New and Notable Day Spa Trends for 2017

Joanne Helperin

"Work hard, play hard" is an American mantra, but we relax hard as well. In 2015, we spent $16.3 billion dollars at the spa, with "day spas" accounting for 80 percent of that revenue1. Having bounced back from the recession, day spas are now focused on innovation and capitalizing on consumer trends by launching new treatments, product lines, or entire spa menus. Whether you're indulging yourself or giving a (much appreciated) gift card, we've rounded up some of the most interesting, hip, or downright funky spa trends and treatments for you to consider.

Trendy spa treatments at places like Burke-Williams

Personalization: This holistic approach tailors treatment methods to create the perfect experience for you – and only you. Rather than choose from a Chinese menu of treatments, clients discuss their individual problems and needs.

"People don't want what everyone is getting; they want something created just for them," according to Diane Hibbard, VP of treatments and development for Burke Williams. "It's not 'peaches vs. strawberries,' it's, 'How am I tapping into you as an individual and what your needs and wants are?' Why is this facial just about me?"

Spas For Kids Day spas designed just for kids and teens, such as the Sweet and Sassy franchise, have exploded. The tiniest tykes go for glamorous "princess pampering," with pink robes, candy, and fun treatments. (Chocolate pedicures! Fancy hair braiding!) Tweens and teens might learn strategies to relax from over-scheduling, treat acne, or maintain good physical habits (like yoga). Facilities such as the Mommy and Me Salon in Hialeah, Florida, cater specifically to two generations in tandem. Although these pink palaces focus on girls, there are child-centered spas, like the Rock Candy Salon and Spa, that welcome boys.

Digital Disconnect  Our "always on" world contributes to insomnia and obesity epidemics. And after looking down at texts all day, or slumping over a computer (you know you do it!), our necks and backs just hurt. Many spas nationwide are now offering "digital free" programs that unhook you from technology to restore your peace of mind, help you reconnect with people (in person!), and enjoy nature.

 Wellness  The word "wellness" may be trendy, but it's very serious business in the spa world. It includes a wide array of approaches and treatments and to improve health and fitness – physical, mental, and spiritual. Included are science/evidence-based medical treatments, IV infusions, Ayurveda, deep breathing practices, cancer massage therapy, mindfulness programs, sleep hygiene, and even sexual health.

Back to Nature  If it grows in the ground, you'll find it in the spa. Farm-to-table spa food and treatments with seaweed or kelp products (thellasotherapy) are increasingly plentiful. Beyond "natural" or "organic" ingredients, spa owners scrutinize the their products for their agricultural, environmental, and social impacts. (How are they sourced? Are they renewable?) Look for spas to focus on the growing need for water conservation and on treatments with globally-sourced ingredients, such as tropical Hawaiian plants and Himalayan salt.

Forest Bathing  Shinrin-yoku, Japanese for "taking in the forest atmosphere," is more than a nature walk. Like yoga before it, this Eastern-inspired pursuit reduces stress, improves mood, and boosts energy. An activity for both body and soul, it's featured at many fashionable destination spas. You can "bathe" solo or with a guide. Many are surprised to find how out of touch they were with nature -- until surrounded by a thousand shades of green.

Cannabis Cures  Medical cannabis is being credited with the ability to treat everything from alcoholism to traumatic brain injury. Massage therapists use lotions and oils with the extracts THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. But no worries… those natural chemicals don't enter the bloodstream, so there are no psychoactive effects.

Vinotherapy  Pinot noir or Chardonnay? They're not for drinking; they're for pampering! Vinotherapy uses products suffused with grape seeds or their extracts, reputed to be the most powerful antioxidant in the plant world. Indulge in vinotherapy treatments such as a Merlot Wrap or a Red Vine Barrel Bath (for couples, too!). For those who prefer other alcohol-based treatments, you can find treatments that use rum, beer, bourbon, rum, or tequila.

Pure Air Treatment: The Natura Bisse´ Bubble Pure Air is a large, odd-looking bubble that encapsulates the treatment table. Why? The air you breathe is 99.995 percent free of viruses, allergens, and contaminants. Whether you're having a facial or a whole body treatment, every part of you benefits from the detoxifying effect, originally created for athletes with allergies and asthma. An "experience concept," the Bubble is based at the Bacara Resort & Spa in California, but also travels to other spas.

1ISPA 2016 US Spa Industry Study

Image from Burke Williams