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The Digital Detoxification Treatment

By Carmelina Karas

How many of you are reading this from your phone? How many are reading from a laptop with wireless internet? How many have spent the day with a curved back and hunched shoulders staring at a screen, much like I am (admittedly!) doing right now? As humans, we crave connection to the outside world and our devices facilitate that connection. However, what effects do these potential negative electromagnetic pulses and improper postures have on our well-being?

As a society, it’s no surprise that we are using our devices more now than ever – both recreationally and vocationally. What if you had the chance to temporarily leave that all behind and focus on combating those achy muscles and joints, and the toxicity that has been building up day after day?

There is a spa treatment that is gaining popularity called the Digital Detoxification. The treatment uses shungite stones to shield the body from electromagnetic radiation, while a massage focusing on your head, eyes, neck, shoulders, hands and feet releases tension in muscles that get stiff while performing work in a seated position. How many of us can say we consistently sit at our desk or workstations with perfect posture?

Want some additional benefits? A Digital Detox will improve your blood pressure, relieve stress, and serve as a great release for those who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome. Sometimes the treatment is combined with essential oils like eucalyptus, lavender, bergamot, rose, and chamomile, which chosen to enhance the feeling of relaxation through aromatherapy.

You will leave the Digital Detox treatment mentally refreshed and ready for the next day at work. This treatments can last anywhere from 25 to 80 minutes and are offered at various salons and spas. Needless to say, there are no cell phones allowed in the room!

Local Flavour at the Spa

InterContinental Presidente Cozumel

When you visit a new country, are you the type of traveller who searches out familiar dishes or are you looking to try local delicacies? If you identify more strongly with the latter, you might appreciate these spa treatments featured at InterContinental Hotels & Resorts around the world. These regionally-inspired spa packages reflect the unique cultures that they are embedded in:

Cozumel, Mexico

The spa at InterContinental Presidente Cozumel Resort & Spa offers treatments that allow guests to experience the mystery and magic of Mayan culture, including the 170-minute Mayan Lovers Ritual. This treatment begins with a traditional Mayan Temazcal, a sweat lodge concept dating back centuries to when Mexico’s Mayan Rivera was wilderness and Mayan civilization was at the peak of its power. Guests embark on a private journey with their loved one while they relax in a generous soaking tub containing aromatic salts and essential oils, finished with a side-by-side massage.

Miami, United States

MySpa at InterContinental Miami introduces travelers to the wonders of citrus grown in the state with the Gentlemen’s Ginger-Lime Scrub. Men are invited to relax after a day of activities in the vitamin D-rich Florida sun, with this citrus treatment designed to calm and awaken all of their senses.

InterContinental San Juan

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Travelers can pamper themselves with an amazing combination of treatments that take them on a wellness journey at Akua Spa at InterContinental San Juan. The Caribbean Indulge treatment, inspired by the island, starts with a coconut sugar exfoliating scrub paying homage to one of Puerto Rico’s most popular foods, coconut, which is followed by a soothing mango wrap. The treatment ends with a relaxing Swedish massage or organic glow facial.

Cancun, Mexico

A treatment at InterContinental Presidente Cancun Resort’s Ikal Spa includes the Signature Mayan Honey Exfoliation that allows guests to pamper themselves in a delightful blend of local honey and fresh yogurt. The experience melts tension away and instantly revives dry skin. The locally produced Mayan honey is recognized for its extra sweetness and health benefits.


Massage: The Good, The Bad, and The Funky

By Heather West

I remember my first massage vividly. It was almost 20 years ago. I was in the midst of planning a conference and my CEO at the time could see the stress building. She asked if I’d ever had a massage and when she found out I hadn’t, she recommended a trip to her therapist, conveniently located two doors down from our office.

That massage was transformative. Not only did it relieve the tension I was feeling; it turned me into a massage junkie. It became the first of many, many massages. I’m a sucker for the whole scene now. I love the soothing soundtrack, aroma of essential oils, and the sound of trickling water when I walk in. Even before I get my massage, I feel the tension begin to slip away, and I’m like a kid in a candy store waiting for my turn.

I have had a lot of wonderful experiences, a few mediocre ones and one doozy that will be forever etched in my brain. In most cases, I dread the end. I always wish the therapist would lose track of time and I would get away with a few extra minutes. However, on the occasion of my worst massage, I was watching the clock waiting for it to end.

I was at a high-end retreat with my mother and sisters. We’d been looking forward to our get away for some time. We were giddy filling out our information on the clip boards waiting to see who would be greeted and taken into their room first.

I should have known when the gentleman who greeted me arrived with bare feet. In my Zen state of mind, I shrugged it off. That was until I laid face down on the table with his feet directly below me. No amount of essential oil would mask that odour. It’s not very relaxing to hold your breath during a massage, but that’s what I did until he moved out of that position. The smell was still there, but at least it wasn’t directly below me.

