Manifesting Meditation: The practice may not be new, but updated meditation experiences can reinvigorate your spa with a timely wellness vibe.Spas are, of course, havens for people who are stressed out and overscheduled, but while clients may emerge with glowing skin and melted muscles, shutting off their busy brains can be a challenge. Enter meditation, that mind-calming ancient practice that doesn’t take much practice at all. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), meditation is now the fastest growing health trend in America, with the number of meditators tripling between 2012 and 2017. And with popularity comes profitability: Market researcher Marketdata Enterprises reports that the meditation market is expected to balloon to $2 billion by 2022.
In spas, the practice is a perfect fit for the current wave of wellness-seeking clients, and it can be seamlessly added into services to enhance the overall experience. “There are hundreds of ways to meditate,” says Stacy Conlon, a mindfulness and meditation facilitator based in San Francisco. “The spa is such a great place for meditation because guests are already mindfully setting aside time in their day to receive a treatment.”
Conlon defines meditation as a mindfulness tool that helps cultivate attention and awareness of the present moment instead of getting caught up in restless or running thoughts—also known as “monkey mind.” Spas have plenty of options for implementing meditation; luckily, although a comfortable posture is important, a silent room with a meditation teacher is not.
In fact, Conlon often works with spas to create customized guided meditations in all sorts of settings, including one in a hammock in the woods at Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary in Freestone, California, and another in a Himalayan salt chamber at Naupaka Spa at the Four Seasons Resort Oahu in Hawaii. On a smaller scale, it’s even beneficial as an add-on to a traditional massage or facial. “Meditation helps enhance the sense of relaxation that treatments provide, and increases guests’ sense of well-being while at the spa,” says Conlon.
The practice’s continued growth means that more spas are following suit. Amy Lin, founder of Sundays, a nail salon with three locations in New York City, was on a mindfulness retreat when she got the idea to incorporate meditation into her wellness-inspired manicures and pedicures. “It’s not about what seat you’re in or where you meditate; it’s about tuning in to yourself,” she says. Lin worked with a meditation teacher to create a menu of five guided sessions (10 min./$5 add-on) that clients can listen to on noise-canceling headphones while technicians buff and file their nails. “Manicures are perfect for meditation because you can sit still with your back straight and feet grounded on the floor,” she adds.
Meanwhile, G2O Spa + Salon in Boston has offered guided virtual meditation since its opening in the spring of 2018. “Traditional meditation classes are scheduled around a teacher’s limited availability. Our virtual meditation provides freedom and flexibility for guests to schedule 30-minute sessions whenever they wish,” says assistant spa director Bill Engvall. The $45 sessions are customizable, with 27 virtual environments and 20 meditations to choose from. “My personal favorite is listening to the ‘compassion’ meditation while gazing at the Northern Lights in Iceland,” confides Engvall.
Meditation’s benefits are vast and scientifically backed by numerous studies from such organizations as the National Institutes of Health and the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Proven to help alleviate stress, sleep problems and chronic pain, meditation has also been shown to boost feel-good hormones like serotonin and enhance the brain’s ability to focus—and new research shows that just 15 minutes can have effects similar to a day of vacation. “For spa owners who’ve never meditated before, I highly recommend practicing yourself so you can speak to how it impacts you,” says Conlon. “It’s also important to talk about these benefits within the service description.”
And it turns out that promoting the pluses of the practice is good business. “It’s always my goal to make clients look and feel great; meditation boosts their sense of wellness and adds to the whole spa experience,” says Lin. In fact, pairing meditation and nail services proved so popular, she added a $5 meditation-only option, and sells a USB of the salon’s custom meditations for $28 on the website. “It has definitely brought in new clients. They want to experience it or they’ll tell a friend,” reports Lin, who plans to develop more types of meditation to further help clients relax into the self-care process.
At G2O, virtual meditation and other unique therapies have proved to be a draw, as well. “New clients visit to experience cutting-edge services, and they’ll often combine them with more traditional massages, facials, manicures and pedicures,” says Engvall. “Virtual meditation is also a new way for long-time guests to de-stress and improve their health.”
From custom meditations and virtual reality headsets to noise-canceling headphones and iPods, options for promoting wellness can be seamlessly implemented. You could even start with a stock meditation played over the speaker during regular services to add another dimension to pampering—and clients don’t even have to take extra time out of their busy schedules to try it. “For spas looking to improve customers’ well-being, meditation is a really simple, easy and inexpensive way to enhance the guest experience,” says Conlon.
This story first appeared in the January 2020 issue of DAYSPA Magazine. To receive the magazine, subscribe here.