What it takes to become a modern spa professional
When was the last time you visited a spa? Did you stop in to buy a gift card, or did you receive spa services? What did you choose to have done?
If you’ve been to a spa at least once recently, and at least once before, say, 2001, you’ll know that the experience has evolved. Especially from the perspective of a client looking for health solutions through acupuncture, oxygen therapy, special detoxes, healing massages and more, spas have changed radically in both the total experience and the variety of services they offer.
Using spas for health services, though new to us, is not at all new to mankind. Spas were utilized by ancient civilizations like the Romans and Greeks, specifically for health alongside relaxation. The spa was a part of their culture, and it was even used as an essential part of health treatment methods as well as to heal battle wounds. But how did these spas evolve into salon-style relaxation services generally for women, and then back to the specialized healthcare and wellness centers we know today?
To begin with, with global economies and consumerism on the uptick since the second World War, luxury services have only climbed in demand. And with demand, the market has replied with more options and higher quality. What’s more, there’s also the fact that we’re much more aware of our health today—how it ticks, what treatments are now available, etc. (though we don’t always heed what we know).
Put that all together, and spa businesses have been incentivized to improve their services, bring in new specialties and adapt. And the more they offer consumers, the more consumers want. Future growth in this industry is a certainty. The spa industry is growing rapidly, with some enterprise-level spas earning millions. The whole spa industry in the U.S., for example, had revenue of 17.5 billion USD over the last 10 years (Statista).
Spas no longer offer only massage, aromatic baths, and simple aesthetics services like manicures. They have now turned into sophisticated centers of holistic care and wellness, offering relaxation and healthcare services for both the mind and the body. In addition, spas also offer new consulting services for achieving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
New spa professionals
It makes sense that a growing number of students are intrigued by the many professional options in the spa and wellness industry.
Who wouldn’t want to work in a recently-transformed space with loads of specialties that’s growing year-over-year?
However, with greater intrigue into these ever-developing specialties, becoming a spa professional today also requires a diversity of specialized training and skills.
How specialized are today’s spa professionals?
Let’s start with some of the new services modern day spas offer. Some of the most common include mental health and well-being services, diet and nutrition consultations, and, of course, aesthetics and massage. This is where the diversity of skills comes into play. No one professional will know how to do it all, and the more impactful the service, the more specialized training it takes to do it well.
For example, working as a nutritionist at a spa requires knowledge and training around both the human body and how foods affect all the systems. This almost always requires a four-year degree (if not a Masters) in related studies. It’s no wonder why many spa professionals today are donning the white lab coat!
What’s more, further learning (in the medical field called Continuing Education) is required. Even practicing spa professionals have to attend more training and classes over time to ensure the information they have is the newest, best vetted, and most beneficial to clients.
All that said, as specialized as degrees and training can get, there are also some basic spheres of academia that all spa professionals will need to get familiar with first. Follow along as we outline some of the fundamental knowledge and skills needed from today’s spa professionals.
Anatomy and physiology
Today, we’re much more aware of the many systems of our bodies and how they interact—as well as what we should be doing to keep them healthy.
Healthcare has always been a core principle of the spa since ancient times. Modern spas have greatly evolved their health and wellness services, offering more holistic options for both body and mind. Some of these services include nutrition and diet programs, acupuncture, and both surgical and non-surgical skin care.
The very first field of study a spa professional needs to know is about anatomy and physiology. Spa healing methods are applied to almost all parts of the body to heal different types of ailments. As a result, it’s essential to have a good grasp of the human body and its functions.
For any readers intrigued by a possible future providing spa services, here are some anatomy and physiology online courses to consider:
- EDX human anatomy online courses—free, certificates available
Udemy Anatomy Courses— USD$10 to USD$12 per lesson, certificates unavailable
Diet and nutrition
Another important aspect of spa services today are diet and nutrition programs and coaching. Mainstream spas provide specialized nutrition and diet plans that assist in overall well-being and general health, fitness and weight loss. Spas also provide consulting and support services for maintaining a balanced diet as well as special diets for athletes.
As a result, most spa professionals will need a deep knowledge of foods and nutrition, how nutrients and supplements affect the body and the immune system, how they promote muscle mass and muscle relaxation, and which of them contribute to general health and weight loss.
Some diet and nutrition online courses to consider are listed below:
- EDX Nutrition Fundamentals—free, certificates available
- Alison’s Human Health - Diet and Nutrition—free, certificates available
- Stanford Introduction to Food and Health on Coursera—USD$30, certificates available
- Science of Exercise on Coursera—USD$43, certificates available
- Udemy diet and nutrition courses—USD$10 to USD$40 per lesson
Modern spas provide an extraordinary variety of high-quality beauty services. They no longer provide “just make-up and manicures,” (which are still awesome, by the way), but also a variety of specialized services that require experienced and deeply-trained staff. Some of these specialty beauty services include Botox and other anti-aging treatments, chemical and silk peels, acne treatments, hair and skin tag removal, skin hydration and many more.
Many of these services are another reason why the white lab coat has become more common in spa settings, what with its purpose to protect the wearer from potentially harmful heat or chemicals.
For beauty therapists and for anyone reading who wants to become a beauty therapist, it’s essential to have skin rejuvenation treatments knowledge to perform today’s popular chemical peels, micro-needling and the other services listed above.
Here are some online medical beauty courses to take a look:
- International Career Institute UK—£25 per week, certificates available
Online studies - Online beauty course —price and certification information on request
Would you study one of these specialties?
Studies about more advanced concepts like chemical peels are not available online because they require you to be present to learn the appliance and safety procedures. Search on Google to find classes nearby.
Today’s spa professionals need to have a variety of skills, knowledge and certifications to respond to the demands for specialized spa services today. In addition, the spa industry has experienced a rapid transformation that will only continue to respond to today’s demand.
Dr-James is especially pleased to have connected with spa professionals looking for comfortable, functional but also tailored and attractive designer lab coats. If you’re looking at studying a spa specialty, we’ll celebrate happily with you when you put on the coat to deliver your first service!