LEXINGTON, Kentucky (Oct. 6, 2011):  The International SPA Association Foundation was presented with a $10,000 donation during the annual ISPA Media Event in New York City. The donation was made by ISPA member Massage Envy, a national franchise of massage centers dedicated to providing professional and affordable therapeutic massage services to consumers with busy lifestyles. The donation will aid in the costs to conduct new consumer research for the spa industry, as well as provide support for the Dr. Howard Murad Research Grant.

“Quality research provides the basis for important business decisions, and gives us insight into the role the spa plays in health and wellness,” said ISPA Foundation President Jeff Kohl. “As we all know, the economic climate and developments in the spa industry have changed greatly in recent years, and spa professionals need data to understand who today’s spa consumer is. With help from members like Massage Envy, who understand the value of research we can continue to provide essential studies and information to the health and wellness industry.”

The ISPA Foundation will use $5,000 of the donation towards a consumer study to help broaden the base of research available to professionals within the spa industry. Data on consumer’s thoughts and preferences are key elements for spa’s planning out treatment menus and developing new offerings. Consumer research not only provides insight into spa-goer trends, but also reveals how non-spa-goers are behaving. The study will shed light on why non-spa-goers aren’t visiting the spa, if they’ve ever considered visiting a spa and what misconceptions they may have about the spa.

The remaining $5,000 will benefit the Dr. Howard Murad Research Grant which offers assistance to researchers studying the effects of cultural stress and ways to manage it. The grant can be used to research technology overload, overworking and lack of purposeful work, inadequate nutrition, isolation from friends and stress occurring in people of all ages.

Massage Envy is a champion of several research initiatives including their recent partnership with the Arthritis Foundation. CG Funk, vice president of Industry Relations and Product Development, explains why Massage Envy is so passionate about pioneering new research, “Published clinical studies showing massage and spa services offer physical and emotional benefits will not only support the continued growth of the spa industry, but also reach millions of Americans looking for healthy, alternative methods for managing the pain and symptoms of various diseases and conditions. Massage Envy is proud to sponsor such research as we believe that knowledge about massage and spa therapies should be available to everyone.”

More information regarding the progress of the research initiative will be available during the 2011 ISPA Conference & Expo, held November 7-9 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nev. to learn more about the Dr. Howard Murad Research Grant visit the ISPA Foundation Web page. ISPA has released groundbreaking studies and research tools since the early 1990s. To learn more about ISPA’s research and business tools, visit experienceispa.com.

About the ISPA Foundation

Created in 1999 to serve the educational and research needs of the spa industry through endowments, curriculum development and scholarships, the ISPA Foundation is the nonprofit 501(c)3 arm of ISPA. The ISPA Foundation’s mission is to improve and enhance the value of the spa experience while supporting its vision of sustainable health and well-being through the advancement of spa culture. For more information on the ISPA Foundation and opportunities for involvement, please visit www.experienceispa.com/ISPAFoundation/.