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Spafinder Wellness 365 Announces Global Panel of Judges for 2016 Wellness Travel Awards

Image: Spafinder Wellness 365

The international panel of judges will nominate top spas, resorts, retreats and hotels around the globe for the annual awards.

Spafinder Wellness 365 recently announced its expanded international panel of 39 judges who will nominate candidates for the 2016 Wellness Travel Awards, the only awards program dedicated to honoring spas, resorts, retreats and hotels that offer stellar experiences and programs to a growing number of consumers seeking healthy vacations and travel.

To ensure the most deserving wellness travel properties are recognized, a comprehensive three-part approach will be used to select winners. First and second steps involve nominations and scoring by the panelists to determine finalists, followed by voting by consumers who will help select the winners. Panelist nominations begin this month and consumer voting starts in July. Panelists will nominate the top properties on six continents, in scores of countries and regions, and for 20 categories. Winners of the 2016 Wellness Travel Awards will be announced in November at the World Travel Market in London.

"Our goal is to provide travelers with the most objective assessment of the destinations that deserve the highest accolades for providing incredible wellness experiences, from the hidden gems to long-time favorites,” said Spafinder Wellness, Inc. COO, John Bevan. “We are grateful to these highly respected editors and experts for devoting their talent and time to identify the top wellness travel locations in the world.”

The 2016 Wellness Travel Awards Panel of Judges*:

  • Kris Abbey, publishing editor, Spa & Wellness International magazine(Australia)
  • Ann Abel, travel writer and editor, Forbes, Departures, Conde Nast Traveler (North America)
  • Gustavo Albanesi, president, Brazilian Spa and Clinics Association (Latin America)
  • Bonnie Baker, founding member, Wellness Tourism Council in San Miguel de Allende (Latin America)
  • Katie Barnes, managing editor, Spa Business magazine (Europe)
  • Mary Bemis, founder and editorial director, Insider's Guide to Spas (North America)
  • Rona Berg, editor-in-chief, Organic Spa Media (North America)
  • Elena Bogacheva, president and founder, Spa & Wellness International Council; CEO, Spa Priori LLC (Europe)
  • Anitra Brown, spas expert, (North America)
  • Julie Keller Callaghan, editor-in-chief and publisher, American Spa magazine (North America)
  • Sarah Camilleri, founding editor and publisher, European Spa magazine (Europe)
  • Johnny Chang, columnist and CEO, Spa Solutions Management & Training (Asia)
  • Isabelle Charrier, founder and managing editor, Emotion Spa magazine (Europe)
  • Sandhya Chipalkatti, editor and publisher, Spa Mantra magazine (Asia)
  • Jeri Clausing, editor, Travel Weekly (North America)
  • Susan d'Arcy, luxury travel and spa editor, London Sunday Times (Europe)
  • Dr. Nadine de Freitas, owner and managing editor, Spa Magazine Les Nouvelles Esthétiques – South Africa (Africa)
  • Elaine D'Farley, editor-in-chief, Spafinder Wellness 365 (North America)
  • Anne Dimon, founder and CEO, Travel to Wellness (North America)
  • Dzigbordi K. Dosoo, chair lady, Spa Association of Africa (Africa)
  • Suzanne Duckett, editor, Tatler Spa Guide; founder, The Antidote (Europe)
  • Nora Elias, editor, Professional Spa & Wellness (Europe)
  • Catherine Feliciano-Chon, founder and managing director, Catch On (Asia)
  • Jo Foley, editor, writer, author, Vanity Fair, Harper’s Bazaar, Spears Wealth (Europe)
  • Gustavo F. Gaffrey, founder and CEO, Spas of Argentina; former president, Argentina Spa Association (Latin America)
  • Jenni Gilbert, editor, SPA+CLINIC (Australia)
  • Franka Hänig, editor-in-chief, SPA inside (Europe)
  • Sara Jones, managing director and editor, Spa Professional México (Latin America)
  • Catharine Nicol, freelance writer, editor, photographer, blogger,, South China Morning Post, AsiaSpa (Asia)
  • Elaine Okeke-Martin, founder and editor, Spa and Wellness Africa magazine; founder and president, Wellness Association of Africa (Africa)
  • Si Si Penaloza, luxury content manager, JETSET magazine (North America)
  • Sheetal Rastogi, editorial director, World Travel Magazine (Asia)
  • Chris Ryall, freelance writer and columnist (North America)
  • Stephanie Shiu, editor-in-chief, Asia Spa Magazine (Asia)
  • Sonee Singh, founder, Petal Life LLC (Latin America)
  • Gaurav Sinha, founder and CEO, Insignia Worldwide (Middle East)
  • Alla Sokolova, chairman, Global Wellness Institute Initiative “Baltic to the Black Sea” (Europe)
  • Liz Terry, editorial director, Spa Business, Spa Opportunities, CLAD magazine (Europe)
  • Fiona Vlemmiks, editor, Professional Beauty GCC (Middle East)

For more information about the 2016 Wellness Travel Awards, please visit

*Continents noted in parentheses indicate where the headquarters of the publication or organization is located.

