I had the rare privilege to have been part of a panel arranged by the Edelman PR firm at the famous South By Southwest conference in Austin Texas a few weeks ago. My sister Katrine, who lives in Austin and has attended SXSW many times, continued to correct me each time I mentioned SXSW. She insisted that only “newbies” say South by Southwest. Everyone else calls it “South By.” Ok…so I was a newbie. Perhaps I will get the lingo right next year. Continue reading
This, the 8th trend we identified in our list of the Top 10 SpaFinder trends for 2011, was all about the lengths people will go to (especially women) for beauty. Rereading what we wrote a year ago, I was struck by our prediction that the use of the term ”stem cell” would become huge. How right we were. In fact here is verbiage from a press release that landed on my desk just today! Cellure, the first skin care line introduced to the U.S. that uses adult human stem cell technology, is truly changing the face of skin care…The revolutionary beauty brand of the leading stem cell research facility in Korea has… Have a look at what we wrote about Extreme Beauty last year:
The common element in spa beauty these days is that beauty-seekers are pushing all known boundaries and taking it to the max.
Extremes are, of course, easy to spot when surveying the new technologies and scientific innovations appearing on the market with increasing regularity. Lash stimulators and extensions are not new, but are definitely gathering steam. We are now “beyond Botox,” the botulinum toxin (itself extreme) that fueled the medi-spa industry when the FDA approved it in 2002. There are now all sorts of fillers and other injectables with ever-increasing potency, each longer lasting than the one that preceded it. “Stem cell” is the latest lightening rod term being used (mostly by marketing departments at the moment), and applied to everything from “stem cell facials” to stem cells in skincare products to “stem cell facelifts.” Plasma therapy for cosmetic uses is also a new buzz concept…yes, that’s where a person’s blood is drawn, their platelet-rich plasma is extracted, and then re-injected into their wrinkles, etc. And how about the extremely un-invasive new (FDA-approved) Ultherapy (no anesthesia, no surgery), which uses ultrasound to regenerate collagen deep under the skin, shifting the skin into a youthful position.
Plus, let’s talk about extreme pain, which is something people seem to be tolerating more and more, as long as it delivers the goods. Facial injectables have always been somewhat painful — derma-rolling hurts, chemical peels can be uncomfortable and the zapping of lasers is no picnic. Facial massage, for example (long a popular component of all spa facials), is, in some cases, now being administered to the point of agony. One example is the Buccal Technique, an intense facial massage performed from inside the mouth…reported to be acutely painful, but still popular among the likes of Keira Knightley and Angelina Jolie.
Spa and wellness approaches where pain meets pleasure seem to be rising in popularity over their “kinder and gentler” brethren. Witness the upsurge in military-style boot camps, Rolfing, Bikram yoga, Thai massage and vigorous scrubs in Turkish hammams or Korean bathhouses. People are embracing things like alternating the searing heat of a Russian sauna with a dip in an icy pool because they find the results worth it. Check out the new Sparkling Hills Resort and Spa in Canada, where one of the newest European-imported modalities, Chryotherapy (cold therapy), can be experienced. Labeled the “cold sauna,” it involves three minutes in a room that is -110 degrees Celsius!
Facials aren’t just for faces anymore; they’re now being extended to every “extremity”…and we do mean the whole body. Back, foot and hand facials have been around for a couple of years, but what about “booty” and “vagina” facials? The Smooth Synergy Day Spa in New York will pamper your “booty” — exfoliate it, use microcurrent therapy to help reduce the appearance of cellulite, and then even apply spray tan! Phit, another New York spa, focuses on pelvic health, and “encourages good muscle tone,” and “restores labial and vulvar contour to a plump firmness” with a process involving lasers.
Even organics and natural products are being taken to extremes, as evidenced by the extraordinary lengths many brands will go to assert their hardcore purity. “Internal beauty” is emphasized with increasing vigor. Raw cuisine is becoming popular during intense detox retreats: Fresh Start in Canada has a 14-day detox (no pain, no gain!) with a 100% raw food menu for the 50% of days guests are actually allowed to eat solid food. Dr. Howard Murad’s new book, The Water Secret, makes the radical, but convincing, claim that one doesn’t need to drink eight glasses of water a day. Instead, one should “eat one’s water” through fresh fruits and vegetables, providing our cells with a much more nutritious, effective water source. Phyto 5 products (out of Switzerland) have a unique approach, suggesting that “true beauty is health made visible,” with products that are really energy medicine. And now there’s the possibility of re-attaining “virgin hair,” according to innovative new hair color products like INOA that eliminate damaging chemical developers.
And finally, what might be considered the most interesting extreme: More people’s comfort levels with simultaneously embracing both the “yin” of the natural and the “yang” of invasive, medical beauty procedures. It isn’t either/or anymore. (A tangible example: The popular NewBeauty magazine now features a dedicated SpaFinder section in each issue.) In the end, people are increasingly demanding extreme results, and they’re happy to pay the price for it. At a staggering $679 billion annually, the beauty and anti-aging sector represents by far the largest share of the estimated $1.9 trillion wellness market.* Expect even more extremely profitable, extreme beauty innovations hitting your local spa next year.
* 2010 SRI International Report, Spas & the Global Wellness Market: Synergies & Opportunities
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Yesterday, SpaEvidence.com was “officially” launched to the entire industry, to media, and to consumers via this press release: SpaEvidence.com Launches: World’s First Portal to the Medical Evidence for Spa and Wellness Therapies. We are inviting you all to get involved, by linking directly to the portal from your website through logos and banners (like the one on the right) or even white label it to help spread the word.