Then there was the temperature in the room. When I first walked in, I commented on how cold it was. It was winter. The window was wide open. Even with many layers of blankets, I was freezing. I mentioned it again, but he still didn’t close the window. I started to seize up.

The kicker was his massage technique. I always request a full-body massage. I don’t have any issues, so I don’t have special requirements or need “therapy.” However, he started to twist and contort my body in really physically uncomfortable and unusual ways. I felt like an athlete being prepped for the Olympic trials. I asked him what he was doing, but by this point, I was so flabbergasted, I don’t even recall what he said. Although, I do know that it wasn’t anything along the lines of, “Oh, I’m sorry. Would you like me to stop?” Or, “What technique would you prefer?”

It was the longest 60-minute massage I’ve ever had. It created tension that wasn’t even there when I arrived. Thankfully, that tension melted away when I regaled my mother and sisters with the story over wine and peals of laughter.

Heather West, principal of Fresh Communications, is an executive communication consultant and writer who helps leaders and organizations build trust with effective communications. She can be reached at, by phone at 416-884-5741, or email at 


Nominations Now Open for 2016 Canadian Spa & Wellness Awards



Awards program continues to celebrate best of Canadian spa industry

Monday, September 19, 2016 – Spa Inc. magazine, in partnership with the Spa Industry Association of Canada (SIAC), is pleased to announce that nominations are now open for the 2016 Canadian Spa and Wellness Awards. The annual spa awards program celebrates creative and innovative spas, industry partners and educators that make the Canadian spa and wellness industry great.

Last year’s awards were a resounding success, with spas across Canada celebrating their awards through social media. Top New Spa winner iwa Spa included their award title on a billboard in Collingwood. “[This award] really gives us the validation that we’re on the right track,” said iwa Spa founder Michelle Udell.

Spa Inc. and SIAC are incredibly pleased with the success of this awards program, and thrilled to have the opportunity to once again honour the best of Canada’s spa industry,” says Susan A. Browne, publisher of Spa Inc. magazine. “I wish the best of luck to each nominee for the 2016 awards.”

Nominations for the Canadian Spa and Wellness Awards will close October 4, 2016. The nine award categories are as follows: Top 25 Spas, Top Destination Spa, Top New Spa, Top Day Spa, Top Medi-Spa, Top Sanitas Spa, Consumers Choice, Education and Top Spa Partner. The winners will be announced in early November. Please follow us on Twitter @SpaIncMag for future awards news and follow the hashtag #CdnSpaAwards.

Participate by either nominating or supporting excellence through sponsorship opportunities.
For more information, nomination queries or sponsorship package information, please visit or contact us at:

About Spa Inc.
Spa Inc. is the only bilingual Spa magazine in Canada reaching spa owners and the clients they serve with the latest trends, products and services. Valued by spa professionals and distributors as a comprehensive resource, our loyal audience frequently turn to Spa Inc. for the latest in the spa and wellness industry across Canada and abroad. To learn
more, please visit

About Spa Industry Association of Canada (SIAC)
As Canada’s national spa organization, Spa Industry Association of Canada (SIAC) provides support for the development of the Canadian spa industry and the promotion of Canada as the finest spa destination in the world. Led by a dedicated Board of Directors from across the country, SIAC represents the broad spectrum of the spa experience, from resort and day spas, destination, mineral springs spas to medical spas, schools and suppliers. To learn more about Spa Industry Association of Canada, please see

Spa Strategies: Q&A with Avenue Skin Care

Part two from my trip to Avenue Skin Care! In this quick Q&A, Medical Skin Care Specialist Erica Savoie tells me about their top treatments, marketing strategy and tools for attracting clients!

By: Jodee Cave

Q: When was Avenue Skin Care established?

A: About 2 years ago, but Susan Shirriff (Medical Skin Care Specialist and Business Owner) has been in the industry for about 20 years. She began working with a plastic surgeon and then branched out to form Avenue Skin Care.

Q: Would you classify yourself as a medi spa?

A: Very much so! We are all about results and finding the right tools to help our clients with their skin issues.

Q: What is your most popular treatment at the moment?

A: IPL laser treatment. We use Forever Young BroadBand Lighting (BBL). It’s amazing! It actually changes the way your cells grow. It’s great for many different skin issues like brown spots, redness, broken capillaries and it also boosts collagen production and tightens skin.

Q: What age are the clients who choose this treatment?

A: I would say about the 30+ age range, but it really depends on the client and the skin issue.

Q: How does the procedure work?

A: The laser uses heat and radio frequency technology to stimulate trauma in the skin, which then helps to rebuild collagen and elastin.

Q: What tools do you find most effective when promoting Avenue Skin Care to potential clients?

A: We get the majority of our clients from referrals believe it or not. Word of mouth is a very powerful tool!

