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Industry INDUSTRY insights INSIGHTS

Bringing nature and the great outdoors into the spa environment – whether that be via design, spa service, or programming – is paramount today

traced back to the 1990s, while the consumers’ quest for green and clean personal-care products dates back at least to the 1970s. I credit spa pioneers like Sylvia Sepielli, as one of the first to truly bring the outside in through her design elements and spa menus which focused on indigenous treatments at properties like Mauna Lani Spa in Hawaii, Mii amo in Arizona, and Spa Village Pangkor Laut in Malaysia.

Healing powers Around 2008, the International Spa Association (ISPA) predicted virtual reality technology would find its way into the spa, and yes, guests at certain spas do don virtual reality glasses which transport them from the treatment room to some

fabulous beach or lush natural location of their choosing. Fast forward to 2015 or so, when the spa industry became enthralled by Louie Schwartzberg’s striking supernatural nature photos, often wisely placed in windowless spa rooms for visual healing. (Although hospital data suggests no photograph has the healing power of a real window onto nature.) Also in 2015, the Global Wellness Institute (GWI) first identified forest bathing as a trend and it’s still going strong. At first, I thought it odd, even a little sad, that we needed a term like forest bathing to get us to take a walk in the woods. But the term, and practice, actually does help people immerse themselves in nature, and those immersions, like nature herself, are becoming more extreme. spa business HANDBOOK 2021 – 2022