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Thought Leadership Mental Health & Wellbeing report

The mental benefits of touch The authors of a new UK industry report reveal how spa services can improve the wellbeing of individuals and benefit mental health, productivity and life expectancy

What were the most surprising findings from your report? Firstly, the fact that massage and touch therapies were considered to be mainstream medical interventions right up until the Second World War. It has only been in the last 70 years that the use of drugs has taken over for most medical interventions. Touch therapy has been relegated to the ‘alternative therapy’ category with the associated view they are not scientifically or evidence-based. 24

Photo courtesy of Made for Life Organics


lthough mental illness has represented a growing health crisis for some time in the UK, the recent Covid-19 pandemic has seen mental health problems become the single largest cause of disability. However, a new report from The British Beauty Council, UK Spa Association, BABTAC and NHBF has comprehensively detailed the many positive effects that personal care services – such as spa therapies – can have on mental health, productivity and life expectancy. The Effects of Personal Care Services on Mental Health and Wellbeing report also reveals that there is a huge opportunity now to support the National Health Service (NHS) and relieve the pressures linked to mental ill-health by incorporating personal care services, as part of a toolkit for social prescription and solutions within existing public health medical services. We spoke to the report’s creators, Dr Neil Carpenter of NMC2 (main interview), Yvonne Ebdon, general manager of the UK Spa Association and Helena Grzesk, COO of The British Beauty Council, to find out more.

Above and opposite: Trials have shown that a course of massage therapy can provide similar benefits in magnitude to that of psychotherapy

“The industry has to provide evidence to the benefits that NICE can support.” Dr Neil Carpenter Co-author

The second most interesting finding was the amount of scientific evidence there is showing the benefits of touch therapy in mental illness and cancer care. That is not to mention the cost-effective nature of these interventions and the amazing payback they can deliver. It is clear from the report that using touch therapy could have a massive benefit to the nation’s mental health; significantly reduce the £105bn (€123bn) costs associated with mental health; and increase our productivity through, in part, reducing the 17.6 million days lost each year in sick leave.

Profile for European Spa magazine

European Spa magazine - Summer Issue 80  

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