Aveda Celebrates 10 Years of Clean Water

Image courtesy of Aveda

The brand is celebrating Earth Month this April with an array of fundraising events and activities.

Since 2007, Aveda has been dedicated to protecting clean water. With April being Earth Month, the brand is celebrating its 10 year anniversary by continuing to champion such a crucial cause with an array of fundraising events and activities this month.

Among the exciting fundraising initiatives taking place are Catwalks for Water, Appointments for Clean Water, and the Global Cut-a-Thon, which earned a Guinness World Record for the Most Money Raised for Charity Through Haircuts in 24 Hours in 2013. This year, Aveda plans to make an even bigger impact with its Catwalks for Clean Water 2016 events, which will raise money for 50 clean water partners around the world - over twice as many as in 2007.

For the past 10 years, Aveda has also donated 100% of the full $12 suggested retail price of its signature, limited edition Light the Way candles (pictured) to Global Greengrants Funds, a non-profit organization that channels high-impact grants to grassroots groups seeking to solve pressing environmental problems.

Clean Water by the Numbers

In working with the Global Greengrants Fund, Aveda has so far:

  • Provided 1,545 grants in 84 countries
  • Positively impacting more than 817,000 lives with water-related earth-preserving projects
  • Worked with 522 communities to fight toxic pollution
  • Helped devote 101,000 acres to sustainable agriculture
  • Engaged nearly 36,000 women in working toward clean water
  • Galvanized 1,900 communities to address climate change, which contributes to water shortages and scarify across the globe

To find out more about Aveda's list of events this Earth Month, please visit

Ardell Lashes Featured in First GlamApp Academy Tutorial

Image courtesy of American International Industries

Ardell partnered with makeup and hair artist Joey Maalouf to be the first GlamApp Academy lash sponsor.

Ardell Lashes recently collaborated with celebrity makeup artist and hair stylist Joey Maalouf to be the first GlamApp Academy lash sponsor. GlamApp, an on-demand beauty app created by Maalouf and actress Cara Santana in 2015, connects clients with top stylists in more than 23 cities nationwide. At the touch of a button, users have access to hair, makeup, and nail services performed in their home, office, or hotel.

Since the app's launch, Maalouf and Santana have been working to expand and educate their team of top stylists, most recently with the first GlamApp Academy live-stream in which Maalouf demonstrated his signature makeup techniques for a network of more than 1,000 GlamApp stylists. Maalouf, a long time fan of the Ardell Lashes, discussed how to use Ardell Individual lashes to create a subtle, "no-makeup makeup" look, as well as the versatility of the brand's Wispie lashes for creating beautiful, ultra-glamorous styles. All stylists attending the live tutorial received gift bags containing Maalouf’s favorite Ardell Lash styles and DUO adhesive.

For more information on the GlamApp, please visit
For more information on Ardell Lashes, please visit

Vote for a Chance to Win 100 Essie Shades

Image: Essie

Cast your vote in the Essie's Nail Art Awards and be entered to win one hundred polishes from the beloved brand.

Essie has announced its 6 finalists in this year's Essie's Nail Art Awards: Rikki Dohmann, Hannah Lee, Erika Sandoval, Harli Hall, Arelis Parache, and Gabrielle Morris. To determine the 2016 winner and newest nail art ambassador, the nail brand is asking for your vote. The best part? When you vote, you'll be entered for a chance to win 100 shades of Essie polish!

Check out the 2016 finalists, cast your vote, and learn more about the contest details here.

ISPA To Present Visionary Award in Memory of Geraldine Howard

Image courtesy of ISPA

The annual award will honor the visionary co-founder of Aromatherapy Associates.

The International SPA Association (ISPA) will present the 2016 ISPA Visionary Award in memory of Geraldine Howard at the 26th annual ISPA Conference & Expo at The Venetian in Las Vegas, Nev. from Sept. 13 – 15, 2016. The ISPA Visionary Award is presented each year to someone in the spa industry who has made significant contributions to both the definition and positive movement of health and wellness over the lifetime of their career. The award will be accepted on stage by Howard’s husband, Captain Peter Redman.

