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The Psychology of Spas & Wellbeing [Kindle Edition]

Jeremy McCarthy
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The Psychology of Spas and Wellbeing is the culmination of years of research in psychology, positive psychology, and the science of holistic wellbeing. The spa industry markets itself as offering holistic wellness through a variety of services intended to enhance wellbeing across body, mind and spirit. This book explores the science behind the claims of the spa industry and looks for possible applications to enhance the impact of a spa as a center for holistic healing.

This book is intended for:

• Spa and holistic healing professionals who want to use the latest science to deepen their impact on human wellbeing.
• Healthcare professionals who want to learn more about a holistic approach to wellness.
• Anyone interested in a comprehensive review of the scientific literature on holistic wellness.

In this book, readers will learn:

• The history, philosophy and culture of the world of spas and its role in modern society
• How to approach human wellbeing holistically, considering body, mind and spirit and the interactions between these domains
• The psychology of the spa experience and the links between psychological wellbeing and health
• The latest research from the field of positive psychology and how it can be applied in a spa or other center for health and wellness
• An overview of the research on stress and stress relief, the number one reason consumers visit spas
• The elements of a healthy “spa lifestyle” and the latest research on behavior modification and positive lifestyle change

The spa industry has a rich history and culture of holistic healing, but lacks a foundation in science. Modern medicine and healthcare is informed by the science of recent decades but ignores the holistic nature of human wellbeing. This book explores the latest scientific research in wellbeing to assess the evidence of the spa industry’s impact on health and to explore applications and interventions that could be used to create a new, more effective healing institution that combines the best of science and philosophy.

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"This is definitely not just another spa book. The Psychology of Spas &
Wellbeing is insightful and goes way beyond what most people think
about when they think of the body, mind and spirit aspects of the spa
experience.  For the first time, someone has put the focus on the mind
and spirit and how it all relates to the body with the result being true
holistic healing. And even better, this is grounded in science with
citations galore to the medical evidence that supports so much of what
is accomplished by spas these days."
--Susie Ellis, President, SpaFinder Wellness
"This is the first time I have ever seen anyone teach us about the 
psychological side of the spa industry with such depth. This is a must
read for anyone in the spa or hospitality industries. This book truly
changes the game for spas wishing to provide guests a level of
experience they may have never encountered."
--Jeff Kohl, SVP & Chief Operating Officer, Red Door Spas
"If you have ever doubted the importance of spas, read The Psychology
of Spas & Wellbeing. One of the most interesting thinkers in the spa
industry, Jeremy McCarthy, explains why spas are so good at doing
what they do--making people feel good--and how that expertise can
help transform the nation's health and wellbeing. It's like having a front
row seat at an expensive spa industry symposium."
--Anitra Brown, Guide to Spas,
"This book completely changed how I see spas! Full of solid research 
from various disciplines, McCarthy convinced me that going to the spa
is an important part of any wellness routine. It is preventative
maintenance; not indulgence. Being a professional of the wellness 
industry myself, I did not expect to learn as much as I did while reading
this book. But I should have known better--McCarthy's signature is
to be unexpected, thoughtful and thought-provoking."
--Marie-Josee Shaar, author of Smarts and Stamina

About the Author

Jeremy McCarthy has over twenty years of experience opening and operating luxury resort spas, including 14 years with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and 3 years opening and operating the new spa at famed La Costa Resort and Spa. Since 2006, he is the Director of Global Spa Development and Operations for Starwood Hotels and Resorts where he is responsible for the development of spas across Starwood’s many hotel brands around the world. McCarthy sat for several years on the Board of Directors for the International Spa Association and speaks regularly at spa industry events including ISPA, The Global Spa and Wellness Summit, Leading Spas of Canada, New York Spa Alliance, Washington Spa Alliance, and SPATEC. He is the author of “Become a Spa Owner,” and writes regularly for Pulse, LiveSpa, Organic Spa Magazine, and Positive Psychology News Daily, as well as his own blog on holistic wellness, The Psychology of Wellbeing ( He has a Master of Applied Positive Psychology degree from the University of Pennsylvania that he applies to his work in spas and luxury resorts and he teaches a course at University of California, Irvine on “Positive Leadership for Spas and Hospitality.” When he is not working, he enjoys surfing and beach volleyball.

