As the Founder and Director of the Bali International Spa Academy, an accredited CIBTAC, VTCT and ITEC training center in Bali, potential students frequently inquire about the opportunities and challenges of becoming a successful male spa therapist. Twelve years ago when I opened the school’s doors my reply would have been quite different than what it is today. Even though over 80% of spa therapists are still females, the options for a male spa therapist are growing quickly and the career avenues more diverse than ever. Why do I say this?
In virtually every corner of the world, the spa and wellness industry is booming. That’s the good news. The bad news for spas, salons and related businesses is that finding and keeping qualified staff is a huge headache. According to the Global Wellness Institute, in 2018 an estimated 2.8 million people will be employed by spas worldwide, and an additional 400,000 trained spa therapists and 70,000 spa managers/directors will be needed by the industry in 2020. In the US spa industry alone, there are currently over 30,000 vacant positions as per a report published by the International Spa Association. Almost daily I receive inquiries from international firms seeking Balinese therapists and often there is no gender preference.
So, an accredited male spa therapist has so many more options to choose from given this shortage of skilled talent.
Reason Two: Perceptions of a Male Spa Therapist are Evolving
Even a decade ago, many female massage enthusiasts would be reluctant to choose a male spa therapist for fear of possible sexual overtones. With the surge in regular female spa goers, today therapist preferences are no longer solely based on gender, but more on a professional’s experience and quality of delivery.
Spa patronage among males has been rising at the same time, heralding new opportunities for savvy spa marketers. It is true that for male spa therapists, there can be homophobic issues in a few countries. Yet, as I’ll discuss below there are a rising array of niche markets where male spa therapists will find themselves in demand by both men and women in any region.
Reason Three – Market Diversification
With wellness taking centre stage, many people now view massage as therapeutic versus a purely relaxing, pampering treat for the body. Hence, people are trying out different bodywork treatments, such as Thai, Shiatsu, Stone, Ayurvedic, Balinese, among many others, in order to suit their own wellness goals. If a male spa therapist can demonstrate proficiency in one or more of these modalities, they are more likely to gain loyal customers. Many medical spas offer such treatments and psychologically-wise clients are more receptive to receiving services by a male spa therapist in this type of environment.
Furthermore, athletes have always readily accepted a male spa therapist with qualifications in sports massage and related fields. They just want to prevent or overcome an injury no matter the sex of their therapists. So, this is a specialist field with a guaranteed return on investment for males given the current fitness rage.
Similarly, foot and hand reflexology are gaining in popularity, and therapist preferences are generally gender neutral.
If demand for spa therapists is a serious problem, then the situation is amplified by the need for well-rounded spa managers and directors. These roles do not depend so much on technical expertise, but on the managerial skills required to achieve business sustainability. Males and females with the requisite education will quickly discover an abundance of job offers. If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, then use your commercial acumen and experience to open your own spa or holistic wellness centre.
‘Bali International Spa Academy’ Male Spa Therapist Stories
The percentage of male students has been on the rise and we have been encouraged by their achievements.
Learning the Ins and Outs of Spa Management
Dr Abdullah had been part of a large scale medical spa in the Middle East for several years, but had to admit that his managerial skills were quite poor. He spent five informative days with myself and left with a strong degree of self-confidence. Read more of his story here.
A Logical Progression ……… Physiotherapy complemented by Sports Massage
After a 15 year career as an Event Manager, Dutchman Ron Oudshoorm started a new career as a physiotherapist. To further enhance his wellness career he completed BISA’s Sports Massage course and is now on the next step of his career journey.
and Related Treatments
Jakarta – based William Huandra had been a CrossFit athlete for five years, and is now a coach and personal trainer. To provide more assistance to his clients, he decided to learn sports massage and specific treatments to address the physical problems commonly associated with personal exercise and competitive physical activities. The use of electrical equipment, natural healing accessories, and hot and cold stones, will give William the ability to deliver a personalized treatment plan.
Learning sports massage and related treatments will help springboard your career in the booming health and wellness field.
Prabhu Swaminathan told his BISA trainers that he can’t believe how quickly his twenty years working as a massage therapist around the world has flown by. He credits it to the deep satisfaction he receives from helping people to de-stress from the realities of modern life. It is this passion which keeps him continually expanding his portfolio of knowledge and skills.
He choose BISA’s 5-day Balinese Massage course in order to give his clients in India and the Caribbean a taste of Bali. With his background, he easily picked up the techniques that make this massage so unique and therapeutic.
A Passion for Science and Sports Leads Lorenzo to Master Foot Reflexology
Wishing to embrace something new to give back to his fellow Italians, Lorenzo believed that reflexology was the perfect solution. Its foundation is based on the correlation of zones on the feet to internal organs, systems and bones. Like science, this complex relationship can initially be quite daunting, but intense study leads to clarity. This all appealed to Lorenzo’s logical mind, as well as his love of sports which is typically tough on our feet. Reflexology not only improves over-all health, but is a great way to pamper tired feet.
These are just a few examples of how men can achieve success in the wonderful world of wellness. If you have any questions, I would be happy to address them by e-mail.
Founder and Director
Bali International Spa Academy