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Massage Today
June, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 06

New Educational Opportunities for Massage Therapists

By Tina Beychok, Associate Editor

The International SPA Association, the ISPA Foundation and the American Hotel & Lodging Association Educational Institute are launching a collegiate course, a scholarship, grants and textbooks, all in an effort to better educate current and future spa staff.

"The spa industry is very labor intensive, and one of the biggest challenges is finding qualified employees.

In the United States alone, 72 percent of spas had open positions in 2007,"said ISPA Foundation President Edwin Neill III. "Through the curriculum being developed by the ISPA Foundation, we are turning the labor challenge into an opportunity to create generations of well-trained staff that will lead the industry into the future."

A new introductory-level course will teach those interested in a spa career all about the industry. It will include the new textbook Spa: A Comprehensive Introduction. The course, available starting this fall, will explore the history and philosophy of spas, examine the current state of the industry and introduce students to spa careers. The text also includes a typical day from a spa director's perspective, explores the qualities of an outstanding spa experience and discusses various industry trends.

"The Educational Institute is pleased to work with the ISPA Foundation to offer materials that address the education needs of this fast-growing segment of the hospitality industry," said George Glazer, MHS, senior vice president of the Educational Institute. "Post-secondary hospitality programs that want to stay competitive will be very interested in these new spa-specific textbooks and supplemental materials."

In addition to the course, there are two other texts available. Retail Management for Spas discusses retail planning, inventory management, maximizing profits, sales and service, visual merchandising and marketing. Uniform System of Financial Reporting for Spas provides a system that gives spa operators the tools to measure, compare and report on the financial health of their business. ISPA also provides a variety of other educational tools including a spa operations manual, a risk management program and a supervisory skill builders program.

Educational endowment opportunities also have expanded with the Dr. Howard Murad Research Grant and the Ruth Stricker Spa & Wellness Award. The Murad grant offers financial assistance to those conducting research that addresses stress, its effects and ways to manage it. The Ruth Stricker Spa & Wellness Award offers financial assistance to stimulate research into the various ways spas can meet current health care needs, promote wellness and enhance quality of life.

For more information about these programs and opportunities for involvement, please visit


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