Massage Therapy Brings Fitness Benefits, MASSAGE MagazineIs there a man in your future—your spa’s future that is? If there isn’t, you’re missing a growing market opportunity.

The International Spa Association (ISPA) reports that men now make up one third of today’s spa customers. Just like their female counterparts, men spa-goers recognize the value of spa treatments for relieving stress and soothing sore muscles and joints. Even more noteworthy, men are beginning to embrace restorative and cleansing services to maintain a young and healthy appearance.

Additional revenue opportunities notwithstanding, male clientele will impact your business operation pretty much across the board. Let’s start with the physical environment. Spas were traditionally designed to appeal to women in color and motif. But with men on the scene, you need to create a more gender neutral environment, where neutral colors may be in order to set the tone. Individual privacy becomes more of an issue, too, when men are part of the equation. This may require separate waiting rooms and private salons for services, such as manicures and facials, that many men might find intimidating to receive in a public setting. Having a greater mix of male and female employees and therapists may help men feel more comfortable. 

Overwhelmingly, the number-one treatment for both men and women is massage. Men need to “feel the treatment is working,” so they generally prefer deep tissue and sports massage to relax and soothe muscles that have taken a pounding from sports and exercise. As with their massage, men also want to feel that the body treatment is really working. A scrub using Dead Sea salts can accomplish this. And here’s a tip when treating particularly hairy men: Adding a little extra massage oil to the salts or even to some massage creams and lotions can help facilitate the therapist’s work.

Often the best way to reach the first-time male customer is through your current female customers, who may find a spa gift certificate a perfect birthday or Father’s Day treat. The good news is research shows once men come in and are comfortable, they keep coming back. With that in mind, if you haven’t been thinking about men in your future, think again.

Jean Shea is the founder and CEO of BIOTONE, a leading manufacturer of superior quality professional massage oils, cremes, lotions, gels as well as spa body-and-facial treatment products. Shea founded the company in 1980 and today continues to help create and manufacture all of the company’s formulas.