A new massage-on-demand company could disrupt the spa industry, in a good way.

The Spa Space mobile app breaks the traditional spa model that requires a massage therapist to adhere to a spa’s menu of services. Instead, with Spa Space the client chooses from individual therapists’ specialties.

This allows the client to experience new and varied bodywork, moves the spa beyond a static menu—and puts the massage therapist in charge of the modalities they provide. Spas that use Spa Space can expect to save money that would have been spent on activities like writing treatment menus and HR functions.

“We were missing the opportunity to celebrate the individual uniqueness and expert modalities of therapists,” the app’s creator, Ilana Alberico, told MASSAGE Magazine. “The ultimate goal is that the clients are going to have great treatments, but at the end of the day, this entire platform is really about empowering therapists.”

Alberico has more than 20 years’ experience in the spa industry. She is a former massage therapist who now leads boutique wellness-design and spa-management firm ISM Spa, luxury skin care line Privai, and Spa Space Chicago, an urban day spa.

Ilana Alberico

She said that in creating Spa Space she intended to put more power in massage therapists’ hands while helping a bigger roster of such lesser-known specialties as lomilomi, CranioSacral Therapy, Rolfing and shiatsu “to have their day in the sun” and become more widely known within the resort spa community.

Adina Clark, General Manager of Spa Space Chicago, said the spa’s guests feel like they are getting what they want rather than having to choose from a rigid menu, and “therapists love that they are being celebrated for their passion and the chosen focus of their profession.”

Massage therapists using the Spa Space app may work as few or many hours as desired, can expect to earn base pay of at least $50 plus additional gratuity per session, and are not held to any noncompete agreement—so, since typically about 50% of a resort spas guests are locals, the app could create more visibility for therapists’ personal brand and business, said Alberico.

“We have unlocked the door and we’ve opened access to this whole new world of clientele at a resort spa setting,” she said.

Karen Menehan is MASSAGE Magazine’s editor in chief-print and digital. Her recent articles include “Small-Business Safety: Lessons in Rebounding from COBID-19, from a National Massage Franchise,” “The MASSAGE Magazine Interview: Anatomy Trains’ Thomas Myers” and “This is How Hand Sanitizers Help Stop the Spread of Viruses & Bacteria.”