Business meetings, networking and education sessions at Spatec Europe 2016

More than 160 spa, beauty and wellness industry professionals gathered in Portugal for the 10th annual Spatec Europe last week.

The event saw two days of on-to-one meetings between buyers and suppliers and plenty of networking breaks – true to the Spatec format.

Held on Portugal’s Algarve coast, the event opened with an education session on Thursday June 9.

Delivering the keynote address, Aromatherapy Associates’ chief executive Tracey Woodward discussed how the industry can help relieve stress and combat the illnesses linked to it.

“Stress steals your joy and the power of touch is so important to release it,” she said. “Massage therapy helps relieve anxiety and depression.”

She said: “We have a global duty of care [as an industry] to make people feel better and to connect. Massage is one of the oldest healing methods and people turn to it in times of stress and anxiety.”

Woodward, who joined Aromatherapy Associates in March this year, also addressed the issue of loneliness, a common problem with a detrimental health impact.

Today, when communication both at work and with friends and family often takes place online; via emails or social media, we need to interact directly to a greater extent and be better at connecting with others, Woodward said.

“Try picking up the phone or speaking to people face to face instead,” she said. “We all need to connect more and to feel less lonely and more content,” Woodward continued, adding: “Hugging someone for just 20 seconds a day will make you feel better – do that every day.”

Liz Holmes, former national health and beauty manager at Virgin Active and now director of consultancy Commercial Spa Strategies, also spoke during the education session.

Holmes, who is Global Wellness Day (GWD) ambassador for the UK, discussed the concept behind GWD and how to get involved in the 2016 event – which took place this Saturday, June 11.

Holmes said: “Global Wellness day is about getting right to the heart of what wellness means to our industry. It’s about living well and making connections that actually matter with people.”

She added that the principles behind GWD, which aims to help people live healthier, happier lives, are ones everyone can incorporate into their daily routine.

“It’s not complicated, they are things we can all say yes to.” GWD is, Holmes explained, “about growing wellness daily”.

Suppliers at the 10th annual Spatec Europe included Barr + Wray, Dalesauna, Clarins, Espa, Natura Bissé, Resort Suite, RKF Luxury Linen, BC Software, Elemis, Pevonia, Caudalie and Spiezia Organics, to name just a few.

Among the buyers were representatives from the Four Seasons, The Bannatyne Group, Center Parcs, Bulgari Hotels & Resorts, Champneys, Deep Nature, Raison d’Etre, Seaham Hall and Rockliffe Hall, among others.