What is movement therapy and why should spas invest in this wellness trend?

Over the past few years, there’s been an evolution when it comes to fitness in spas, with more spa operators investing in state-of-the-art gyms, hosting residencies from experts in all areas of fitness, and some even launching virtual classes to offer their clients a total 360-degree wellness offering. 

However, a new pillar of wellness is coming to the fore and it’s one that spas need to pay attention to as it’s currently not being addressed – movement therapy. 

Not only does this trend have the huge potential to bring in new clients, boost revenue and cement the spa industry’s reputation further as an important part of customers’ health and self-care routines, but it also has the power to make real change. 

But what is movement therapy? Let me give you the lowdown…

What is movement therapy and why does it need to be talked about?

This new category of wellness is dedicated entirely to movement health, which claims to help people take control of their health via the power of movement. It’s a fast-growing fitness trend which covers physical and psychological health and is being cited as an efficient complement to massage protocols, helping aid recovery solutions for those facing limited range of motion. 

“Movement therapy is simply empowering mental and physical health through movement,” says Stephen Price, managing director of SP&Co Group and founder of Movementum, a new premium wellness product company with services which aims to help beauty therapists control a conversation on movement therapy in the treatment room. 

The professional capsule range – body oils, balms, and a space-enhancing diffuser – and services – classes, functional treatments, and spa treatments – have been created with input from experts in fitness, medicine, and behavioural change. 

“When I consult in the spa industry, this major pillar of wellness – physical activity and movement – isn’t really touched upon. I see a lot of beautiful delivery in treatment, which is valid in its own right, but not a lot of evidence-based practice,” he explains. 

“The spa industry doesn’t have the infrastructure in place [for this pillar] even though beauty therapists can be a catalyst for health change. They have the unique opportunity of putting their hands on people, but we’re not empowering people in spas to encourage their clients to move more.” 

He adds: “In the treatment room, you have someone’s attention, so you can deliver a health message, but it needs to be evidence based.” 

How do movement health services work in spa and what does it involve?

Merging spa, wellness, and movement health experiences under one roof is easily done, it just involves blending spa with studio – but it needs to be led by an expert in movement therapy, which is where Movementum comes in.

“The product was developed to solve the disconnect between the treatment room and the gym or studio – a specific movement-enhancement range that could be used by all professionals, from beauty therapists and personal trainers, to yoga and Pilates instructors and strength and conditioning coaches,” explains Price.

“We attach ourselves to the good job spa operators are already doing, simply adding the protocols, operation, and support for beauty therapists to deliver the message that movement health is an effective complement to massage.”In its system of services, Movementum do three signature things – classes, functional treatments, and two spa treatments – and all these can be done by beauty therapists. 

“Within this, we have four key methods to support the building of physical literacy, confidence, and motivation. We have breathwork and awareness, which enhances movement potential and resilience; and mindset and behaviour change, in that each treatment or class combines positive psychology and principles of behaviour change,” says Price.

“We also have structure and function, covering the principles of posture, strength, mobility, and stability; and manual and movement therapies – the use of soft tissue work and flexibility form the backbone of our movement therapies, and the spa treatments focus more on soft tissue manipulation.”

Movementum class

Can you explain each of the different movement therapy services and how they work?

The spa treatments are specialised services using impactful techniques that are effective in enhancing movement through guided breathwork, lymphatic drainage, soft tissue, and trigger point massage, along with assisted stretches. 

The treatments are designed to be used pre-movement to help increase circulation, prime the muscles and nervous system, preparing your mind and body for peak performance and optimal movement. They can also be performed post-workout, focused on accelerating recovery, reducing tightness, restoring mobility and function, while regenerating both body and mind. 

The functional movement treatment is a hybrid experience focusing on mobility, flexibility, and stability, and can be used to optimise preparation, performance, and recovery as a principal goal. The experience involves a therapist performing assisted movement techniques alongside movement health technologies to enhance form and function. 

The classes are three small group classes (maximum of four people) which have been created to suit all levels of fitness, mobility, and interest. They are perfect to top and tail to a client’s existing exercise routine or can be used as standalone classes to improve mobility and movement health.

Which spas are currently offering movement therapy?

The first Movementum venue has recently opened at The Mandarin Oriental Spa in Hyde Park London, offering a range of spa treatments, functional treatments, and small group classes – all using the brand’s premium product line. 

Jamie Pagan, director of spa and wellness at the Mandarin Oriental London, explains why he has chosen to partner with the brand on a movement health concept. We are fully committed to continually enhancing our world leading spa, fitness and wellness offering here at Mandarin Oriental London. 

“To partner with Stephen and his incredible team to launch this new category of wellness is hugely exciting for us. It perfectly complements our existing offering, and we are delighted to be the first five-star London Spa partner to deliver Movementum treatments, classes, and products”.

Background information on Stephen Price and Movementum: 

“I am the managing director of SP&Co Group, and we collaborate with companies in the health, fitness, and hospitality industries to normalise long-standing positive health and wellbeing experiences,” says Price.

“There are three strands to my business. The clinical side, predominately in oncology, which puts together supportive care programmes for clients from diagnosis onwards and this is our highest level of evidence-based work.

“Then there’s the hospitality and spa side, which we’ve done for close to 20 years, having various operating contracts within spas. I’ve always been fascinated by spa because of the huge delivery potential, and these are our best in class in terms of service and environment. Then, I have my own fitness clubs, where we do performance lifestyle programmes.” 

What do you make of movement therapy? Tell us your thoughts below. 

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