International Spa Concept

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Using research methods such as the internet, magazines, questionnaires and the International Spa Associations 10 domains (Crebbin-Bailey et al, 2005) I will define what a spa is and what a spa should offer. This will provide more knowledge on how to design and run a spa. After gathering information from questionnaires, 90% of people referred to a spa as a place to relax and de-stress and 50% of people referred to a spa as fitness and a healthier lifestyle.

The definition of a spa according to the International Spa Association is “An entity devoted to enhancing overall well-being through a variety of professional services that encourage the renewal of mind, body and spirit” (2008). Another well known meaning for spa is ‘healing waters’ where the water is naturally high in minerals and is said to help cure illness such as arthritis. A spa offers a wide range of relaxing treatments by high quality, professionally trained therapists in a quiet and soothing environment, which vary depending on the type of spa.

They’re aimed at a specific area and then incorporate other treatments for example, a club spa would primarily focus on fitness, incorporating professionally administered spa treatments on a day to day basis like a day spa, but in place of the fitness there would be facials and body treatments. Destination spas require a minimum of 2-3 days stay to achieve healthy lifestyle habits, thinking about the mind, body and spirit as a whole also with professional spa treatments. Everything about a spa should be of a high standard, welcoming and relaxing which will enable clients to thoroughly enjoy their spa experience and entice them to return.

Considering all the elements of a spa and its relaxing surroundings Northern Ireland is my choice of location to have a destination spa. According to the British Spa Association, Ireland as a whole does not have a destination spa. Another reason to highlight Ireland is according to ni-environment. gov. uk, groundwater can be found beneath most parts of Ireland which means that distribution and developmental costs can be kept to a minimum. Tourism in Northern Ireland was given a boost after it was named one of the must see places in 2007, with the capital Belfast being one of the top 10 cities on the rise.

It is said to have had a 28% rise in tourism in 2007 which continues to increase. Northern Ireland has some of the best scenic walking routes where you can take in the beautiful scenery. Northern Ireland is currently being regenerated and therefore on the rise, which would be a good opportunity to bring a calm and peaceful setting in the form of a spa for people to embrace the tranquil atmosphere Ireland has to offer, its architectural and cultural background, visiting places such as the Odyssey Arena which has performances from artists such as Paul Weller.

It is also known as the birth place of the titanic which was built on the largest dry dock called Samson and Goliath. Maureen Wheeler the co-founder for the Lonely Planet (2008) says “the landscape of Northern Ireland is astonishingly beautiful, the people warm and genuine, and yet it is still relatively undiscovered, which makes the perfect destination”. All this makes Ireland a beautiful place.

Using the 10 common characteristics that bind all spas together along with the 6 core therapies of the International Spa Association (Crebbin-Bailey et al, 2005) water, cold, heat, touch, exercise and relaxation this destination spa will be a haven for all like minded people wanting the same inner and outer body experience. The treatments I choose will be of benefit to the body as a whole on a journey of relaxation and rebalance incorporating healthy eating habits. Choosing a destination spa also means learning a new way of life.

As well as having treatments you will also have a spa cuisine which will be healthy and high in nutrients with no alcoholic beverages. The cuisine menu will appeal to all the clientele wanting to improve their eating habits, with light meals provided by a qualified chef offering as much variety as possible. Water is the main element of a spa experience. It is used to cleanse and purify the body, before and after treatment, good for relaxing tired and aching muscles as well as rejuvenating the body.

I have chosen to have 2 swimming pools and a whirl pool, as there are many treatments that can be done in the pool such as Ai Chi and Hydrotherapy. Ai Chi helps with balance, flexibility and improves your circulation, along with stimulating your mind and body. It can also help strengthen and tone muscles. A whirlpool has the benefits of the jets which transfer heat with pressure directly to the skin, which in turn encourages blood vessels to open, creating oxygen rich blood. As well as the massaging effect it has on the body, which can help reduce swelling, it can also aid with reducing pain, bringing a sense of well-being after a treatment.

