Wii Shoulder Treatment on Spa Menus to join Blackberry Thumb Massage at Spas?
by Susie Ellis
I felt really ‘out of it.’ Sitting at lunch with my niece Christa (17), my brother Rolf (49), his girlfriend Stacey (40), my step-daughter Courtney (30), and her girlfriend, Tana (28ish). They are all talking about the Wii and in particular the Wii Fit and how much they love, love, love it! It’s fun, they get a great workout, use it all the time, etc.
Well, this is something new. All of these people – guys, gals, at various ages all LIKING exercise? And the same program? I decided that I needed to find out more – and get ‘with it’.
I have been hearing about the Wii for a while but have never experienced it and didn’t even know there was a Wii Fit. So I asked my brother (who is visiting from Austin) to buy me a Wii while he was out sightseeing and shopping in New York. I learned long ago that if you are going to be in the Internet business, you really do have to keep up with what is going on. Thus, earlier in the year I bought the Kindle (a wireless reading device), Peter got the I-Phone (phone, I-pod, Internet), and I realize we are a bit late to the Wii.
Apparently Wii’s are hard to get – sold out at most places. But they were able to find one at Toys R Us – although there were no Wii Fits anywhere.
My 17-year-old niece installed it on my living room TV at my apartment (in about three minutes) and we got started. Basically there was a six-inch long sensor that she put on top of my TV which is connected to the Wii and another cord which is plugged into the TV. We started with tennis. The person or persons playing, each hold a remote in their hands which simulates a tennis racket. Play begins. Very realistic…and I found out I was as bad at tennis with the Wii as I am on the courts. And my usual problem of hitting the ball too late seems to have transferred. Later we tried bowling, then golf.
Seems like a cross between a video game and sports. And I have to agree, it was amazing. It was fun (social) and I could imagine how you would improve your game and that a fitness version could engage you in exercise. Bottom line is that I am not sure everyone needs to own one…but learning about and experiencing the technology does open your eyes to new possibilities.
Finally, I learned that my niece has ‘Wii Shoulder’ which apparently is a stress injury from playing the game too much.
And so I wonder…will ‘Wii Shoulder Treatment’ start appearing on spa menus like ‘Blackberry Thumb Massage’?
Alas…I suppose so.
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Yesterday I attended the International Esthetics, Cosmetics & Spa Conference in New York’s Jacob Javits Center. In the afternoon I spoke on the panel entitled “Residential Spa Market Update.” Andrea Foster, who is the director of corporate strategy for Miraval Holding, LLC/Miraval, Life In Balance, was the other speaker. I think Andrea and I both felt that the audience was truly interested in this trend so it was a delight to share information.
The education one can receive at this conference is probably the best part of it. I was less impressed with the trade-show aspect – at least when it comes to spa. There are plenty of booths to visit if you are interested in hair, nails, beauty products, cosmetics, etc., but the spa portion of the show seems a bit downmarket except for a few vendors. Maybe I am getting spoiled.
On the other hand, I do feel that those of us who truly understand the spa industry are aware when the ambiance isn’t right. If you go into almost any spa these days, the area for hair and nail care feels, looks, sounds, and smells very different from the spa portion. Although it looked as though the conference planners made some effort to separate the two worlds, I don’t believe they were successful enough to satisfy serious spa professionals. I can only imagine the reaction of the medical doctors who attended the Medical Spa Conference education sessions and then perused the showroom floor.
Maybe it will get better in future years.
My thanks to Marina Kuchurkina who took an eight-hour train ride from Moscow to St. Petersburg to give me a spa tour and teach me about the spa industry in Russia. Even though her English is very good, she arranged for an interpreter so that we could communicate flawlessly. Over cappuccino at the Grand Hotel Europe, she graciously answered all my questions.
She comes from the beauty industry and now publishes the first trade magazine in Russian for spas called Spa Report, whose circulation is around 3,000. She also formed an organization called the Russian National Spa Industry Guild and established a training academy to train students in spa therapies and spa management. Marina also does consulting. Her enthusiasm is admirable, and I greatly appreciated her willingness to share her time and knowledge with me.
There are other key players in the development of the Russian spa industry, and it is interesting to watch how – just like here in the U.S. – not all players get along or have the same vision. What they may not see yet is that all the pioneers of this emerging industry are important – because they help build a critical mass. If the Russian spa industry develops in a similar way to those of other countries, in later stages there will be greater appreciation for those who blazed trails.
Also of note in my travels…Many hotels and resorts are vying to attract the Russian traveler. And I heard the same things from everyone: Wealthy Russians are very wealthy; they pay cash for everything; they love spas; and they always begin by ordering whatever treatment is the most expensive.
I really look forward to a future trip to Russia – perhaps next time I’ll visit Moscow. I understand there are several major hotel brands with spas there opening soon. And I hope to get into the countryside to experience an authentic banya.
On my recent trip to Russia, I visited an interesting day spa in St. Petersburg called Beauty Palace Madam Grand. One of the first stand-alone day spas in Russia, it opened just a year ago. Here are the features I found unique:
- The décor is over-the-top luxury, tsar-style opulence, and dripping in gold.
- Despite its name, it is for men and women.
- The owner makes money even if there are only five guests a day.
- Their relaxation area includes a bar and has a “smoking section.”
- The state-of-the art equipment includes a Vichy/steam/sauna/hydrotherapy capsule.
Although the website is in Russian, the photos give you the gist. I was impressed with the owner, who previously ran a hair salon in St. Petersburg. She epitomizes the new entrepreneurial spirit in Russia!