Carve out an hour a day to do engagement and talk to people. These days, this is just as important as it is to service your customers. 6. Know your limits. Don’t try to be everywhere. If you don’t have the resources to keep up a Pinterest, a LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter – then don’t try to do them all. Expand when you can. 7. Communicate the same message in-person and online. Your website and social media channels are an online extension of your brand – whatever you are saying to your customers in person is the same thing you need to articulate online. 8. Be polished. How do you present yourself ? Is there a spelling mistake on your website? What happens when people Google search you? Have you made sure that your website is easily accessible on all platforms? Polish is one of our key values at Faulhaber Communications. Aim to outshine your competition. 9. Don’t be afraid to go “old school.” Depending on your location and your advertising budget, there are some original advertising methods and platforms that might work for you. Is there a local media publication that you know your customers are reading, or a billboard or a bus shelter that your clients pass regularly? 10. Don’t buy into expensive schemes. Your marketing and ad expenses should commeasure with your sales. If you don’t have any sales, what are you doing spending money on promotion? First, use your elbow grease and pound the pavement. 11. Don’t underestimate your clients. Referrals from satisfied customers are incredibly important, especially when getting your feet off the ground. To date, our business is almost all from referrals (I always knock on wood – because you are only as good as your last client). 12. Look internally for all the successes that you have. What makes you great? What do the customers tell you they love? Do more of those things. And then take those things and figure out a way to communicate them to more people. 13. Look for big wins. Choosing where to put your effort and resources is important. No entrepreneur can attend every support group, conference or networking event. Choose wisely. The world has so many touch-points today that nobody in an entrepreneurial capacity should do one thing just for the purpose of one thing. When you are at a conference, make sure that you’re using it as an educational tool for your team, posting about it on social media, fact-finding about the industry and finding new clients or collaborators. Make that one hit equal 10 wins. 14. Consider influencers. When you are ready to scale up your efforts, look into influencers. Originally, influencers were authentic collaborators: They chose to promote your business because they loved it, so it was a win-win for everybody. Times have changed: Now there are multiple levels of influencers (nano, micro, mid-tier, macro and mega), and each serves a different purpose and caters to a different budget. Do not just give stuff away. You want to be looking for a return, and don’t be afraid to ask for it. 15. Lastly, trust your gut.
Founder, president and CEO of Faulhaber Communications, Christine Faulhaber is an award-winning communicator with over 25 years of industry experience. An entrepreneur at heart, this mother of two believes in work-life integration and is always identifying new trends and opportunities for Faulhaber clients, which include the Interior Design Show Toronto, EOS lip balms, Rocky Mountain Soap, Swatch, Kohler and many more. “When I travel, I always like to treat myself to a spa day. Whenever I am in Vancouver, I visit the Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Pacific Rim. I also had an amazing experience at the Park Hyatt in Vienna, Austria, where the Arany Spa is located in a former bank fault. But if I had to choose one experience to top the rest, it would be the time I was in Istanbul and went to an authentic hammam spa. My experience at Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamam was incredibly spiritual, and their services and rituals surpassed all expectations.”
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spa star head of design, Nic Spitler, a master at a 3D modeling program called Rhino, a simpler version of AutoCAD used by industrial designers and architects. He’ll integrate burners and control panels and such. It’s not magic – it’s actually a gas appliance. You recently installed your work in the Shou Sugi Ban House in New York State? It’s a beautiful new spa in the Hamptons, a women-led business that is super zen and really simple, pure and pretty. They wanted to bring the elements, a balance of earth, air, fire and water, into the spa experience. So, fire was definitely in their plans from the beginning. They went with a very simple stainless steel fire bowl with a branch insert and really pretty circular bench seating around it. There seems to be a trend for spas to bring in fire.
ELENA COLOMBO BY JANA MANOLAKOS
ays after the September 11 attacks, Elena Colombo sat quietly by the windswept dunes outside her small beachfront cottage in the picturesque village of Greenport, contemplating how the world had changed; the New York advertising agency where she worked had shut down operations after its studios were destroyed by the attack. To keep warm on the beach, Colombo built a bonfire that turned out to be a prototype that sparked the birth of Fire Features (firefeatures.com), a full-service design atelier featuring her breathtaking custom fire bowls, water creations, memorials, markers and environmental sculptures. Today, her awardwinning creations are commissioned by high-end spas and resorts, homeowners and businesses in the United States and Canada. Fire Features, a division of Colombo Construction Corp., is based in Manhattan with fabrication facilities in Northeastern Pennsylvania and the Hamptons. What is it about fire that attracts us? Everybody loves fire. Not only is it warm and cozy, but you cook on it, it warms your house and when people are around it, they interact with each other, rather than looking at a screen. They are able to just be themselves. You sculpt using bronze, steel, stone, concrete and bone to create forms that are at once ancient and modern. How would you describe the creative process when designing these pieces? The original design for any of my projects comes from nature; she’s the real sculptor. It may be inspired by a simple form or a bird’s nest or just the ripple on a smooth pond. I feel that my pieces should not compete with nature. In a way, they are almost like jewelry for your landscape. I’ll do a little drawing and work with my 30 S pa Inc. | Sum m e r 2 019
What is the significance of bowls? I chose bowls because they are such a simple shape; I imagine bowls were one of the first vessels ever made. It’s an ancient and beautiful vessel and is weighted with symbolic meaning. The bowl represents the feminine nature to nourish and implies the masculine urge to fill. I want these bowls to appear as organic as possible, as if they had mushroomed from the ground. By adorning our exterior environment, we are collaborating with nature in a timeless and ritualistic manner. Can you share a few of your favourite spa experiences? My favourite spa is Solage, an Auberge resort and spa in Calistoga, California, which is really famous for its hot spring and mud baths. I just love the Napa Valley, one of the most blessed spots on Earth. There’s nothing like having a glass of wine and going from the plunge pool to a skin treatment and then over to the restaurant, where the food is just mind-blowing. When I first started my company, I went to Napa Valley first because I couldn’t think of a better place for a fire bowl than at a vineyard. When I got out there in 2002 with a bowl in the back of my pickup, I went around to all the vineyards pitching them. I sold seven in two weeks. What do you think are the attributes of a beautiful person? The first thing that comes to mind is just an inner calm and peace with themselves. I don’t think that’s easy to find with most people. Spas try to give that balance, and if you are able to manage stress, it benefits your whole mind and body. Something about fire that was always attractive to me was the way it’s a cleansing experience unto itself. That’s part of the ritual that we love about fire. I like to encourage people to make their own rituals around fire.
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