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Spa users eager to test the waters

When it comes to offering water treatments, spa owners are finding that an educated client is indeed their best customer.

Increasingly, spa users are adding water treatments to their list of traditional spa favorites: facials, manicures and pedicures, and massages. Spa experts say that the more clients know about the many health benefits of water treatments, the more likely they are to frequent spas-and to tell their friends about them. They recommend that spa owners and staff tell or, better yet, show clients how water can:

  • ease muscle tension
  • cleanse and hydrate the body
  • condition the skin
  • promote joint flexibility
  • stimulate circulation
  • relax the body;
  • open pores to eliminate toxins

"Clients are taking a proactive approach to their healthcare rather than simply managing it," says Jean Kolb of Kohler Waters Spa. "They come in for the relaxation benefits of water, but it's our job as spa owners and therapists to educate them on the many therapeutic benefits."

According to a recent survey conducted for Kohler, 81% of spa consumers are eager to learn how water treatments can enhance their spa experience, while fully 89% of consumers believe that water treatments are good add-ons to other spa treatments.

Meanwhile, more than half of consumers surveyed say they are willing to pay more for spa treatments that include water. So, how do spa professionals best educate clients on water treatments?

  • Ease clients into water. Gently introduce customers to the benefits of water by suggesting a relaxing soak in a jetted tub prior to a massage. Or offer introductory discounts and free trials to entice clients to try a water treatment. They'll discover how hot-and-cold water treatments-a cool plunge, waterfall shower, swim, warm soak, sauna, steam or jetted whirlpool-relax muscles, stimulate circulation, and help remove toxins stored in muscles. Water treatments also can be incorporated into a massage treatment-or offered after one as well.
  • Spread the word on health. The spa is often regarded as an oasis of self-indulgence, but it's increasingly growing synonymous with health, too. Hannelore Leavy, executive director of the Day Spa Association and the International Medical Spa Association, says that spa managers and therapists should educate clients on the many benefits of hot-and-cold water treatments and controlled water pressure, including how they improve circulation and digestion, help build up the immune system, eliminate toxins, and invigorate and relax the body. Then, demonstrate how all of these benefits can further enhance the massage experience.
  • Educate your staff. And that means your entire staff-from therapists to attendants who distribute towels and clean the facility, says Susie Ellis, president of Your staff should be able to field consumers' many questions regarding water treatments and its affects on their health and well-being.

According to Kohler's spa survey, three of four spa customers are seeking a new and unique spa experience. Unfortunately, many of those consumers say they are not being educated on the advantages and possibilities of water treatments.

That's a statistic that spa practitioners have the power to change. After all, once spa clients experience the relaxing and invigorating effects of water treatments, chances are they'll return for more of the same-just as they now do for facials and massages. And next time, they might just spread the word and share their new-found luxury with a friend.

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