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Spa People: 20th anniversary issue

Jeremy McCarthy

The biggest change I've observed is the rise in awareness around mental wellbeing


How has the industry evolved?
The biggest change I’ve observed is the rise of awareness around mental wellbeing. I came to the spa industry with an academic background in psychology and was always thinking about the psychological and emotional impact of the spa experience. But it’s only in the last 15 years or so, as a consequence of our deepening relationship with technology, the increasing pace of change and the gradual erosion of traditional family and social networks, that mental wellbeing has taken a prominent place in the minds of consumers.

What do you wish had been invented?
In college, over 30 years ago, I had a chance to try one of the first experimental virtual reality systems. I was excited about what this technology could do, but it’s now three decades later and I’ve not really seen a wellbeing application of VR that’s taken off.

What will have the biggest impact on spas?
Technology will continue to be the largest disruptor of human wellbeing – interfering with sleep, relationships, safety, work-life balance, physical movement and mindfulness. As that continues, the need and demand for quintessentially non-digital experiences will also grow.

Spas play an important role in the age of technology, giving people a place to disconnect, indulge in silence and receive touch and nurturing interactions with caring human beings. The increasing scarcity of these kinds of experiences makes them luxuries of the modern era.

What’s your hope for the industry?
I’m a big believer in the timeless aspects of spas so I’d say the spa of the future should look much like the spas of the past – a place that’s soothing and serves as an escape from the stresses of daily life, a multisensory experience. It will be somewhere that offers therapeutic modalities using heat, water and other natural elements, that provides a sense of slowness enabling guests to regather energy and that has nurturing, empathetic healers who guide people on their own path to wholeness.

Birthday message to Spa Business

"Spa Business is an incredible resource. I turn to it again and again for ideas, education and inspiration"

More from spa industry leaders...

In celebration of Spa Business’ 20th anniversary, industry leaders take a look at how far the sector has come since the magazine’s inception in 2003, share personal career highlights and reveal their plans and ideas for the future.

View next: Sue Harmsworth

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