Helping Athletes Recover Through Spa Therapy

Thursday, 18 May 2017 Posted by International SPA Association

Helping Athletes Recover Through Spa Therapy

Athletes are a unique class of people. Whether professional or amateur, athletes are constantly pushing their bodies to the limit for the sheer pleasure of seeing how far they can go. Because of the wear and tear their bodies go through, spa treatments are becoming an essential aspect of any training regimen. And with good reason. Athletes need to give their muscles a break to enable them to push themselves to even further limits. What better way to relax and rejuvenate than at the spa?

“For the past few decades, spas have been seen as a place for pampering and indulgence rather than impactful therapy,” notes Kristi Dickinson, director of spa and fitness at Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa in Rancho Santa Fe, California. “With the wellness boom, consumers are starting to become more educated and expect more from spas. Athletes are turning to spas because we have specialized equipment and therapies that can address the specific recovery goals of athletes.”


Emerging Need

According to a March 2015 ISPA Snapshot Survey, only 40 percent of respondents included fitness or sports-directed treatments on their menus. Of that, only 14 percent of day spa respondents have sports or fitness treatments on their menus. That number is entirely too low for such an emerging consumer group.

“Spas need to be prepared to meet the emerging needs associated with today’s trend toward greater activity, either through exercise or sports programs,” says Raizelah Bayen, training director and massage therapist supervisor at Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary in Freestone, California. “It is important that spas offer fitness and sports-related services to address sore muscles, limitation in joint mobility or depleted energy levels.”

Dickinson continues by noting that “athletes are a rapidly growing segment of the market. What was once a classification reserved for the young alpha male is now applicable to a broader audience, thanks to the Tribe Fitness Movement lead by SoulCycle, CrossFit and the like. The soccer mom that was once your loyal Monday manicure client is now training for a ToughMudder. We need to stay agile in our offerings to meet the changing lifestyles of our clients.”

Lynda Solien-Wolfe, vice president of massage and spa at Performance Health agrees. “Athletes and active adults in general are eagerly investing in services and products that support their health and wellness goals. They’ve become more aware of the benefits of sports massage and other fitness treatments, and they want access to those services, whether they’re on the road or close to home. When you offer these specialty treatments, you have a broader appeal, which will expand your client base.”

Learn how to specifically market your spa services to athletes and read tips on reaching this diverse group by reading the full story at You’ll also see a Q&A with Tania Farah, wife of Olympic Gold Medalist Mo Farah and owner of British Manor Spa in Portland, Oregon.



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