Guest Author - Chris McBeath
In the ever-evolving spa and wellness industry, men now comprise the fastest-growing type of spa consumer. Almost one in three spa patrons are men; that percentage is even higher at spas that push bona fide outdoor activities.
British journalist and author Mark Simpson once coined a term for this testosterone-fuelled trend, making metrosexuality virtually mainstream. To the uninitiated, metrosexual is the buzz word used to describe the hip, urban heterosexual male who waxes, exfoliates and uses expensive facial products which hitherto has been considered strictly feminine. Embraced by celebrities such as soccer player David Beckham and musician Ricky Martin, the term has even entered the political realm when one sardonic journalist suggested that President Bush was in need of a metrosexual makeover!
Men are Big Business
While many men may not be metrosexual by definition, there’s an increasing number who are showing metrosexual tendencies, and a willingness to indulge themselves --whether it’s springing for an Armani suit or spending a couple of hours at a spa. In fact, according to beauty analysts, men’s grooming in the United States is a $10 billion a year industry and even more burgeoning in trend-setting Europe. Global statistics talk about it topping the $33 billion mark in the next three years!
Manly Spa Services
The result is that more and more spas are catering to men specifically. Spas that originally catered to women are including men’s days, décor is becoming gender neutral or more ‘earthy’ in tone, with accessories – men’s magazines and products, offered in men-only changing and waiting areas, men-only steam rooms, and masculine-oriented treatments with male-appealing descriptions such as ‘manlicure’ instead of manicure. Spas advertise regularly in men’s magazine, are equipped to host bachelor parties, and are aggressively marketing to men with double ‘referral points’ to customers who refer new male clients and promotions encouraging women to bring in their spouses/boyfriends. Couples massage rooms are a must-have in any spa these days and are essential for turning our masculine partners on to the benefits of professional spa massages. Body scrubs, exfoliating facials and waxing soon follow.
As spas – and men - become increasingly geared to overall health and wellness, their appeal extends far beyond pampering, especially if a spa destination has packed its recuperative services with hiking, mountaineering, fishing and other eco-adventures.
Men are discovering that spa treatments can make an immediate impact to their state of well being, helping them to feel younger, increasing their range of motion, improving their flexibility, circulation and therefore boosting their performance in the board room as well as on the golf course. It used to be that the male spa-goer rarely experienced a treatment beyond the sports massage and although that is still the most popular service, today, men are doing it up with facials, pedicures, and body wraps. They’re finding the confidence to spa alone as a stress-release getaway, and take full advantage of a spa destination’s fitness and workout rooms, the spa cuisine and other health-oriented pursuits. In essence, spas are no longer only about luxury. And it seems that as with so many things in history, what goes around, eventually comes around. Spas are no longer a woman’s domain.
My Last Word
A couples massage is a great way to introduce your honey to the spa experience, since they will have an immediate ‘feel good’ and therapeutic benefit. And for your next holiday? Consider an adventure or wilderness spa for your next getaway. It’s probably the purist form of vacation you will ever experience, and sure beats the beach, beer and burn holiday of yesteryear in terms of a complete recuperative experience.