The Psychology of Spas & Wellbeing

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



The spa industry defines itself as offering services for the enhancement of well-being across body, mind and spirit. There is some scientific support for the therapeutic effects of spa services physiologically, but the impact on mind and spirit has not been broadly addressed in the health literature. I review literature from the field of psychology to show a variety of ways that spas may have an effect on the psychological health and well-being of their consumers. Spas create healing environments and experiences that are enjoyable, conducive to relaxation, and that take into account the holistic nature of human health. The nurturing touch, relaxation, and stress-relief offered at spas facilitate the activation of the body and mind’s own self-healing systems. The impact of a spa experience is even greater when it provides an educational component to change lifestyle behaviors that effect health and happiness on a long-term basis. Recent research from the field of positive psychology suggests new ways that spas could enhance their offerings to encourage these positive changes. Spa professionals can use this research to better understand the mechanisms behind the services they offer and to extend their impact even further into the mind and spirit domains of well-being.


spa, mind-body, wellness, holistic, touch


Health/Wellness, Well-Being/Flourishing


Literature Review

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Date Posted: 19 December 2014