Destination for Relaxation: Spa Industry is Booming in Asia
By Stephanie Guler - Senior Content & Social Media Developer | August 24th, 2011
Spas were once known as a luxurious place reserved only for the rich and famous.
In 2011 however, the global spa industry is flourishing (it’s valued at $255 billion annually, according to CNN Money), as more people become concerned about maintaining good health and a youthful appearance.
Today’s spas still provide traditional facials, manicures and massages, but now many are taking a more medical approach; offering an extended list of age-defying, non-surgical cosmetic treatments as an added bonus.
The beauty and relaxation business is booming in many parts of the world, but growth is especially apparent in Asia; China, India and Thailand currently hold the title as spa industry leaders.
“The word spa has become a global term. It has captured people’s imaginations and is a term they can relate to in a very positive way,” said Susie Ellis, president of SpaFinder Inc, to Reuters Health.
Ellis also mentioned that Indonesia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Egypt and even Russia are jumping on the spa bandwagon, and seeing remarkable business growth and opportunity as a result.
It’s understandable why spas around the world are becoming so successful.
In our fast paced society, stress is at a maximum, which leaves many people overtired, and just plain burnt out. People need a place to unwind, almost a sanctuary of sorts, and many find peace at their local spa.
The interesting thing about the development of the international spa industry is the clientele is a bit unexpected.
“Twenty five years ago, hardly any man would go to a spa. Now in some spas, half of their clientele are men. We’ve got the men, the younger generation, and the baby boomers that are fueling it,” said Ellis.
She explained that as one would expect, day spa clients are generally women, but the number of male clients is steadily increasing.
“Overall, our industry is about a 70-30 split,” Ellis said to Reuters Health.
Between the Eastern and Western worlds, spa clientele are offered similar treatments, but with a completely different feeling.
In the United States, the day spa experience is all about efficient relaxation. Clients often visit on their lunch breaks looking for a quick workout, massage, chiropractic adjustment, or Botox injections; just enough for a pick-me-up in the middle of a hectic schedule.
“It’s huge,” said Ellis. “The whole idea of fast beauty, fast fitness, shorter workouts—the whole thing is trending.”
On the other side of the world though, things move at a much slower pace.
In a way, Asian luxury hotels have gone back in time, building wellness retreats that focus on high-end traditional Asian healing techniques, which were commonly performed in small villages before the spa industry boom.
Gerard Bodeker, a professor at Oxford University Medical School and author of the book, Understanding the Global Spa Industry, told CNN Money, “There’s a huge awareness in global value and interest in Asian therapies, so Asian countries are now actively discovering and promoting their own health and heritage. There’s an across-the-board revival of interest in Asia in indigenous health traditions.”
Longstanding treatments like Japanese shiatsu massage, Chinese tui-na, and Indian Ayurvedic therapy are offered with the very highest standards, often alongside more modern, cosmetic-focused procedures. Modern high-tech skin care treatments like microdermabrasion, dermal fillers, chemical peels, and even some plastic surgery procedures are popular; and these are usually offered as “medical spa treatments”.
Instead of popping in during a lunch break, Asia’s spa clientele often goes for an all-out spa retreat. This means one to two weeks of serious detoxification, renewal, relaxation and rejuvenation; doesn’t it sound great?
Apparently, many tourists and locals can agree.
While generally half of Asia’s spa clientele are tourists (hailing from Europe, Australia and North America), there’s a growing number of Asians who also take full advantage of the services offered right in their home countries.
Paul Linder, the general manager of luxury Thai spa, Chiva-Som, told CNN Money, “People are being more careful in how they spend their money, but more people are coming to spend it on their bodies than on luxury products.”
This rapidly growing business is clear evidence that people care about their health, beauty and wellness; things that are guaranteed to outlast almost anything else that money can buy.
This article was written by the medical research team at WhereismyDoctor.com
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