We have continued to make improvements to the portal, which was first presented at the recent Global Spa Summit in Bali. You may remember that, on the last day of the GSS, Dr. Ken Pelletier and Dr. Daniel Friedland gave outstanding presentations that led up to the unveiling of this year’s most important GSS initiative, the launch of the SpaEvidence portal. You can read their transcribed speeches here: Dr. Pelletier and Dr. Friedland.
I also wanted to share with you directly a letter written to me by Dr. Friedland. It addressed what happened at the end of the presentation on the SpaEvidence portal. Not only was there a standing ovation, but there were tears and we were all quite shocked and a bit overwhelmed. Later Dr. Friedland expressed to me what he thought the tears were about. I asked him to please write it down so that I might share it with others as I think his observations were quite profound.
Here is the letter he sent which touched me deeply and, I think, will touch you as well.
From: Daniel Friedland [email@example.com]
Sent: Friday, May 20, 2011 9:05 PM
To: Susie Ellis
Subject: The Emotion around the Presentation of the Portal
Once again many thanks for the phenomenal experience in joining you for this year’s Summit. It was a joy being with you and the remarkable group of people you assembled. I feel blessed by many new friendships and the strong sense that our presentation and the Portal will play a significant role in transforming the Spa and Wellness Industry and how and where healthcare is delivered globally.
As promised I’m getting back to you with some thoughts about why some of the delegates felt so emotional during our presentation of the portal.
Just before we left the Laguna, I spoke with Kerstin Florian, who shared with me her emotional response to the presentation. Listening to what she shared, gave depth to what I sensed… that so many in your industry have worked for so long, deeply committed to making a profound difference in the lives of their clients. They’ve seen results and know that what they have to offer has value. At the same time, many may have felt marginalized by the conventional medical community, as if what the industry has to offer is “soft.”
What I believe came though from our presentation is the revelation that no one group has a monopoly on supporting health – the journey to wholeness – for the health seekers we all care for.
Conventional medicine, no doubt, has a lot to offer, particularly for patients who are struggling to manage and cure disease. The Spa and Wellness Industry has an immense amount to offer too, especially around maintaining wellness and preventing disease, as well as providing healing and benefit with various wellness modalities to health seekers who are navigating their disease.
The Portal provides more than scientific validation around the value of various Spa and Wellness modalities. It is also a gateway through which many who have been laboring for so long with love and deep conviction, experience an emotional catharsis in discovering their life’s work validated and their purpose emboldened with meaning and significance.
I feel privileged to work with you and our team on this and to continuing our journey together…
With great warmth and appreciation,
Daniel Friedland, MD
My twitter address: @susieellis
At this year’s Global Spa Summit in Bali, we were treated to several short social networking/technology talks from my favorite tech guru Marc Smith from Connected Action. Marc is the only presenter I know in the technology space who might also make it as a standup comedian! Click here to access a short 10 minute video of Marc on the topic of online health and fitness/wellness gadgets. Skim through the notes Engaging Business via Technology: Sensors – All the Rage! , or check out Marc’s powerpoint presentation.
Marc started off showing us a GSS 2011 Social Network Map. It showed Liz Terry (Managing Director, Leisure Media) as the most connected social networker at the GSS; everyone who had tweeted about GSS was on the map as well.
Marc went on to introduce us to some medical sensors. The following is a list of the ones he thought spas should check out. It’s a handy list that will help you get up-to-date quickly. (Well, as up-to-date as possible for now.) I think it is safe to say the one that got the most buzz was the the sensor you pee on and then it analyzes the effect of your diet and exercise efforts. Have fun exploring!
- Quantified Self.org: Helps to keep detailed records of your own health and wellness
- Fitbit.com: You clip the device to yourself, and when you walk by your computer, the data transfers automatically.
- Bodybugg: Uses specialized sensors to track calories burned; manages calories consumed via a web based program; tracks your steps with a built-in pedometer
- Runkeeper: will tweet “Mark has just run 4.5 km”
- Nike + iPod: Tracks how fast you run and socializes this. Gives you encouragement from friends to keep at it, it also satisfies any kind of competitive urge.
- Body media: Keeps track of weight loss activity and encourages you to keep going!
- Zeo headband: You simply sleep with it, and it tracks your sleep cycle.
- Tweet What You Eat: A twitter-based food diary. Use Twitter to track what you eat by ‘tweeting’ food items to your personal food diary on the web.
- Meal Snap: iPhone app that lets you take pictures of your food, and auto-magically get back calorie and caption information.
- Lose It!: iPhone application that helps you to stay on track each day by recording your food and exercise while staying within your budget.
- Ovi: Wellness diary, using the “experience sampling” methodology.
- WellApps: A website full of applications to assist in your quest for wellness.
- BodyKey: Take it to the bathroom and urinate on it; diagnoses you
- GoogleHealth: With a Google Health account, you can store, manage and share all of your health and wellness information in one central place. It’s available from Google at no charge.
- Microsoft Health Vault: Similar to GoogleHealth it is an online health tool and device directory.
- CureTogether and PatientsLikeMe: Helps to connect you with someone else who suffers from your condition; essentially a support system.
- FourSquare badges: Unlocking badges is very motivating to people; they enjoy earning status markers.
My twitter address: @susieellis