Spa culture catching on big way in India

New Delhi, Aug 9 (IANS) Feeling washed out with the running around all week? Why not step into your neighbourhood beauty salon for some rejuvenating spa treatment. Yes, beauty salons are now turning into ‘spalons’ to dish out not just the regular hair cuts and facials but also aroma therapy, soothing massages, easy yoga and maybe even some fat reduction thrown in.

Spas are no longer just meant for the rich or located in five-star hotels. With a little extra space, beauty salons are doubling up as spas too, to offer you a complete holistic treatment – for mind, body and soul.

Wellness is the new buzzword for complete holistic health, the spa way.

‘Wellness – the word covers all aspects, mental elevation, physical invigoration, spiritual rejuvenation… When the mind and body is balanced, beauty comes from within, a glow will come from within and the mind will work better,’ says Amitabh Kant, CEO and MD, Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation.

And how does a spa offer holistic healing?

‘Spas begin by analysing the person, from the body type to the nature and lifestyle to find out the perfect treatment that will give 100 percent benefit,’ Kant told IANS on the sidelines of the first International Wellness Summit in India in New Delhi last week.

‘People are too stressed nowadays; they have too much to do. They need to de-stress, and a spa offers that facility. A visit to a spa leaves you feeling ready to cope with life,’ Arati Thapa, editor of magazine asiaSpa, India, told IANS.

A typical spa would offer you a foot massage, shoulder massage, leg massage, or full body massage, depending on what you opt for, and with the herbal and aroma oils of your choice.

And how much would a visit cost?

A shoulder massage could cost you Rs.800, and a full body massage around Rs.3,000-4,000, she said.

Aren’t the rates too steep and meant for the rich?

‘Well, four years ago only the rich would go to spas; now the middle class working people too want to visit spas for the relaxing experience. When people book a hotel, the first thing they want to know is whether the hotel has a spa,’ Thapa said.

Parineeta Sethi, publisher of asiaSpa, says the spa culture ‘is no longer the prerogative of the rich and famous’. And it is also not meant for people in their 30s. ‘The 20s are part of the spa culture today.’

With so many spas mushrooming, how would a person know if the spa they are visiting is a good one?

‘The government is beginning a process of grading spas, to give them accreditation. Based on their facilities, location, etc., spas will be graded, like hotels are, so people will know the category of the spa they are visiting,’ Sethi said.

‘The government and AYUSH (the department of ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and homoeopathy, part of the ministry of health and family welfare) along with stakeholders is working out the modalities for the grading,’ she said.

Sethi also said that medispas are the newest thing attracting people and it is going to be a huge revenue earner. ‘Some spas are doing botox and laser treatment for weight reduction without qualified doctors, which is dangerous. Now spas will have doctors.’

Some of the big hospital chains are in talks to set up spas for patients who opt for the treatment, said Thapa, but declined to give the names.

Neelima Malik, who owns the spa Mantra in Noida’s Sector 18, adds a spiritual touch to her treatment. Her spa has an ‘aura scanner’ machine that scans a person’s ‘electromagnetic field and transforms it into a colour pattern’ by which she can make out the body type and nature. According to the reading, Malik advises on the treatment to be followed. Each sitting for the sensor machine costs Rs.3,000, she says.

The global wellness industry is worth $500 billion and is projected to touch $1 trillion by 2014, said Kant.

In India, the wellness industry had grown 250 percent since 2002. ‘In India, the wellness industry stands at Rs.110 billion, which is likely to go up 35-40 percent over the next few years,’ Kant said, quoting a study by Ernst and Young.

(Ranjana Narayan can be contacted at ranjana.n@ians.in)

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