GET SPA BUSINESS
magazine
Yes! Send me the FREE digital editions of Spa Business and Spa Business insider magazines and the FREE weekly Spa Business and Spa Business insider ezines and breaking news alerts!
Not right now, thanksclose this window
News   Features   Video    Products   Magazine   Handbook   Email sign up   Advertise  
Research
Mind over matter

A new white paper reveals the scientific evidence behind numerous modalities and their impact on mental health. Editor Gerry Bodeker explains how spas can tap into this wealth of information

By Gerry Bodeker | Published in Spa Business 2019 issue 1


In October a 122-page white paper on mental wellness was unveiled to hundreds of spa and wellness professionals at the Global Wellness Summit in Italy (see SB18/4 p78). It was created in response to an upsurge of interest in mental wellness from both industry members and the general public. As Dr Ranieri Guerra from the World Health Organization notes in its introduction: “Mental, neurological and substance use disorders affect one in four people over their lifetime and one in 10 at any given time, and thus affect billions of lives globally.”

The aim of Mental Wellness: Pathways, Evidence and Horizons is to identify the many complementary interventions which are scientifically proven to help enhance people’s mental wellbeing and happiness. There was a lot of existing research and it’s taken the Mental Wellness Initiative – a Global Wellness Institute action group – a year and a half to pull everything together. But finally there’s a body of evidence on a wide range of modalities – from massage, aroma, sound and light therapy to movement and exercise, mindfulness and nutrition, and the benefits that these offer for mental wellbeing.

Many of the therapies are already available in spas and the white paper now showcases evidence to support future innovation. Facilities have an opportunity to act as a safe entry point into these wellness modalities which support mental wellbeing and happiness that may be unknown, and perhaps untrusted, outside of the spa setting.

Proven modalities
Massage is one of the common spa services highlighted in the white paper for its proven effectiveness on anything from pain and cancer to headaches and infant care. Information was taken from the US National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health and a 2010 meta-analysis of 17 clinical trials concluded that massage therapy may also help to reduce depression.

The US National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy references a range of studies showing, among other effects, the stress-reducing properties of sage oil, immune-modifying effect of eucalyptus oil, the role of peppermint oil in counteracting neuralgia, and the combination of peppermint and caraway oil in enhancing the quality of life of people suffering from dyspepsia.

Elsewhere, the Journal of the American Medical Association reports that since 1970, there have been have been 19,000 studies published conducted on various aspects of meditation and its benefits.

We also identified many beneficial mental wellness pathways that are not typically found in spas, but which have potential for innovation and rejuvenation of the spa experience. These include laughter yoga – Google it! – art therapy, journaling and the influence of nature.

As it turns out, social laughter, seems to release endorphins associated with feelings of wellbeing and heightened mood. Oxford University researchers in the UK conducted a series of experiments and found that pain thresholds – an indicator for endorphin release – were significantly higher after laughter. They suggest that “laughter, through an endorphin-mediated opiate effect, may play a crucial role in social bonding”.

Group support and social connectedness are also foundational in maintaining a state of mental wellness.

For spas in areas of rich cultural heritage, there’s the opportunity to partner with local experts to build new, culturally important offerings. All cultures have clear dietary, exercise and other health practices encoded in their ways of living. Uncovering these traditional wellness practices can transform our understanding of the way human physiology works and the energetic basis of wellbeing.

Researching the spa experience
In the second section of the white paper, we drill down into the spa experience itself and find there’s an emerging body of science backing up claims that it benefits mental wellness.

In 2016, doctors Elissa Epel, Deepak Chopra and colleagues found highly significant changes resulting from a ayurvedic detox/rejuvenation programme known as panchakarma. These include a reduction in many metabolites which are risk factors for metabolic disorders such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease. It also found that a break of just six days sets off genetic changes which can boost the immune system, decrease symptoms of depression and dementia and reduce stress (see SB16/4 p91).

