Massage therapy has long been the most utilized service at spas, and spas are the largest employer of massage therapists.

In fact, 31 percent of people received their most recent massage in a spa setting, according to a 2008 report by Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals, the nation’s largest membership association for massage therapists.

A new textbook provides introductory information on the $250-billion global spa industry.

The International Spa Association Foundation along with The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute have developed a new textbook titled “Spa: A Comprehensive Introduction.” This text takes an in-depth look at everything from the history and cultural development of spas, to daily spa operating procedures.

“As the spa industry continues to grow it is important to provide the necessary educational tools to the next generation of professionals,” said ISPA Foundation President Edwin H. Neill III. “Today’s industry leaders share their wisdom and experiences throughout this valuable resource, giving students a first hand account of what a spa looks like, how it is operated and how treatments are performed.”

For more information, visit ISPA’s website to order the book and a companion DVD, and see “Massage Therapy and the Spa Industry: A Symbiotic Relationship,” in MASSAGE Magazine’s January 2009 issue.