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Massage Today
January, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 01

News in Brief

By Editorial Staff

A Walk to Better Health

Bastyr University, an educational institute in Kenmore, Wash., that offers degree programs in acupuncture and Oriental medicine, naturopathic medicine, nutrition, and other health science disciplines, has opened what is believed to be the first publicly available traditional reflexology healing path in the nation.

The path, which officially opened in September, was designed by Elizabeth Marazita, a licensed acupuncturist and doctoral student at Bastyr, and funded by Helen Higgen, a long-time friend and supporter of the university.

While reflexology paths may be few and far between in the United States, they are common in parks and gardens throughout Asia. "Just as we know what a football field is, everybody in China knows what a reflexology path is," Marazita explained.

The path at Bastyr was created to coincide with the principles of reflexology, which links health and well-being to points on the feet, hands and ears. The path is three feet wide and 64 feet long, and was constructed using local river rocks placed in cement; it is located at the edge of Bastyr's medicinal herb garden behind the university campus. Among the path's signature features are a concrete entrance with the words "Walk of Health" carved in Chinese, and a circular emblem that pays tribute to the five Chinese elements: Water, Earth, Wood, Metal and Fire.

In addition to serving the public, the path will also be used as a practical lab for reflexology coursework in Bastyr's natural medicine program, making it the first educational facility of its kind in the United States.

Spa Sanitation: Does Yours Pass the Test?

It may not be something we like to think about, but let's face it: spa sanitation is a prevalent concern among both spa professionals and spa goers. Spa Secure, an international benchmarking and licensing program that ensures professional spa excellence, recently issued a list of the top six spa sanitation errors found during recent site visits.

"Typically, spa directors and owners are nervous when we physically go through their site to look for sanitation issues, licensure and scope of practice given each technician's licensure training, education and skill sets," said Melinda Minton, executive director of Spa Secure. "However, even spas that are going the extra mile to do everything correctly are missing the mark when it comes to a few basic considerations."

Those sanitation issues that "missed the mark" include:

  • Nail care tools that cannot be sterilized, including nail files, porous buffing stones and toe separators are being used multiple times without taking proper sanitation steps.
  • Hair bowls are not being properly cleaned.
  • Waxing pots are not being properly maintained; wood sticks are being "double-dipped" and used for more than one application.
  • Linen and bedding on treatment tables is not being consistently changed between clients, occurring primarily with blankets, duvets, comforters, bolsters and similar items.
  • Proper sanitation is not being maintained in spa flooring, including tile, bamboo and jute floors, and rugs and carpets.
  • As harbingers of germs and bacteria, wet rooms need extra attention; however storage surfaces, implements, equipment, flooring and mats, and reuse of materials are also problematic areas.

"I think that spas want to provide a clean, safe environment for their clients. We have spoken to many spas that put a lot of attention and money into keeping their facility clean. Raising awareness in the industry is a perfect solution to enhancing the standards at spas for the benefit of our industry as well as the consumers served," Minton noted.

For more information about Spa Secure, visit


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