Spa Mantra discusses with industry leaders the fundamentals required for a therapist to be employed at an integrated wellness center.
Today, many individuals opt for curative treatments services at recognized wellness centers and institutes that prove better and long lasting results as opposed to only an a short spa service. With the advent of such remedial demands from the wellbeing segment; trained, skilled and/or licensed staff is the sector’s biggest need of the hour. The quickest way out for holistic centers/institutes is to appoint and staff spa therapists and cross-train them. Therapists are acquainted with the anatomy of the body, however, there is still more ground left uncovered.
Industry experts and leaders Dr. Jayachandran Thampi, Director of Operations at Traya Wellness Center and Ajit Patel, Owner, Sanda Wellbeing confer in length the various rudiments of educational facilities & curriculum and staffing for a holistic center.
Scope for therapists
“In the recent times, the world has seen a huge increase in the demand for spa therapists all over the world. As Ayurveda and other holistic sciences are gaining more and more popularity, the demand for the therapists has been on the rise. As everyone in the industry is looking for excellence and accreditation, the requirement for trained, certified therapists becomes a must and hence the rise in demand for such programs/courses,” explains Patel.
On the other hand Dr. Thampi explains the advantages of a therapist choosing this career path. One could work and progress in this career as well as administration assistants and even in many cases as managers (administration).
Dr. Thampi and Patel believe that basic schooling + 2 is always preferable / mandatory in many institutes. Language proficiency with reading / writing capability is a must and minimal knowledge of English and Science is necessary. Patel also states, “…there is no job requirement or experience required for the enrollment in private training institutes.” Dr. Thampi says, “many treatment centers use staff of such caliber as assistants to the practitioners, since doctors lead the actual treatments most of the time.”
Knowledge of the therapists before being appointed Thampi throws some light on the syllabus delivered at an institute that helps therapists acquire a job at an integrated wellness center. Studies of human body (like anatomy, physiology, relevant disease conditions) are fundamental for certification. Besides all treatment techniques (Western and Indian including Ayurveda) must be part of the skill set knowledge. Product knowledge, preparation of specific herbal mixes, etc are also part of this requirement. Knowledge in Yoga/ exercise, etc always help to distinguish and excel.
“Most institutes also train therapists in practical aspects. Various kinds of treatments, preparation of basic requirements for the treatments, preparation of the treatment rooms, post and pre treatment procedures are taught to the students. Practical knowledge of every treatment is essential for the therapist so that when they come into practice they can be confident enough to do the treatment,” Patel articulates.
On the Education Front
Renowned Institutes supporting learning
Numerous wellness institutes today dedicate syllabi for countless practices and/ or therapies. “Learning of holistic wellness can be in two ways—as Ayurvedic Doctors or as Spa therapists. For training of Ayurvedic Doctors there are Ayurvedic Medical Colleges which run full fledged Ayurvedic Medical Degree Courses and are accredited or recognized by the CCIM & AYUSH departments in the Government of India,” explains Patel. He further says, “As for training of spa therapists, both the Ayurvedic Medical colleges as well as renowned Ayurvedic Spas conduct the required coursed which are generally accredited to the Local Health Department or to the CCIM & AYUSH departments in the Government of India. Some of the institutes get accredited to the International Spa Accreditation Boards as well.”
“Many centers do offer courses in Ayurvedic nursing. In addition there are central government promoted certifications (like BSS – a vocational training program run through affiliated centers) is also available. In addition most of the institutes (treatment centers) have their own training curriculum as well to refine the basic knowledge and skill set. Experience is a major factor in skill development.” Dr. Thampi avers. Website of BSS (Bharat Sevak Samaj) gives details of many centers issuing their certifications. (www.bssve.in).
Dr. Thampi and Patel mutually agree that there are many Government and Private institutes and training centers across various states in the country. Dr. Thampi says that there are many institutes issuing BSS Certificates and centers conducting therapist training programs on various levels. One of the most esteemed ones is the ‘Ananda Spa institute’ while many recognized centers in Kerala offer specific Ayurvedic nursing courses too.
India, Thailand, China, USA (especially California), Australia, Germany and many European countries have specific courses aimed at promoting therapist training programs.
It is said that there are two kinds of spa therapists at present in the industry; one – a group who’ve learnt therapies traditionally from their family members and the other group are those who have learnt it through training institutes. “Spa therapists who have learnt it traditionally can always go to an institute and get a certification so that their expertise is recognized. The certified therapist syllabi (which is generally a diploma/certificate course), can go deeper into fields of spa management and become spa managers which also an upcoming post within the segment,” Patel adds.