Beauty therapists benefit in many ways from the opportunities available for those working for a spa business.
Working for a Spa Resort
Firstly, the spa resort is the ideal place to begin your career as a therapist. This is because larger businesses recruit more frequently than smaller ones and employ newly qualified therapists just as often as those that have already gained experience, enabling those fresh from college to get their foot firmly on the first step of the career ladder.
All new staff will have an induction and orientation which will be provided by the training manager or one of the training therapists that will ensure you’re competent and confident before you start work on the visiting guests. Training in several product brands will give you a vast range of available treatments to offer, as well as product knowledge, therefore allowing you to start building a professional portfolio with the certificates attained.
Even experienced therapists enjoy returning to a spa environment to work as there is such a variety of treatments to perform, as well as a multiplicity of products to use, allowing those wanting to aim high the opportunity to focus upon their career goals. There are targets to be met, and rewards to be earned, through sales and positive feedback. There will be perks like product incentives, retail incentives, use of spa pool/gym after hours, discount for friends and family and discount on products.
Large health farms may enter trade awards so you might find a judge is one of your many clients, or a journalist writing articles for spa getaways. These destination spas are often located in tranquil locations in the countryside, so driving far to work may be imperative. Alternatively they may offer local staff accommodation with mini bus pickups for those therapists relocating from their home.
What to Expect Working in the Spa
- There is no doubt you need to be physically fit and mentally on-the-ball; the client turn-around is often back to back so the ability to plan ahead, prep rooms and be punctual is a must.
- Stamina is essential, with good physical health, as massage is the dominant treatment overall in the spa.
- Massage workshops are a great idea as they allow therapists to pick up new techniques and practice alternative massage movements. These can incorporate the forearms and elbows, thus reducing pressure on thumbs and wrists, thus reducing the risk of RSI (Repetitive strain injury).
- Hand and wrist exercises should be done religiously as this can also prevent injury to our most precious tools - our hands. The treatments performed will be the ultimate in luxury and effectiveness. There will be a vast range of both traditional, holistic and spa focused treatments. Massages include the traditional Swedish, eastern Balinese and the exotic Lomi Lomi, a Hawaiian wave massage, among others.
- Some spas develop their own signature massages, incorporating four hands. The hot stone face and body treatment uses heat retaining basalt stone to massage, similarly poultice massage combines warm herb poultices to relax muscles and give a feeling of bliss.
- Facials may incorporate healing mud masks, caviar rich creams, exotic oils, collagen infused masks or lava shells.
- Body treatments are divine, with lush body scrubs, sweet smelling oils and marine active or anti-cellulite targeted ingredients. Vichy showers could be available as well as dry floatation beds, to give that extra feel of luxury. Holistic therapies such as reflexology, hopi ear candling, reiki and chakra balancing may also be offered, however this may require additional studies for the therapist to undertake at their own choosing.
Opportunities at Luxury Health Spas
There are many beautiful spas worldwide and having a luxurious health spa on your CV in the UK will propel you further into other worldwide spa positions. Willow Stream operate spas within the hotel chain Fairmont, and have two hotels in the UK so working nationally may be the ideal place to begin your worldwide spa career. Interestingly, the Fairmont also has two hotels on the island of Bermuda; the Hamilton Princess - in the city, and the resort - the Southampton Princess. Bermuda is short on local beauty therapists, thus recruiting experienced professionals from Europe and the US. Tuckers Point Resort and Spa is the most prestigious on the island. This newly opened spa offers a tropical lifestyle for therapists employed there.
Other hotel chains worldwide are Relais and Châteaux, Marriott, and the Hilton hotel to name but a few. Alternatively if you wish to get away from the sun and tropical climates, the Blue Lagoon in Iceland offers geothermal spa therapies, including locally-discovered silica mud, which soothes and treats psoriasis skin conditions. This opportunity may be seasonal, and only available in the summer months, but is only a short flight from the UK and a good place to start if family want to visit for a weekend. The luxurious Mandara Spa operates worldwide spa resorts, full of eastern promise, in countries like United Arab Emirates, Maldives, Indonesia, Hawaii and India.
Therapists must obtain their own work permits before being offered such positions, but therapists will delight in the new experience of treatments that have an eastern twist, furthering skills and knowledge for the eager professional. After building up your treatment experience you will most likely be promoted to a senior role, and could have some input into developing treatment packages, helping with recruitment selection and assisting the spa manager with the smooth running of the spa.
Advancement to Spa Management
If you wish to move up into management or training, additional courses can be achieved at local colleges, to develop managerial skills or attain teaching certificates. These courses will develop your knowledge and skills in the area. Additionally these skills can be put to good use when working on luxury liners. As an on-board spa therapist, teaching skills can be utilised during demonstration hours, where you teach, inform and demonstrate facial or body treatments, with the aim of achieving bookings. During passenger drills you will be required to instruct the correct wearing of the life jacket or how to abandon ship. These skills give you the experience of standing up and talking to people, building confidence in yourself and the way you present yourself. After a couple of contracts you may have the opportunity to become spa assistant manager, then spa manager. This will really excel your CV, so when returning to land-based spas you will most certainly have the advantage when training positions become vacant.
After achieving a wealth of knowledge of therapies, both traditional and exotic, instructing and demonstrating, managing staff, producing rotas, dealing with difficulties and motivating your on-board or abroad spa team, you may well find yourself in one of many resorts, day or hotel spas that the UK has, in the capacity of spa manager or spa director. Making the most of your earlier opportunities, developing a progressive career and working in worldwide spa resorts will make you an ideal candidate for this role.
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