Q: Do you do any other forms of marketing?

A: Well, we just had an open house this week and that was fantastic! We had demos, skin analysis for education and product recommendation. It was very successful.

Q: Do you do any social networking or e-marketing?

A: We do monthly e-newsletters and send out e-blasts. We also do special offers and monthly promos to help boost interest in new procedures for new seasons. For spring, we may promote the Oxygen face masks. We also like to do video tours and tutorials to showcase the office and bring it to the clients, rather than waiting for them to come in and see it themselves.

Spa Talk: The Personalities of Spa Professionals

“What I look for in an RMT is different from what I look for in an esthetician. They’re skilled trades and there’s a particular type of person who becomes, for example, an RMT,” says Kim Assar, the spa operations manager at eforea spa at Hilton Toronto/Markham Suites Conference Center. This 5,000-square-foot spa is the first eforea brand spa in Canada and the fourteenth in the world.

What does it take to work in a spa like this? We spoke with Assar about some of the characteristics she looks for when hiring someone new.


“Anyone with customer service experience can come in and be the front line. This will be an area of high turnover because it’s often a part time job for people. However, the concierge position is the most likely to move into management and to succeed in management. You pick concierge that you can groom. That shows a level of excitement and spirit and motivation. Sometimes they come to you with a hospitality background, but that’s just an extra perk on top of the enthusiasm and the excitement we want to see.”

Registered Massage Therapist (RMT)

“Their demeanor is typically very calm. They care very much about people which is standard in the industry, but in a serene way. You want to go into a massage and it needs to be a relaxing experience. They have a different personality, in general, because you can’t have a loud and rambunctious person giving you a therapeutic or relaxing experience.”


“An esthetician also cares a lot about the guest but they have to be motivated, go-getters and have a bubbly personality. They also have to be strong retailers. That’s where you’re going to drive your sales is through the estheticians so they have to be self motivating. They should be very driven but still compassionate because they need to build a rapport. They have to be incredibly personable. If they’re doing a manicure or pedicure, they’re talking with the guest, but during a massage that doesn’t happen as often.”

Read our full story on eforea spa at Hilton on the Spa Inc. website.


spAWARDS 2013

By Keri LaPlante

Picture 4Planning an event like the spAWARDS Gala is no easy task. With only a small portion in my care, I am in awe of those who managed to pull everything together. These great gift bags and all the fantastic swag that went in them are one example of all the finer touches that made the night so special.

Tea, cream, nail polish and so much more from Beauty Pro, HydroPeptide, emerginC, iLike Organic, Trind, Makes Scents, Sahara Tea and Environ had the staff at our office constantly asking, “Soooooo will there be any leftovers?” Sorry girls (and guys), but these products were snapped up by the spa elite who attended our event.

A selection of wine Wine2compliments of Wineries of Niagara on the Lake made unwinding from our hectic week of preparing all that much easier. I personally enjoyed a very flavourful, but down to earth red. A great companion to the hors d’oeuvres especially the Petite Filet on Potato Rosti with Horseradish Crème Fraĩche. One bite and I was reminded of the best steak dinner I have ever had. And don’t get me started on the Parmigiana Cup with Goat Cheese Mousse.

It was a perfect evening, and judging by these pictures, everyone else felt the same. I can’t wait for next year and hope to see as many happy faces then!

having a laugh

Ladies of Spa Inc. having a laugh


The Book4Time folks letting off some steam and getting a little wacky







Guests having fun and goofing off



Susan A. Browne and Roger Sholanki handing out an award





Massage manners 101: the bare facts



 By Kim Cristini

We all have our guilty pleasures. For some it may be reality tv; others can’t resist the allure of chocolate. For me, it’s always been indulging in massages.  I find nothing more relaxing than immersing myself in the tranquility of a spa knowing that for the next hour my thoughts, cares, and pains will be replaced by the sounds of a synthesized ocean and dim lights, while the knots in my back are erased. I’ve made it a personal custom to feed my guilt as often as possible, both at home and on my travels.

This being said, I wrestle with a peculiar predicament from time to time and would appreciate your opinions on the subject. When going for a massage, do you take everything off or leave the underwear on??

Personally, I want an uninterrupted experience. I find it annoying and awkward when the wave of muscle and flesh that is bulldozing every kink, in one fluid motion from my shoulder blade to my calf, is interrupted by the masseuse stopping to adjust the side of my undies. For that reason I’ve always opted to go completely bare.

My curiosity drove me to research the topic, which in turn left me further perplexed. Online, the great knickers debate rages on. Pro: personal comfort. Con: oil stains on your lacy bits. The list is exhaustive.

I can’t help but think about the masseuse. Is my going bare uncomfortable for them, or is it a standard occupational hazard? Either way, there are no set rules.

I need answers. Let me know what you think! Help end my skivvies guilt for once and for all!