In Australia, RMIT professor Marc Cohen and his team’s study on 4,265 mostly female respondents using thermal bathing spas found that “relaxation”, “peace and tranquility”, “indulgence” and “escape” were the most important motivators for bathing. Most respondents reported general health benefits (98 per cent) and better sleep (82 per cent) from bathing. Significant benefits were reported for back pain, arthritis, stress/anxiety, depression and insomnia (see SB17/2 p56).

The Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease project in Finland examined 2,315 men aged 42-60 over a five-year period. It found that increased frequency of sauna bathing – four to seven times a week for 30 minutes at a time – is associated with a reduced risk of heart-related disease, death and all-cause mortality. Sauna sessions have also been linked to lower risks of dementia (see SB17/1 p108).

In other research, a French study found that levels of anxiety and depression in 250 women who had breast cancer treatment were reduced by a two-week, multi-modality spa programme. Stronger and longer lasting effects were especially noted in reductions in depression.

What does this mean to spas?
So. How can spas harness this new flood of knowledge? I’ve often argued that spas have the potential to be the organisational face of wellness. Some destination spas, like Lapinha in Brazil, Brenners Park, in Germany and Kamalaya in Thailand, already are. They offer a wider range of wellness modalities under one roof that can’t be found in any other setting. Others focus more on massage and bodywork – but there’s much more than this available to enliven the spa world and its offering to clients, and the white paper highlights the many different evidence-based pathways which can be used.

Nowadays there are so many centres for yoga, meditation, tai chi, etc, that it’s not necessary for spas to employ therapists directly. Bringing visiting practitioners in and building a marketing plan around them can breathe new life into the spa business.  

The wealth of information, available freely at globalwellnessinstitute.org, can be drawn on to support the science behind spa modalities. This can be shared with customers, published in magazine and online articles as well as in marketing materials, and shared via educational sessions.

There are opportunities to target new markets, such as parents-to-be. A section on The First 1,000 Days of Life offers evidence on how wellness approaches that future parents engage with are predictors of the mental and physical wellbeing of their children in adulthood.

Or partnerships could be formed with existing community groups and local enterprises, such as those focused on older adults. Dance, tai chi, meditation and yoga all are supported by scientific evidence as reducing many conditions associated with ageing such as risk of falling, anxiety and depression, early onset dementia.

The white paper also places an emphasis on spa staff being treated with the same consideration as guests and that a code of ethics for spas is called for.

Finally, there’s the opportunity for spas and spa groups to begin partnering with local and international researchers to uncover new areas of evidence about the value of spa experiences. Here the focus is not only our physical health but especially on mental wellness and living a life in balance and happiness.

Download a free copy of Mental Wellness: Pathways, Evidence and Horizons from the Global Wellness Institute website: globalwellnessinstitute.org

Gerry Bodeker

Gerry Bodeker is chair of the GWI’s Mental Wellness Initiative and editor of its mental wellness white paper.

Email: [email protected]

Sign up here to get the Spa Business and Spa Business insider weekly ezines and every issue of Spa Business and Spa Business insider magazines free on digital.
Gerry Bodeker
The evidence highlighted in the white paper can be shared with customers, published in articles and used in educational sessions
Attracting older adults: movement classes decrease the risk of falling, anxiety and depression Credit: Ulza/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
A Deepak Chopra study suggests that a six-day retreat can help with stress and depression
Frequent sauna visits are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and dementia Credit: nd3000/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
FEATURED SUPPLIERS

AskNicely helps empower businesses to improve customer experience and boost NPS
Maintaining a consistent customer experience is critical to the success of a growing B2C service brand. [more...]