Product Details

  • File Size: 291 KB
  • Print Length: 169 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: The Psychology of Wellbeing (July 3, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008HSMNW0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #732,803 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
This book completely changed how I see spa treatments! Full of solid research in various disciplines to support his argument, McCarthy convinced me that going to the spa is an important part of my wellness routine. It is preventative maintenance; not indulgence. If you want to make your visits to the spa completely guilt-free or if you'd like persuasive data to convince your clients to visit your spa more often, this book is just what you need. Being a professional of the wellness industry myself, I did not expect to learn as much as I did while reading this book. But I should have known better - McCarthy's signature is to be unexpected, thoughtful and thought provoking at the same time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bummed. Not What I expected. January 16, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book came highly recommended by a coworker, and so, I was eager to read it. What I found was nothing but a reference guide and quotes from others. Almost every paragraph in the book, regardless of the size of the paragraph, had one or multiple references sited with name, date, and/or page numbers. Reading about Jeremy McCarthy and his 20 plus years of experience in the spa industry, I thought surely he had something of his own worth saying. I know he has to. Yet, even the simplest of thought was a quoted reference. You'll find a 119 page book with 20 pages of references. For me, it was very distracting to continually read through all the referencing and really get to the meat of the book. In fact, I stopped reading after the first chapter. In the end, what this book gave me was a terrific reference guide for future reading and where to find books/authors on health and wellbeing, other than Jeremy McCarthy. Sorry for the not so good review.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Never think of a spa visit as a luxury. Before life unceremoniously intervened with my wake up call, I used to think getting a massage was a luxury. But my massage therapist literally saved the quality of my life and enabled me to continue my career. She made chronic pain livable and lessened the car accident effects well-meaning doctors could not ameliorate. She forever altered my inappropriate belief that spas were for wealthy people. Now I know they are worth every penny.

Wellness is a water mist. Or relaxing solitude under warm stones. Or fresh life views that surface during or after a facial. Ease. Peace. Time for yourself to re-awaken and open yourself up to your world. Your health and well-being depend on your self-compassion and self-care.

In "The Psychology of Spas & Wellbeing", Jeremy McCarthy delights you with fascinating stories and insights backed up with specific scientific evidence. Find out why you deserve to treat yourself to better health and self-awareness as well as joyful relaxation, stress relief, and new ways to savor life.

Oops. I stand corrected here. Spa is not a treat. It is a blessed necessity if you want to learn how to live your best life now. McCarthy helps you integrate easy and enjoyable daily rituals and practices. These alone are worth reading this mind-expanding book. Life-altering and enhancing.

McCarthy explains "holistic renewal" via pairing the new science of Positive Psychology with the wealth of health wisdom from 1000's of years ago. What a fascinating juxtaposition of positivity knowledge. He is a terrifically creative writer who adds a soothing, very human, extraordinarily cool reading aspect to his book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What is the real impact of spa? July 22, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
It's a good time for this refreshing book - an experienced and enlightened director's take on spa services that is likely to both expand and deepen how 'spa' is understood. I'm hoping it will be read by spa supporters and critics alike - since it offers a thoughtful and thought-provoking perspective on the value and potential inherent in an activity sometimes seen only as leisure and pleasure.

'[T]he real impact of a spa happens on the psychological level', says Jeremy McCarthy. This is fundamental to his approach and the unique contribution he is making to the profession. His book conveys its message in an accessible and inclusive way, and would make an excellent training or review manual for spa professionals or anyone providing caring services for people.

The well-selected research and approaches could be used effectively to inspire open-minded questioning, and for developing expertise that keeps a dynamic balance between intelligent inquiry and practical application. The book is a powerful resource for providers, managers and owners seeking to align themselves with a core philosophy for spa and to deepen their understanding of what spa could offer.
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