Heat treatments are also known as ‘thermotherapy’. The effect of heat on the body relaxes and relieves muscular aches and pains and cleanses the body. Wet or dry heat improves circulation of blood and lymph and disperses toxins through perspiration. A sauna, sweat lodge and hot stone therapy are my chosen heat therapies. A sauna uses extreme dry heat in a wooden cabin and a sweat lodge uses warm wet heat in a tiled room with seating. The benefits of these treatments are to soothe and cleanse the body, as well as warm and relax muscles leaving the client feeling refreshed as both treatments help to detoxify the body and boost circulation.

Hot stone therapy is more effective on tired aching muscles due to the heat element. Alternation of warm and cool stones aims to stimulate the nervous system making it an all round good treatment as well as relaxing. Alternating hot and cold temperatures provides the circulation with a good work out. Putting an ice fountain within the sauna and steam room area will combine the two and enable them to work together providing the maximum benefits. Touch, in the form of massage and pressure points plays one of the main roles within the spa world, connecting with the client on a deep, inner level of peace and harmony.

Brossage, Aromatherapy, Lomi Lomi and Indian head massage are my chosen touch therapies. Brossage can be used as a pre massage treatment to induce relaxation and to soften the skin. Aromatherapy is a treatment for the body as a whole using essential oils. These oils help to relax your mind and your body and can also be blended to give you added benefit for ailments such as depression, stress or even menstrual cramps. A client may feel rejuvenated, or very relaxed and sleepy after such treatment. Lomi Lomi is a deep stroke massage using fingers, thumbs, arms, elbows and palms.

The oil used in this massage nourishes the skin. The benefits of this massage are that it encourages the flow of blood and lymph whilst eliminating toxins, muscular tension and a release of emotional tension. Indian Head massage helps to relieve tension in the shoulders, emotional tension and to balance the bodies’ chakras. This treatment can leave a client with a feeling of euphoria. Relaxation is vital to a spa as the rest after a treatment helps with the healing process. For relaxation I have chosen Jungian therapy and a Zen garden.

I have chosen these as they both work on the inner person and awareness of one self. They will be set in calm serene settings to fully relax the mind, body and spirit, both being simple yet affective. Exercise is a good way to keep the body’s energy levels up and keep a sense of well- being. According to (Didier Millet 2007) Balancing Senses “Exercise makes you feel happier. It releases endorphins or happy hormones”. Aerobics, Tai Chi and yoga are my chosen exercise regimes. These can be carried in the comfort of the clients own home and are good for relaxing the mind and reducing stress.

Where employment is concerned the spa will require two life guards, a chef, an aromatherapy and hot stone therapist, a fitness instructor, yoga teacher and two receptionists they will be qualified to a high standard, with at least 1 year’s experience in the spa industry and hold a valid first aid and health and safety certificate. Employees will be able to perform more than one therapy; alternatively there will be in house training as well as day training courses. Therapists will be responsible for keeping their work areas clean and tidy, having excellent customer care skills and maintaining a professional image at all times.

My role as the spa manager will be to make the spa run smoothly and efficiently, which will consist of recruiting/dismissing staff and maintaining good working relations, making sure the environment is safe for everyone who enters the spa premises and to implement any safety measures needed, marketing and research into new services and products and keeping the finances in order. An assistant manager has responsibilities such as customer care, staff rotas, minor disciplinary procedures and the smooth running of the spa in my absence.

The spa will cater for people between the ages of twenty and sixty five, encompassing tourists and clientele on day retreats. With the serenity of where the spa will be set and the tranquil atmosphere, this would appeal to all walks of life and backgrounds for the peacefulness, relaxation and rejuvenation people long to endure. Northern Ireland is the ideal place to have a destination spa with the up and coming development of the country, its variety of attractions will attract tourists from all over and the beautiful serene surroundings of the countryside will practically guarantee its success.

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