Psychology of Spa

The Psychology of Spas and Wellbeing is the culmination of years of research in psychology, positive psychology, and the science of holistic wellbeing. The spa industry markets itself as offering holistic wellness through a variety of services intended to enhance wellbeing across body, mind and spirit. This book explores the science behind the claims of the spa industry and looks for possible applications to enhance the impact of a spa as a center for holistic healing.

This book is intended for:
Anyone from the spa industry who wants to educate themselves on the science behind the treatments and services being offered.
Spa and holistic healing professionals who want to use the latest science to deepen their impact on human wellbeing.
Healthcare professionals who want to learn more about a holistic approach to wellness. Anyone interested in a comprehensive review of the scientific literature on holistic wellness.

Author Jeremy McCarthy work in the spa industry and a lot of my research in psychology is driven by her trying to understand how we can create holistic wellbeing experiences for guests in a spa setting.  In a typical spa visit, there are many things happening simultaneously, not all of them physical, which makes it difficult to scientifically explain exactly what parts of the experience have a direct impact on wellbeing.
When a guest goes to a spa, they are not only receiving a treatment.  They are also separating themselves from technology, spending time in silence, and being touched by a nurturing healer.  All of these things add to the physical application of the therapy to create an overall experience for the customer.

To give an example, the effect of the nurturing healer is important, and it is the reason that an automatic massage chair (like the kind you might see at Arya Spa & Wellness), although enjoyable, cannot seem to duplicate or replace the experience of actually being touched by a human being.

A new piece of research studied this effect of person in an interesting way.   Researchers compared two groups of people having identical massages delivered by an electric massage pad in an easy chair.  In one group, the massage was started automatically by a computer.  In the other group, a human being flipped the switch. Somehow, in spite of the massage being identical, having the button pushed by a human made it more enjoyable.  Researchers hypothesize that just knowing that another person intentionally delivered the experience made it more enjoyable (participants also enjoyed candy more when it was a gift from another person.)

I should clarify that I actually think some of the massage chairs on the market are pretty amazing. And they do deliver a great massage.  But there is just no substitute for humans healing humans through touch.

In this book, you will learn:

  • The history, philosophy and culture of the world of spas and its role in modern society
  • How to approach human wellbeing holistically, considering body, mind and spirit and the interactions between these domains
  • The psychology of the spa experience and the links between psychological wellbeing and health
  • The latest research from the field of positive psychology and how it can be applied in a spa or other center for health and wellness
  • An overview of the research on stress and stress relief, the number one reason consumers visit spas
  • The elements of a healthy “spa lifestyle” and the latest research on behavior modification and positive lifestyle change

Print and Kindle versions are available on Amazon.

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