Last year at this time we predicted that there would be more need in the real world and more emphasis in the spa world on…stillness. Well, the former has definitely happened however the latter has a ways to go.
After you re-read our #10 trend prediction for 2010, I will grade myself and comment once again on Amy McDonald’s lovely challenge for us in the spa industry to “help our guests hear the sunrise.”
The modern human experience is an unprecedented amount of sensory overload, noise, and media stimulation. We’re wired to the gills, spending nearly all waking hours in front of TV and computer screens—bombarded, texting, Tweeting, clattering away—now even on airplanes. With the spa as one of the last remaining sanctuaries of silence and serenity, look for the industry to put a new emphasis on stillness, on slowness, on silence.
While traditionally spa treatments are experienced with “spa music” in the background, tastes are changing, as evidenced by the variety of channels offered and the attention to levels of sound. Some therapists are even reporting that their clients are asking for no music at all—just quiet. Amy McDonald, a seasoned and always thoughtful spa and wellness consultant, took the novel approach of customizing music channels for Foothills Health Consultants in Calgary, Canada, by adding a “white noise,” “filler sound” option. Reports are it has become their most popular channel.
At other spas, most notably those that offer outdoor massages by the ocean, have found that the rhythmic sound of the waves is more relaxing than any artificially introduced music. At Red Mountain Resort & Spa in Utah, you can opt to take the “silent hike,” and at Rancho La Puerta in Mexico, you are encouraged to try a “silent dinner.” The environmentally conscious Six Senses Spas around the world have recently introduced a “Slow Life” approach. There is an upswing in meditation offerings and programs, especially in urban settings. Spas are helping clients move from busy-ness and overload to quiet, to stillness. As Amy McDonald explained, she likes to create spas where “guests get to hear the sunrise.”
Just a couple of hours ago I was at the Relache spa here at the Gaylord National in Washington D.C. (where I am attending the ISPA conference) and the entire time I was in the locker room changing, a young gal was sitting on the bench in front of my locker talking loudly on her telephone. (Thankfully she didn’t seem to be from our conference!) That unpleasant episode reminded me of the ever-increasing challenge. Providing sanctuaries of quiet for guests in our spas is becoming more difficult as noise pollution increases.
Alas…I will have to give myself a B+ for this trend prediction. I may have been a bit ahead of the time when spas (and their guests) make heroic efforts to create havens of quiet for themselves and others.