Cryotherapy specialists, L&R Kältetechnik, launch new artofcryo.com division
L&R Kältetechnik has launched a new division, named artofcryo.com, after 30 years’ experience with -110 °C electrical solutions. [more...]
COMPANY PROFILES
ResortSuite

Serving luxury leisure & wellness properties globally, ResortSuite provides a unique integration tha [more...]
+ More profiles  
CATALOGUE GALLERY
 

+ More catalogues  

VIDEO GALLERY

BC Softwear Product Demonstration Pure Spa Linen & Energy saving SupremeSoft Towels
BC Softwear introduces the new Pure Spa Linen cotton sheets, duvet covers and pillow cases especially designed for luxury spas. The SupremeSoft range offers incredible energy saving over traditional towelling with a cashmere soft feel. Find out more...
+ More videos  

DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

22 Jan 2021

Spa Leadership Symposium

Online (Zoom),
02-04 Feb 2021

Beauty West Africa

Landmark Centre, Lagos, Nigeria
+ More diary  
 
ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
 
SPA BUSINESS
SPA OPPORTUNITIES
SPA BUSINESS HANDBOOK
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS
ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media, Portmill House, Portmill Lane,
Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 1DJ Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2021
News   Products   Magazine
Research
Mind over matter

A new white paper reveals the scientific evidence behind numerous modalities and their impact on mental health. Editor Gerry Bodeker explains how spas can tap into this wealth of information

By Gerry Bodeker | Published in Spa Business 2019 issue 1


In October a 122-page white paper on mental wellness was unveiled to hundreds of spa and wellness professionals at the Global Wellness Summit in Italy (see SB18/4 p78). It was created in response to an upsurge of interest in mental wellness from both industry members and the general public. As Dr Ranieri Guerra from the World Health Organization notes in its introduction: “Mental, neurological and substance use disorders affect one in four people over their lifetime and one in 10 at any given time, and thus affect billions of lives globally.”

The aim of Mental Wellness: Pathways, Evidence and Horizons is to identify the many complementary interventions which are scientifically proven to help enhance people’s mental wellbeing and happiness. There was a lot of existing research and it’s taken the Mental Wellness Initiative – a Global Wellness Institute action group – a year and a half to pull everything together. But finally there’s a body of evidence on a wide range of modalities – from massage, aroma, sound and light therapy to movement and exercise, mindfulness and nutrition, and the benefits that these offer for mental wellbeing.

Many of the therapies are already available in spas and the white paper now showcases evidence to support future innovation. Facilities have an opportunity to act as a safe entry point into these wellness modalities which support mental wellbeing and happiness that may be unknown, and perhaps untrusted, outside of the spa setting.

Proven modalities
Massage is one of the common spa services highlighted in the white paper for its proven effectiveness on anything from pain and cancer to headaches and infant care. Information was taken from the US National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health and a 2010 meta-analysis of 17 clinical trials concluded that massage therapy may also help to reduce depression.

The US National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy references a range of studies showing, among other effects, the stress-reducing properties of sage oil, immune-modifying effect of eucalyptus oil, the role of peppermint oil in counteracting neuralgia, and the combination of peppermint and caraway oil in enhancing the quality of life of people suffering from dyspepsia.

Elsewhere, the Journal of the American Medical Association reports that since 1970, there have been have been 19,000 studies published conducted on various aspects of meditation and its benefits.

We also identified many beneficial mental wellness pathways that are not typically found in spas, but which have potential for innovation and rejuvenation of the spa experience. These include laughter yoga – Google it! – art therapy, journaling and the influence of nature.

As it turns out, social laughter, seems to release endorphins associated with feelings of wellbeing and heightened mood. Oxford University researchers in the UK conducted a series of experiments and found that pain thresholds – an indicator for endorphin release – were significantly higher after laughter. They suggest that “laughter, through an endorphin-mediated opiate effect, may play a crucial role in social bonding”.

Group support and social connectedness are also foundational in maintaining a state of mental wellness.

For spas in areas of rich cultural heritage, there’s the opportunity to partner with local experts to build new, culturally important offerings. All cultures have clear dietary, exercise and other health practices encoded in their ways of living. Uncovering these traditional wellness practices can transform our understanding of the way human physiology works and the energetic basis of wellbeing.