Co-founder of Aromatherapy Associates, Howard first got her start in aromatherapy in 1973, when she joined Micheline Arcier’s renowned aromatherapy clinic in Knightsbridge, London, where she met Sue Beechey. Together, Beechey and Howard founded Aromatherapy Associates in 1985 and turned their home-grown brand into an international success in the spa community. Howard passed away earlier this year after a long battle with cancer.

“Geraldine was the epitome of a trailblazer for the world of aromatherapy,” said ISPA President Lynne McNees. “She was a part of our spa family and we are so honored to be able to celebrate her life and the impact she made on the community.”

"It was always Geraldine’s mission to tell the world how incredible essential oils are, and she saw Aromatherapy Associates as more than a business; it was her way of life. Most recently, in response to her own health challenges, she blended an oil called Inner Strength, helping to raise tens of thousands of pounds for innovative new cancer research. Such is testament to Geraldine that even in the midst of her personal struggle, she found a way to help other people," said Aromatherapy Associates in a recent statement.

Throughout the years, the spa industry has been deeply impacted by the loss of fellow colleagues and friends, including several spa industry leaders who lost their battle in 2016. In honor of all those affected by these losses, a donation on behalf of the ISPA community will be made to the Stand Up to Cancer organization to support collaborative cancer research programs.

More information about attending the 2016 ISPA Conference & Expo can be found at

First Annual Kids' Yoga Day to Take Place Friday, April 8

Image: PRNewsFoto/Teresa Anne Power

Created by bestselling author Teresa Anne Power, Kids' Yoga Day will span 37 U.S. states and 12 countries.

This Friday, April 8th, thousands of schoolchildren around the world will take part in the first annual Kids' Yoga Day by putting down their books and spending 5 minutes doing fun, simple yoga poses. This celebration of fitness, created by bestselling author Teresa Anne Power, will encourage children to let their imaginations run free as they mold themselves into trees, flamingos, windmills, kites and other kid-friendly yoga positions. About 12,000 kids are expected to participate, both in school and at home, including those from at least 37 U.S. states as well as 12 countries around the globe. More than 100 official ambassadors will lead the kids through the poses, all to raise awareness about yoga for children.

An expert on children's yoga and author of The ABCs of Yoga for Kids — a book that sold more than 250,000 copies in four languages - Power says few people understand how powerful yoga can be. More than a great way to become fit, she says parents who practice yoga with their children get a bonus: stronger relationships with them. "When you both do something healthy and fun, you will get closer," she observes, noting that the type of yoga she favors is playful and does not involve any chanting.

Celebrate the first annual Kids' Yoga Day this Friday, April 8th, 2016 at 11 AM, and join the thousands of children and leaders taking part in embracing wellness and fitness! For more information, please visit

Spa News: Universal Companies Acquires SpaEquip, Inc.

Image courtesy of Universal Companies

The acquisition will bring customers a better experience with expanded offerings, expertise, support, and distribution.

Spa distributor Universal Companies recently announced its acquisition of SpaEquip, a spa development provider known throughout the spa and hospitality industries for its impressive depth of experience and expertise with spa equipment. SpaEquip, founded by Philippe Therene, will add a staff of seasoned experts to the Abingdon, Virginia spa distributor.
“Bringing inventive, affordable spa development and equipment solutions to match customer needs and applying the perfect amount of customization is what SpaEquip does best,” says Universal CEO Brenda Elliott. “And in this new era of spas playing an important role in the health and wellness movement, having partners like SpaEquip will be of huge benefit as we continue to develop solutions that help our customers anticipate their patrons’ needs and provide wellness focused experiences. Combining the talents of both companies will produce solutions that have a positive impact for the spa industry.”

“SpaEquip is a natural fit for Universal Companies, and we are thrilled to join their team of industry-leading experts,” says Polly Johnson, SpaEquip VP Corporate Accounts. “This acquisition will bring together two companies with a long history of providing sound solutions and extensive support to spas. SpaEquip’s extensive experience in equipment and spa development combined with Universal’s widespread product and equipment knowledge will provide customers with a comprehensive resource for all their spa and wellness needs.”

What does this mean for customers of Universal Companies and SpaEquip?

For Universal Companies customers, this means the added expertise of a proven and respected spa development and equipment team as well as an expanded offering of equipment and products.

