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SpaFinder Seeks Out the Decade's Top Trends

Posted: January 7, 2010

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2. Medicine and Spa. In the early 90s, there was very little overlap between medicine and spas. That has changed dramatically in the last 10 years. More doctors have discovered that spa approaches contribute to health and wellness, specifically by targeting stress. The forces driving this integration are diverse, but, basically, the spa and medical worlds began talking. Then, when Botox arrived in 2002, a new type of aesthetic/medical spa was born and the spa and medicine connection was solidified. Spas also got their act together, becoming more transparently health- oriented, and downplaying the ‘woo woo’ factor.

3. Organic. This was the headline story in spa products for the decade. The popularity of all things green helped several obscure organic lines make it big, and nearly all spa product companies launched their own branded organic lines. The organic product trend also helped open the door for a more far-reaching eco-friendly, environmentally conscious zeitgeist throughout the spa arena—from spa building and design to cuisine. And while it's not yet garnering universal praise, at least it’s gotten things going in the right direction.

4. Men. While the decade saw a range of new demographics rush into the spa arena—from teens to pre-teens to babies and seniors—it was the steady stream of men making spa-going a regular part of their lives that’s had the most profound impact. While it took some doing to get men to try a spa for the first time, this ‘first time,’ typically, resulted in a second and third and so on. Men discovered there was more to this ‘spa thing’ than just idle pampering: it was, in fact, the quickest way for them to reduce stress, and it helped improve their sports performance. As spas with a traditionally female pampering and beauty emphasis were joined by those emphasizing male grooming, and the industry began to focus more on health and wellness, millions of men began to comfortably, eagerly hit the spa.

5. Wellness. The word ‘wellness’ was hardly used in the 90s, not really appearing on the scene until after the millennium. A term that has its origins in Europe (combining the concepts of ‘fitness’ and ‘well-being’), it gained momentum there as a positive alternative terminology. Because in Europe the word ‘spa’ had narrower connotations: either water treatments for sick older people, or, with the emergence of some newer spas like the swanky Brenner’s Park Hotel and Spa in Baden Baden, an association with expense and luxury. Because the word wellness was such an apt word to describe places that offered fitness, massage, alternative medicine and healthy nutrition—increasingly the core mission of spas—the terms, understandably, have become tightly interwoven.

6. Spa Comes Home. The influence of spas on the home has its humble beginnings at the start of the decade, with spa-inspired consumers, say, purchasing a candle to use in the bath, or maybe a loofah sponge. In the years since, it’s blossomed into a booming industry of spa products, design, furniture, home amenities, and even clothing and cuisine. The trend reached its most bold expression with the birth of ‘spa living real estate,’ where consumers could actually live at the spa, purchasing residences with spectacular spa/wellness offerings in new luxury high-rises or special communities. SpaFinder has not only seen spa-ing burst the confines of its traditional walls, but a new term, ‘spa lifestyle,’ has emerged to describe a whole healthier way of living, thinking and being.