Researching the spa experience
In the second section of the white paper, we drill down into the spa experience itself and find there’s an emerging body of science backing up claims that it benefits mental wellness.

In 2016, doctors Elissa Epel, Deepak Chopra and colleagues found highly significant changes resulting from a ayurvedic detox/rejuvenation programme known as panchakarma. These include a reduction in many metabolites which are risk factors for metabolic disorders such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease. It also found that a break of just six days sets off genetic changes which can boost the immune system, decrease symptoms of depression and dementia and reduce stress (see SB16/4 p91).

In Australia, RMIT professor Marc Cohen and his team’s study on 4,265 mostly female respondents using thermal bathing spas found that “relaxation”, “peace and tranquility”, “indulgence” and “escape” were the most important motivators for bathing. Most respondents reported general health benefits (98 per cent) and better sleep (82 per cent) from bathing. Significant benefits were reported for back pain, arthritis, stress/anxiety, depression and insomnia (see SB17/2 p56).

The Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease project in Finland examined 2,315 men aged 42-60 over a five-year period. It found that increased frequency of sauna bathing – four to seven times a week for 30 minutes at a time – is associated with a reduced risk of heart-related disease, death and all-cause mortality. Sauna sessions have also been linked to lower risks of dementia (see SB17/1 p108).

In other research, a French study found that levels of anxiety and depression in 250 women who had breast cancer treatment were reduced by a two-week, multi-modality spa programme. Stronger and longer lasting effects were especially noted in reductions in depression.

What does this mean to spas?
So. How can spas harness this new flood of knowledge? I’ve often argued that spas have the potential to be the organisational face of wellness. Some destination spas, like Lapinha in Brazil, Brenners Park, in Germany and Kamalaya in Thailand, already are. They offer a wider range of wellness modalities under one roof that can’t be found in any other setting. Others focus more on massage and bodywork – but there’s much more than this available to enliven the spa world and its offering to clients, and the white paper highlights the many different evidence-based pathways which can be used.

Nowadays there are so many centres for yoga, meditation, tai chi, etc, that it’s not necessary for spas to employ therapists directly. Bringing visiting practitioners in and building a marketing plan around them can breathe new life into the spa business.  

The wealth of information, available freely at globalwellnessinstitute.org, can be drawn on to support the science behind spa modalities. This can be shared with customers, published in magazine and online articles as well as in marketing materials, and shared via educational sessions.

There are opportunities to target new markets, such as parents-to-be. A section on The First 1,000 Days of Life offers evidence on how wellness approaches that future parents engage with are predictors of the mental and physical wellbeing of their children in adulthood.

Or partnerships could be formed with existing community groups and local enterprises, such as those focused on older adults. Dance, tai chi, meditation and yoga all are supported by scientific evidence as reducing many conditions associated with ageing such as risk of falling, anxiety and depression, early onset dementia.

The white paper also places an emphasis on spa staff being treated with the same consideration as guests and that a code of ethics for spas is called for.

Finally, there’s the opportunity for spas and spa groups to begin partnering with local and international researchers to uncover new areas of evidence about the value of spa experiences. Here the focus is not only our physical health but especially on mental wellness and living a life in balance and happiness.

Download a free copy of Mental Wellness: Pathways, Evidence and Horizons from the Global Wellness Institute website: globalwellnessinstitute.org

Gerry Bodeker

Gerry Bodeker is chair of the GWI’s Mental Wellness Initiative and editor of its mental wellness white paper.