For SpaEquip customers, this means they will have access to the full line of Universal products, supplies, apparel, and specialist/expert services, including retail products and programs through À la Mode, a division of Universal Companies that provides service in all areas of retail management from product selection to retail coaching and consulting; training and education at Universal Companies’ Wellness and Beauty Learning Center located in Torrance, California; a call center staffed with industry specialists and licensed professionals; plus skin care, product, and supplies specialists.

SpaEquip customers will also experience improved, more efficient fulfillment with the added advantage of the Universal Companies distribution capabilities and resources.

What does this mean for Universal Companies and SpaEquip vendors?

For industry vendors, this means a streamlined purchasing and fulfillment process plus comprehensive sales and marketing support with an omni-channel reach to over 40,000 customers.

Vendors will also benefit from the SpaEquip team of sales and development specialists and Universal Companies’ sales and marketing programs, such as the annual Spa Resource Book, an e-commerce website and digital marketing, participation in key industry events and trade shows, an extended direct sales force (domestic and international), and training and education support through the Wellness and Beauty Learning Center, eLearning, and regional trainers.

SpaEquip will continue to be based in Calistoga, California, operating as a division of Universal Companies. It will head a consolidated equipment division and customers will continue to work with their preferred contacts knowing that they now have expanded resources and support as well.

Miraval Life in Balance Spa Opens at Monarch Beach Resort

Rendering courtesy of Nike Communications, Inc.

The award-winning destination spa expands its brand to California with the opening of this new spa.

Miraval Group is bringing its nationally known spa and wellness brand to Southern California with the opening of the Miraval Life in Balance Spa at Monarch Beach Resort. The Miraval Life in Balance Spa at Monarch Beach Resort offers more than 70 of the signature treatments developed at the company’s flagship Miraval Resort & Spa near Tucson, Arizona, each designed to “awaken the senses, create balance and promote a sense of wellbeing.”

The facility encompasses 24 treatment rooms, spa suites, boutique, Drybar, Deborah Lippmann Nail Salon and relaxation and tranquility zones. It is part of a $40 million renovation of the resort’s 400 rooms and public spaces that will introduce five new dining concepts and an expanded pool and pool bar. Miraval-inspired healthy menu items are available at Monarch Beach Resort’s restaurants, including the new Miraval Spa Café.

The April opening kicks off a Miraval expansion program that includes development of full-service Miraval resorts that offer immersive wellness experiences in key destination markets and Miraval Life in Balance Spas that offer many of the brand’s signature wellness programs, according to Steven A. Rudnitsky, Miraval Group president & chief executive officer. “The Miraval Life in Balance Spa at Monarch Beach Resort offers the most popular of Miraval Tucson’s signature treatments and programs,” he said. “I expect that a visit to Monarch Beach will inspire many guests to visit Tucson for the complete Miraval experience.”

Moreover, Rudnitsky said Monarch Beach and future Miraval spas draw on local surroundings to create unique experiences for guests. The new Miraval Life in Balance Spa offers Miraval Tucson’s NÂGA and Shamana-Karma treatments; Ayurvedic, energy and body renewal rituals; and new treatments that incorporate coastal-inspired ingredients, including sea salt, crystal salt stones, algae and marine muds.

Selected Miraval Tucson signature wellness programs are offered, including Mindful Stress Mastery, Mindful Eating and Mindfulness at Miraval. Custom yoga and body movement studios in the spa’s new Body Mindfulness Center feature the brand’s Cardio Drumming, Mindful Spinning, Aerial Yoga and Floating Mediation programs. New coastal-inspired programs include Beachside Meditation, Zen Boot Camp on the Beach, Sunset Yoga and Authentic Connections. Each takes advantage of the resort’s oceanfront location.

Specialists from Miraval Tucson, including Wellness Counselor Anne Parker, Exercise Physiologist Andrew Wolf and Healers Pam Lancaster and Dr. Tim Frank, will make regular visits to the new spa to offer an even greater number of signature Miraval programs. Spa memberships are offered to local residents.

Monarch Beach Resort will be operated by Starwood as a St. Regis through May 31, 2016, at which point it will rebranded as Monarch Beach Resort and operated independently by KSL Resorts.

For more information about Miraval Life in Balance Spa at Monarch Beach Resort, please visit

Spa News: Cecilia Hercik Appointed Director of Spa at Miraval Resort & Spa

Image courtesy of Nike Communications, Inc.

Hercik will lead the resort's Life in Balance Spa.

