April 15, 2009

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The International SPA Association Foundation is proud to announce that for the second year, applications for both the Ruth Stricker Spa and Wellness Award and the Dr. Howard Murad Research Grant are available. Both of these opportunities help further the ISPA Foundation’s research initiatives.

“The award and grant are helping to push the spa community forward and provide our industry with critical information,” said ISPA Foundation President Edwin Neill III. “Stress is such a huge part of our lives today, and through these endowment opportunities, we’re addressing it head on.”

The Ruth Stricker Spa and Wellness Award offers aid for research into ways spa can meet current health care needs, promote wellness and enhance quality of life. Award recipients will receive $2,500 USD toward research. The award will support a project that demonstrates a unique or unrecognized benefit of spa in promoting wellness. While all proposals will be considered, those focusing on the areas of aging, techno stress, chronic illness, lost/loneliness will be given extra consideration. Last year’s award recipients, Dr. Jen Seda, MD, CMT and Kimberly Creswick, MPH, owners of consulting company SpaAlchemy, are exploring the impact of spa experiences on stress and well-being.

“Even more so today, in these unsettled times of anxiety and stress, spas are in a unique position to integrate the fragments of our lives. It is time to acknowledge the whole person and their core values by returning to the basic – the resilience of the human spirit,” said Ruth Stricker.

The Dr. Howard Murad Research Grant offers assistance to researchers studying the effects of cultural stress and ways to manage it. Grant recipients receive $1,500 USD toward research. The grant can be used to research technology overload, overworking and lack of purposeful work, inadequate nutrition, isolation from friends and stress occurring in people of all ages. Previous grant recipient, Dr. Michelle Calvarese, associate professor at California State University, Fresno, is conducting research on the effects of work-related stress.

“Since I offered the first Murad Grant, cultural stress has intensified to levels not seen in some time,” said Dr. Howard Murad. “Worldwide economic woes, building evidence that adverse climate changes are accelerating, tectonic shifts in technology, a rapidly aging population – all of this unwanted news is ramping up our anxiety levels. Cultural stress creates an environment that not only exacerbates disease and inhibits healing, but a growing body of research indicates that it may be a root cause of 90 percent of health problems. I am delighted to be able to sponsor further research into cultural stress with this year’s Murad Grant and look forward to learning from the scholarship that the grant supports.”

Interested candidates may review terms and conditions for the grant and award and apply online at from April 15 – June 1, 2009.

About the ISPA Foundation

The ISPA Foundation is the nonprofit 501(c) 3 arm of ISPA and was created in 1999 to serve the educational and research needs of the spa industry. The ISPA Foundation’s mission is to improve and enhance the value of the spa experience; its vision is to advance spa culture to sustain health and well-being. The ISPA Foundation’s objectives include being the educational source for the spa industry, establishing definitive research that validates spa industry related topics and creating an endowment that sustains the ISPA Foundation in perpetuity.

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