Fountain of Youth

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More kids and teens are heading to the spa for the same wellness benefits adults seek.

By Laura Carson Miller and Linda Domingo

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The spa was once an adults-only domain, remaining a mystery to those under 18. Massages, facials, scrubs and other services were geared toward women and men looking to unwind after a long week of work, or to escape from everyday stress. But while many spa treatments are designed to help guests maintain and enhance their natural qualities, the demographic of spa-goers is expanding to kids and teens as many spas shift their focus from indulgence to overall wellness. Condé Nast Traveler cited treatments for kids as one of the hot trends for spas in 2013.

“Over the last decade, the biggest trend at spas is a shift from fussy, grown-up ‘pampering’ to wellness programs for all age groups,” says Susie Ellis, president of SpaFinder Wellness. Her company has recognized spa treatments becoming a family affair as a growing trend.

Many spas are developing targeted treatments and activities to address the needs of this growing demographic. Not only do moms who love to spa enjoy sharing these experiences with their daughters, but kids and teens are discovering the fun in treating themselves and learning a thing or two about wellness along the way. “I consider everyone on our spa team a coach,” says Donna Mastrianni, director of Spa and Salon at Sea Island.

On a spa visit, young guests can learn about fitness, nutrition, skin care, applying makeup and even dealing with stress. “With that shift [toward wellness] and a growing concern about multiple aspects of children’s health, more parents are open to introducing teens, tweens and even tots to the spa/wellness/fitness world at ever earlier ages,” Ellis says.

Offers where a teen can bring a friend and choose two services, as well as feature packages for moms and teens, are becoming more frequent on spa menus. Facials and nail services are consistently popular with the younger generation, but many teens are venturing out to experience such services as foot reflexology, fitness, nutrition and creating their own scented products at special do-it-yourself blending stations.

How young is too young to spa? “Because more spas are moving towards this kind of wellness approach for kids from the earliest ages, I would say depending on the type of treatment/experience, children are never too young for a spa,” Ellis says. If you’re interested in spa experiences for your child, check with the spa ahead of time to see what services it offers for the younger crowd, and what ages are most appropriate for those services.

 

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