I’ve followed the spa market since the late 1980s, when I wrote my first spa feature for a consumer fitness magazine. Since then, I think I’ve undergone every spa therapy available. I’ve had my body wrapped in chocolate, painted in paraffin, doused with a variety of liquids, and scrubbed with herb-infused salts and sugars. I’ve detoxed in traditional Mexican sweat lodges and sat in henna-infused sitz baths in Malaysia. I’ve had mud wraps in Italy, sipped the spa waters in Baden-Baden and Evian, and have had more facials than I can count.
A survey from Les Nouvelles Esthetiques (Dec. 1999) revealed that 85 percent of spa-goers are female. Nearly half are college educated and fit the “boomer” age range of 34-52 years. Married clients account for 63 percent; at least a third have annual incomes of $45,000 to $75,000. And what are they asking for? The International Spa Association reported that Swedish massage and aromatherapy are being ousted by requests for Pilates, Ayurveda, Thai yoga massage and Feldenkrais, according to Dayspa (Nov. 1999).