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The India Spa Market: Flourishing in the East
By: Kristen Wegrzyn
Posted: October 31, 2013, from the November 2013 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
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Take Eat, Pray, Love (Penguin Group, 2006) by Elizabeth Gilbert, which was recently turned into a film starring Julia Roberts, for example. The book tells the story of a woman who, following a divorce, embarks upon a journey to find herself, including taking a trip to India to take part in a spiritual retreat. She stays at an ashram where she learns to practice meditation, yoga and prayer, while gaining the insight of a famous guru.
Although India’s history of cultural wellness has helped the spa and skin care industry thrive, there is a shortage of skilled professionals, explains Arethna. She adds that there is also a lack of quality accreditations for those interested in the entering the spa and skin care industry in India.
In an interview with India Hospitality Review, the president of the Spa Association of India, Rajesh Sharma, states his priority is gaining government support. “Legitimate businesses and trained personnel is the need of the hour—we are really short on skilled workers. Getting academies regulated and holding proper training sessions for the students and for the professionals as well, who have been in the trade for many years … they want to grow. Awareness is very important; awareness toward employees and awareness towards the consumer.”5
Harding-Bond explains that lack of knowledge about treating skin of color is a weakness around the globe—India included. “Even though a lot of estheticians in India have brown skin, the foundation of their learning was not based upon their own skin.” While training skin care professionals in India, Harding-Bond also noticed that culturally, they are more reserved. “That can be a limitation when it comes to engagement and selling,” she says. “There’s not as much of an exchange as when you’re talking to estheticians in the West.”
Arethna adds that cross-gender treatments, such as massage, are in demand by clients, but not permitted at many locations and regions due to cultural customs.
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