ISPA Accepting Applications for Two Research Grants

The International SPA Association Foundation is excited to announce that for the third year, applications for both the Ruth Stricker Spa and Wellness Award and the Dr. Howard Murad Research Grant are available, and will be accepted through June 1, 2010. Both of these opportunities help further the ISPA Foundation’s research initiatives, as well as provide opportunities for researchers in the wellness community.

“The ISPA Foundation is thrilled to once again offer these opportunities that help give back to the spa industry through research,” said ISPA Foundation president Jeff Kohl. “The more insight we have on how the spa can impact your health and well-being, the more it allows us to educate the public.”

The Ruth Stricker Spa and Wellness Award offers aid for research into ways spa can meet current health care needs, promote wellness and enhance quality of life. The $2,500 award will support a project that demonstrates a unique or unrecognized benefit of spa in promoting wellness. Although all proposals will be considered, those focusing on the areas of aging, techno stress, chronic illness, lost/loneliness will be given extra consideration. The 2009 award recipient, Cynthia Karlson, MA, CMT, a graduate student at the University of Kansas pursuing a doctorate of philosophy degree in clinical health psychology, is researching how the use of massage and guided imagery can reduce musculoskeletal pain.

“The statistics are daunting--rising stress, aging populations, more people living with chronic illness, yet spa professionals recognize intuitively the value that spa can bring to each of these problems. The challenge has been to transform the message of spa from one of pampering to one of health. That is why I am particularly proud to be announcing the third year of the Ruth Stricker Spa and Wellness Award. This award has already helped bring about that needed transformation by harnessing the power of science to validate the power of spa. I expect this year’s winner to continue to build on that foundation and help create the culture that recognizes spa as a critical component of a truly balanced approach to promoting health, especially in the challenging times in which we find ourselves,” said Ruth Stricker founder of The Marsh, a Center for Balance and Fitness in Minneapolis.

The Dr. Howard Murad Research Grant offers assistance to researchers studying the effects of cultural stress and ways to manage it. The $1,500 grant can be used to research technology overload, overworking and lack of purposeful work, inadequate nutrition, isolation from friends and stress occurring in people of all ages. Previous grant recipient, Dr. Michelle Calvarese, associate professor at California State University, Fresno, is conducting research on the effects of work-related stress.

“Chronic cultural stress is now a permanent feature in modern life,” said Howard Murad, MD, FAAD, associate clinical professor of medicine at UCLA and founder of Murad Inc. “It exacerbates disease, inhibits healing, and robs us of mental and physical health. To that end, it is up to the society that continues to feed the cultural stress cycle to create ways to minimize its impact. That is the goal of the scholarship that the Murad grant supports."

Interested candidates may review terms and conditions for the award and grant and apply online.

More in Physiology