Cecilia Hercik has been appointed director of spa at Miraval Resort & Spa, the the award-winning destination spa in Tucson, Arizona. In her new role, Hercik will lead the property’s Life in Balance Spa, as well as help craft new and innovative treatments and services for spa guests.

Hercik comes to Miraval with over 20 years of experience in the spa industry, having worked with several luxury hospitality brands and spa consulting firms. Prior to joining Miraval, Hercik served as owner and spa business development specialist at C-SPA Consulting, a consulting and spa management firm specializing in providing and executing assessment and design development for spa businesses.

Previously, Hercik was the regional director of spa operations for WTS International in the Hawaiian region. Throughout her career, Hercik has worked for a variety of luxury hospitality brands in the spa and wellness sector including The Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa, The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans and The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island.

"We are thrilled to have Cecilia Hercik at the helm of Miraval’s renowned Life in Balance Spa,” said Laura McIver, vice president and general manager of Miraval. “She has such an incredible passion for wellness and a wealth of spa experience that we’re confident will help expand our celebrated spa programming with new and ground-breaking treatments for our guests.”

NCBTMB Names Guptha Interim CEO, Baltz Interim Chair

Dr. Leena Guptha

The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and
Bodywork (NCBTMB) is introducing new leadership with Dr. Leena Guptha as he interim Chief Executive Officer and Bruce Baltz as the Board Chair while the organization engages Signature Group to develop a long-term strategic and business plan.

Dr. Guptha succeeds Steve Kirin, who recently announced his decision
not to renew his contract. Kirin will remain with NCBTMB until May 20. The NCBTMB Board of Directors unanimously approved both leadership moves in a conference call on Tuesday, March 29. This included accepting Dr.Guptha’s resignation from the Board of Directors effective immediately.

Dr. Guptha, born and raised in London and a resident of Lehigh Valley, Pa., previously served as the NCBTMB Board Chair and has a background in primary care, academic appointments and administrative roles, including more than two decades in three education corporations as well as 25 years of holistic practice. The former National President of the American Massage Therapy Association was a 2015 inductee into the World Massage Festival Hall of Fame.

She graduated as Valedictorian of her MBA class and is certified in
Non-Profit Revenue Generation and Program Evaluation for Non-Profits. She served as President managing a $14-million school and while responsible for operational management and finance, she earned the Functional Manager of the Year Award and a VIP Employee Excellence Award in Education.

“We continue to focus on defining and advancing standards for the
profession and have a vision to further the NCBTMB through developing
specialty certificates, advancing our Approved Provider program, and
collaborating with key stakeholders,” Dr. Guptha said. “At this time,
continuity and communication are essential in order to pave the way
toward the next evolution of NCBTMB, enabling us to recapture and
optimize our rightful place within the profession. Signature Group will be able to guide us in our upcoming Strategic Planning process, providing a wealth of experience in assessment, revenue generation, growth and sustainability.”

Baltz, from New York City now living in Loxahatchee, Fla., is a Board
Certified Massage Therapist in New York and Florida and received his
massage diploma from the Swedish Institute in New York in 1993. He is an internationally recognized educator with more than 30 years of experience in the fitness and bodywork industry, including time as an NCBTMB volunteer since 2007. Baltz works out of the Lost Tree Club in North Palm Beach, Fla., where he is developing an Active Isolated Stretching program and is a founding member of Deep Freeze Team LLC, offering a new generation of cool therapy pain relief products.

“We’re all looking forward to the repositioning and focus for the
new NCBTMB,” Baltz said. “We have been working hard on collaborating
with all of the stakeholders and doing what is best for the industry
moving forward. One of our greatest roles will be the management of
approved providers and vetting of classes and workshops while developing new opportunities to better serve the massage profession and NCBTMB.”

The NCBTMB is an independent, private, nonprofit organization founded
in 1992 with the mission to define and advance the highest standards in the massage therapy and bodywork profession. In support of this mission, NCBTMB serves the profession through Board Certification, Approved Providers and Assigned Schools for more than 350,000 massage therapists nationally. The NCBTMB is transitioning from licensure since states took over that capacity within the last decade to a focus on Board Certification, which recognizes the progress massage therapists are making in their craft.

The engagement of the Signature Group is driven by the NCBTMB Board of Directors in looking toward developing a plan for the next decade.
Signature Group has been involved in the health and wellness area with the Club Spa and Fitness Association (CSFA) to provide management, marketing and sponsorship development services for the non-profit organization. Signature Group also was instrumental in developing a Strategic Plan and Sponsorship Engagement Program for the Asian Golf Industry Federation in 2013-14.