The importance of workplace wellbeing in the spa industry
Nikos Kouremenos, Education & Project Manager at global spa consulting company Raison d'Etre, offers tips on how to look after your spa therapists’ wellbeing.
For many, the ultimate luxury and way to restore and rejuvenate the body and mind, is to indulge in a soothing spa treatment. Safe in the hands of talented spa therapist, people can slowly fall into a state of calm as they enjoy their treatment.
However, while it is the job and passion of spa therapists to relax, relieve and restore their clients, it is just as important to ensure that your team of spa therapists also look after their own wellbeing.
In a job which is dedicated to caring for others and one which can have lots of back to back appointments, many spa therapists forget to give themselves breaks throughout the day; or the time to rest and stretch in-between clients. Spa therapists are on their feet all day, and when it's busy some won't go outside or see any natural light for hours.
Massaging and treating others all day can be tiring on the hands and result in bad posture so it is imperative for the Spa Manager to remind and encourage therapists to look after themselves. Spa managers should ensure that therapists have enough time after each appointment to have a short break. In particular if they happen to have two or three clients in quick succession, then they should have a half an hour break to give them time to rest and recover.
During peak periods there might be a heavier workload for therapists, but that should only be for a few days in order to avoid treatment quality compromise and therapist burnout.
Here are my five top tips of how to look after your therapists:
1) Teach therapists a variety of hand exercises, which they should do after each client (or at least at their mid-day break), to help prevent and protect again Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). A good way to really stretch out your hands is to place the palm against a wall and turn away, stretching out the palm and length of your arm. You will immediately feel relief of tightness or tension.
Another good way to stretch your hands is to place them in the prayer position and push them against each other (hold for at least 20 seconds each time). Click here for more helpful hand stretches.
2) Schedule daylight breaks. This is extremely important, as many therapists can go several hours without seeing any natural light, which can result in a lack of vitamin D. Sunshine and light is proven to boost the mood as well as the immune system, so being in a dark room all day can sometimes cause therapists to feel less happy and energetic.
Ideally therapists should be able to go outside for 10 or 15 minutes every two hours to allow them to refresh and also get some fresh air in-between clients.
3) Check that equipment has been adjusted for each spa therapists needs, for example the massage table should be adjusted to accommodate the height of each spa therapist, to ensure that they are not over stretching or having to hunch uncomfortable whilst giving a treatment. With electric massage beds almost at every spa these days, this should be a matter of seconds for the therapist to adjust.
4) Increase oxygen flow; the easiest way to do this is to teach therapists some simple breathing exercises to do a few times in the day. Breathing exercises are proven to help people relax if feeling stressed or tired, whilst increasing the oxygen and blood flow around the body.
5) Hydrate. Give each of your spa therapists their own water bottle and encourage them to drink and re-fill it regularly throughout the day. Therapists often work is warm rooms without windows, so they need to stay hydrated and drink enough water to prevent them from feeling weak or tired. Spas could give their staff branded bottles with the spa's name on.
Nikos Kouremenos is Education & Project Manager at global spa consulting company, Raison d'Etre.