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Book review:Getting Great Spa by Katherine Stolle
Spa Mantra checks out the newest spa book on the block

This is quite a comprehensive book penned by Kathryn Stolle. It is evident that she has gone on through the stages of an interested party to a willing party to a seriously committed party and finally to a Spa diva. This aspect makes the book a must-have for anybody who wants to make wellness a way of life. Her experience of having been through what she has written about makes the whole book very authentic. Luckily, there are just enough details an avid spa goer would look for and not more. There are plenty of books already available on the why’s and how’s in the spa industry filled with pages and pages of technical basis. Most of these are targeted at therapists. However, this book has been targeted at the prospective spa guest wherein the science and etiquettes behind spas are presented in an easily understandable, logical and fun way. The anecdotes that have been peppered through the pages make for an interesting read.
The book starts off on the right note by defining what a ‘spa’ is, what are the types, how to identify them and a little note on the associations behind the spas of today. Once this got out of the way, the next important part of how to identify ‘the’ spa for you in terms of services, expertise, pricing, etc. is clearly elucidated with practical tips on how to make the best of your visit to the spa. This section simply answers all the questions that a spa novice has and instantly tells you how to take control of your experience. The dedicated section on Spa for men is a sure shot attention grabber with researched based claims that extols spas for improving sex life!! – a welcome side effect in today’s desperate times. For those men who are still not using the spa – well the rest of the book talks of what all you are missing on.
It is indeed thoughtful to have dedicated an entire chapter to massage since the majority of spa revenue still comes from the good old massage. The benefits and contraindications of massage is a must know for a spa customer. While this is good for most men, the women too can have their bases covered by reading up on the skin basics, facials (an entire chapter) and basic yet effective skin care to keep you looking young for a long, long time. The pillars of skin care – cleanse, moisturise and protect from sun are emphasised enough and hold good to this day. While the section on hydro (water) therapy is decently explained the section on body scrubs, wraps and masks are short and sweet. So is the section on nails and hair.
The section on medical spas (85% of which sprung up after the year 2000 only) has de-constructed this space. All the important techniques and recent advancements for enhancing beauty – skin enhancement and hair removal have been clearly presented. Wellness in spas and the ingress of integrated medicine has been given equal importance though. This clearly sends out the signal that while wellness can be built through time tested therapies, modern science and equipment based modalities can definitely produce tangible and repeatable results. The growing synergy between Spas and Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is the future of spas. The numbers make it a mouth-watering proposition for anybody with an entrepreneurial spirit. Here are a few:
• Wellness is an over 1 trillion dollar sector (I won’t call it an industry since wellness is very personalized).
• Wellness tourism is twice (106B $) the size of medical tourism (50B $).
• People spending on wellness do it on their own while insurance covers medical reasons. This number is growing annually. Can anybody sense a demand-supply gap here?
• The ideas on integrating technology and wellness and the last section on the wellness doyens makes for interesting read and re-inforces on how lucky we are to be living in these times when everything is available so easily that it would be a pity if we did not make use of all this to lead a truly meaning full life.
Before I sign off, I have a grouse though. The e-copy of the book I received did not have the picture of the author. Having read the book, I was truly expecting to see the image of a radiant, compassionate, and loving personality that Katheryn Stolle seems to be. I will save this excitement for the time when I meet her in person. Adios and be happy and well.

Review by | Dr Rajesh Srinivas

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