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I"m interested in getting into the spa business, but I don"t know where to start. Should I take classes on being an esthetician or a massage therapist? I work full-time as a flight attendant in Asia, so I"d probably have about two weeks a month for classes. Do you know if there"s a certified spa academy in Hong Kong, Singapore, or Thailand?

--Name and address withheld

Many people ask me about getting into the spa business, and I"m delighted to share some of my thoughts. First, recognize that managing or owning a spa, which requires business skills, is very different from being an esthetician or a massage therapist, which is more of a care- giving, therapeutic practice. Both are exciting career choices, but they would call for different paths. You might begin by reading some of the spa trade publications, such as American Spa Magazine, Spa Management Journal, and Day Spa Magazine. Several online resources, such as the International Spa Association (ISPA) at Experienceispa. com,, and, have information about schools for becoming a therapist and training courses in spa management. In looking around for you, I discovered that Preston Wynne Success Systems ( offers a two-day course in Hong Kong once a year for people interested in getting into the spa business.

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