Expressing Without Words: A Key In The Spa World

Soft skills are an essential part of the Spa experience. Knowing how to treat and interact with Spa guests, managers, and colleagues is as important as being good at giving treatments. Read about how body language really makes a difference and contributes to creating that WOW experience in your Spa or Massage Center!


The importance of attentive service in your Spa

You can have the most beautiful Spa, Massage or Beauty Center, with the best products and equipment. However, without an excellent quality of service and responsive staff, the decoration and equipment will hardly impress your guests.

Why are the Oriental Spas so famous all around the world if most of them do not even have wet areas? Is it because of their decoration, products and equipment? I do not think so. An important part of their success is thanks to the peaceful atmosphere you sense the moment you enter, the silence, the soft and delicate movements of the therapists, the way they serve you tea, etc. Their way of expressing with silence, with movements, with touch, saying nothing, but saying everything, while showing respect, professionalism, calmness, concentration, and dedication. In my opinion, these aspects are key for creating a true Spa atmosphere.


Using body language to generate WOW Spa experiences

The Five types of Non Verbal Communication are an essential part of the soft skills, because through them we can show and communicate many things that will turn the client´s or guest´s visit either into a wonderful experience that they want to repeat, or an average product. So let´s take a look at them:

KINESICS: Refers to the way in which we move our body. Can you appreciate the difference between the body expression of a Geisha and an Italian pizza chef? This is of course an exaggerated example to make you realize the importance of Kinesics in each environment.

PROXEMICS: Refers to how we use space. The spatial relationship inside the Spa is essential for how we communicate and engage with other people. Edward Hall describes the next spatial measures:

  • 6-18´´ intimate distance
  • 1.5-4´ personal distance
  • 4-12´ social distance
  • 12>25´ public distance

But these distances can vary according to the country, religion and individual preferences. Especially in the Spa and Wellness world, we should be aware of them and be able to adapt to the client´s needs. Even when the Spa or Massage Center seems to be an environment in which short distances prevail, being too close to the guest can have the contrary effect and make some clients feel uncomfortable. So we need to keep in mind that if we are interacting with people from different cultures and religions, we should know how to act in each specific case. Standarization here is seldom a good idea.

CHRONEMICS: Refers to how we perceive, organize and react to time. In the Spa and Wellness Industry, the time factor is of great importance; we calculate the number of hours and therapists per day, the duration of the treatment, the welcome and farewell, how much we speak with the Spa guest, if we encourage the guests to talk as much as they wish, etc. Time is very valuable these days, and how we use and organize time with our clients and guests is essential. Many Spa goers and massage receivers give more value to the time that you listen and talk with them, than to the treatment itself and vice versa. Some clients prefer to lie still for 5min after the treatment, while others rush off when you tell them that the session has ended. So again, attitudes towards time are not universal and it might be difficult to standardize time usage in a Spa setting.

HAPTICS: Refers to how we use touch in our communication. Touch plays a major role in how we communicate. Even the act of not touching transmits something. Through touch we communicate our emotions in a physical form, and it is also the most authentic way to sense the world around us. But again each culture has its own rules and acceptable behavior. In a Spa and Wellness setting the permission to touch is naturally greater than in other areas, but again we need to adapt to each culture and to each Spa guest.

VOCALICS: Refers to the pitch, tone, and speed of speech. It has to do with how we communicate using our voice, rather than what we say. In a Spa setting we need to be aware of how we address guests as well as colleagues, with an aim to create a pleasant and calm atmosphere.



How to put this into practice in a Spa setting?

How can we teach our staff to use these non verbal communication skills consciously? Do we have books that teach us how to react in every single situation? The answer is NO. The only way of integrating this into the Spa culture, is by first understanding the cultures, religions and preferences of our guests, and then use role play in order to put it into practice. It is not easy, but I believe that it is important that Spa Managers pay attention to the communication aspect in their staff training, as it will really make a difference.

I hope you found this useful, feel free to give your insights in the comments below!

Warm regards,

César Tejedor


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3 thoughts on “Expressing Without Words: A Key In The Spa World”

  1. Linda Harding-Bond

    Very interesting and enlightening article. In a spa silence is not always golden. The ability to verbally engage with a customer and confidently interact with strong communication skills is extremely important. It is also the first step for making product and service recommendations. Retail products help to ensure that the wonderful spa experience is continued at home. I totally agree that customer role play is the best way to go for training.

    1. Hi Linda and thanks for your comment! Do you work in a Spa environment yourself? Have you had training on non verbal communication? Or in general about how to communicate with Spa guests in order to enhance their experience both pre- and post-treatment?

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