Email: [email protected]

Sign up here to get the Spa Business and Spa Business insider weekly ezines and every issue of Spa Business and Spa Business insider magazines free on digital.
Gerry Bodeker
The evidence highlighted in the white paper can be shared with customers, published in articles and used in educational sessions
Attracting older adults: movement classes decrease the risk of falling, anxiety and depression Credit: Ulza/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
A Deepak Chopra study suggests that a six-day retreat can help with stress and depression
Frequent sauna visits are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and dementia Credit: nd3000/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
LATEST NEWS
Phoenicia Malta unveils refreshing light-filled spa with suspended treatment rooms
Luxury five-star hotel The Phoenicia Malta has been upgraded with a 1,200sq m new Deep Nature Spa in the heart of Valletta, in Malta.
ISPA replaces 2021 Conference & Expo with virtual event to inform and inspire
The International Spa Association (ISPA) has decided to cancel its upcoming ISPA Conference & Expo in May, due to the ongoing global pandemic.
Amanda Winwood announces plans for Spafest in September 2021
Amanda Winwood, founder of Made for Life Organics, has announced that industry event Spafest will be held in the UK in September.
UK beauty industry makes history after achieving sector-specific government representation
After a steadfast strategic campaign, the British Beauty Council, UK Spa Association, British Association of Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology (BABTAC) and the National Hair & Beauty Federation has been granted a new sector-specific team within government, dedicated specifically to supporting Personal Care.
Ritz-Carlton Reserve opens with luxury spa at Japanese alpine ski resort
The Ritz-Carlton Reserve portfolio has expanded, with the opening of a premium all-season alpine resort at one of Japan's top winter sports destinations in Hokkaido.
Countryside retreats triumph in Spas of America's top 100 US spas of 2020
While North Americans haven’t been able to travel as much as they would usually, it hasn’t stopped them from looking, according to Spas of America’s Top 100 Spas of 2020.
Book4Time secures growth investment from Serent Capital for expansion and innovation
Book4Time, a leading cloud-based business management solution for the global hospitality, spa and wellness industry, has received a significant growth investment from Serent Capital, a growth-focused firm that invests in technology and tech-enabled services companies.
MPs speak in favour of creating Minister of Hospitality
UK MPs have spoken in favour of backing the creation of a Minister of Hospitality, following a debate at Westminster Hall yesterday (11 January).
ISA survey results demonstrate Irish spas' strength during pandemic
According to a recent survey conducted by The Irish Spa Association (ISA), the Irish spa industry is highly capable of taking the difficult decisions needed for business continuity and avoiding the spread of COVID-19.
Aman launches healing forest bathing retreat in Japanese national park
Luxury hotel group Aman has created a nature-centric wellness retreat for its remote Japanese resort in Mie, called Amanemu, located in a sprawling national park.
Yvonne Ebdon succeeds Helena Grzesk as UK Spa Association general manager
The UK Spa Association (UKSA) has announced the appointment of Yvonne Ebdon as its new general manager (GM).
Guidance for UK spas shut due to lockdown
Spas, beauty salons, hair salons, barbers and mobile beauty services are now closed for business in England, Northern Ireland, Wales, most parts of Scotland and Ireland.
+ More news   
 
FEATURED SUPPLIERS

AskNicely helps empower businesses to improve customer experience and boost NPS
Maintaining a consistent customer experience is critical to the success of a growing B2C service brand. [more...]

Cryotherapy specialists, L&R Kältetechnik, launch new artofcryo.com division
L&R Kältetechnik has launched a new division, named artofcryo.com, after 30 years’ experience with -110 °C electrical solutions. [more...]
COMPANY PROFILES
ResortSuite

Serving luxury leisure & wellness properties globally, ResortSuite provides a unique integration tha [more...]
+ More profiles  
CATALOGUE GALLERY
+ More catalogues  

VIDEO GALLERY

BC Softwear Product Demonstration Pure Spa Linen & Energy saving SupremeSoft Towels
BC Softwear introduces the new Pure Spa Linen cotton sheets, duvet covers and pillow cases especially designed for luxury spas. The SupremeSoft range offers incredible energy saving over traditional towelling with a cashmere soft feel. Find out more...
+ More videos  

DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

22 Jan 2021

Spa Leadership Symposium

Online (Zoom),
02-04 Feb 2021

Beauty West Africa

Landmark Centre, Lagos, Nigeria
+ More diary  
 


ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media, Portmill House, Portmill Lane,
Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 1DJ Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2021

ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS