Latest News

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.

In Memoriam: Charlene Florian

Image courtesy of Blue PR

Charlene Florian, Chief Creative Officer of Kerstin Florian International, passed away on Easter Sunday.

Chief Creative Officer of Kerstin Florian International, Charlene Florian, passed away on March 27, 2016. In a statement from the team, Kerstin Florian International commented, "It is with immense sadness that we inform you that Charlene Florian, Chief Creative Officer, Kerstin Florian International passed away this weekend (Easter Sunday) peacefully surrounded by her family and close friends. She was a shining light within the industry leading the path for a healthy, more natural lifestyle touching everyone she encountered with positivity, kindness and joy. A charismatic executive with the Kerstin Florian team, a source of inspiration and knowledge to our partners globally, Charlene was a force of positive energy who embodied the Kerstin Florian brand.

"Charlene was an inspirational and vibrant global thought leader who worked passionately alongside her mom Kerstin to build and grow the Kerstin Florian brand and share their philosophy and passion for wellness and health with the spa industry and beyond. She truly loved her industry and the close knit, extended Kerstin Florian family she was fortunate to work with for over 2 decades.

"Charlene was first and foremost a proud mother and daughter as well as a lover of life, nature, travel adventures, a true friend, an avid student and teacher and firm believer in the power of love and following her heart and intuition.

"We will forever miss her - her light and legacy lives on in her children and the beautiful products she created with love."

​Also an Ambassador of Wellness​, Charlene was a part of ​Global Wellness Day from ​its inception. Global Wellness Day organizers have partnered with TEMA (Turkish Foundation For Combating Soil Erosion, for Reforestation and the Protection of Natural Habitats)​ to honor her by ​funding and ​planting 2000 trees in Turkey to help green the lands with​ an ongoing and living​ "Charlene Florian Forest."

Lydia Sarfati Invites Spa Pros to Join the Repêchage 18th International Conference

Image courtesy of Repêchage

Held on May 2, with a Hands-On Workshop on May 3, the conference will feature new product launches, demonstrations, speakers and more.

Repêchage founder, Lydia Sarfati, invites spa and salon professionals to the Repêchage 18th International Conference and Hands-On Worskhop on May 2 & 3, 2016. The salon and spa professionals event will feature key speakers, professional education, new product launches, demonstrations, and more!

Presentations include: "Sensory Fusion: The Future of Skin Care" by Lydia Sarfati, Repêchage CEO and Founder; "Skin Care from 8 to 80: 8 Ways to Stay Ageless" by Samuel Shatkin Jr., FACS, M.D.; "Mind and Body Integration: The Brain and Skin Care Connection" by Andrea Bovero, Ph. D.; and "The Whole Picture: The Newest Trends in Spa Treatments" by Yolanda (Mayola) Amador Origel, International Spa Director and Distributor of Repêchage Mexico.


18th International Conference

  • Date: Monday, May 2, 2016
  • Price: $175; includes new product launches, presentations, demonstrations, President's Awards, gift bags, lunch and champagne

Fusion Express Bar and Spa Mask Hands-On Workshop

  • Date: Tuesday, May 3, 2016
  • Location: The Lydia Sarfati Post-Graduate Skincare Academy; Secaucus, NJ
  • Price: $125; includes hands-on instructions and demonstrations, plus a Fusion Express Bar and Spa Masks kit that contains 12 facials (a $150 value!).

Register for both days and save!

  • Combination price: $275; includes both International Conference with champagne and lunch, and the Hands-On Workshop events with a Fusion Express Bar and Spa Masks kit.

For more details or to register, please call 1 (800) 248-7546, or visit

Spafinder Launches The Wellness App

Image courtesy of Spafinder

The app, available for iOS and Android, gives users the ability to find, book and pay for wellness services, plus earn rewards, from their phones.

Spafinder Wellness, Inc. recently announced the launch of its mobile application, “The Wellness App,” for iOS and Android. The app brings together the fragmented landscape of wellness providers and, for the first time, gives users the ability to find, book and pay, plus earn rewards, all from their mobile phones. The Wellness App is available in Apple’s App Store and on Google Play; to download, visit

Spafinder Wellness has over 25,000 wellness businesses in its network, including yoga and Pilates studios, fitness clubs, spas, salons and wellness travel destinations. Behind the scenes, the Spafinder Wellness platform allows for payment processing to these locations with the app, even though they have uncommon point-of-sale or booking systems. Mobile and Internet connectivity makes this unique app functionality available to consumers and businesses. The app is especially attractive to employers who have workplace wellness programs or incentive/rewards companies that promote healthy lifestyles.

Consumers who receive Spafinder Wellness 365™ Cards as gifts, incentives or rewards will be able to download them to the app and use them to purchase from providers in the Spafinder Wellness Network. The Wellness App is also fully integrated with the company’s rewards program, My365Rewards, awarding users points for a variety of in-app and on-site behaviors. The new app features well-known wellness providers, including brands such as Bliss, Equinox, Mandarin Oriental, Canyon Ranch, Elemis, Curves and Zeel, the Massage On Demand company.

“We believe finding ways to feel good and stay healthy should be easy and rewarded. With The Wellness App, Spafinder Wellness gives users a simple way to keep wellness funds handy and find, book and pay for services they choose,” says Pete Ellis, chairman and CEO of Spafinder Wellness. “For existing Spafinder Wellness users, the experience begins with a seamless transition of their rewards points and account information after they log in to the app; for new users, it’s about an easy connection to their next great wellness experience.”

The Wellness App, developed by Spafinder Wellness’ technology team, with support from Miami-based technology agency YellowPepper, breaks new ground in introducing a first-of-its-kind payment platform and the most advanced universal mobile payments technology for the wellness industry. The result is a single solution that gives consumers a seamless experience across providers.

The Wellness App allows users to:

  • Discover a Global Network of Wellness Providers: Choose a provider based on location, services, pricing or reviews; try a new location or connect directly with a trusted provider.
  • Real-Time Bookings: Make an appointment or reserve a class at select partners (live in May).
  • Pay for Services: Consumers can pay for services with the app, using a secure account with the in-app card and barcode scanner. They can also reload funds with a linked credit card.
  • Earn Points & Rewards: All in-app behaviors are linked to the Spafinder My365Rewards Program, meaning that users earn points for everything from loading their Mobile Wellness Cards, booking classes and treatments, paying for services to even writing reviews. Points can be used toward services at partner locations.
  • Get Location-Based, Real-Time Promotions & Special Offers: With local searches, users also get notification of nearby deals. When they achieve Silver and Gold Rewards levels, they have the opportunity to receive exclusive offers and invitations to special events.
  • View Detailed Provider Descriptions and Service Offerings: Get a snapshot view of an individual location with descriptions and reviews.
  • Rate & Review: App users can rate locations and leave feedback based on their experience (live in April).

“The app bridges the many gaps that have made wellness offerings diffuse and inconsistent, and brings together all types of providers, from large, established businesses to single-location establishments, to offer consumers a unified, seamless experience under one umbrella,” said Ellis.

To learn more about or to download The Wellness App, visit

Comphy Launches New Product Lines

Image courtesy of Contento Marketing

The launch includes new towel lines, knit blankets, and a retail baby line.

Luxury spa linen brand Comphy recently announced the launch of additional lines to enhance spa operations and increase retail sales. The launch comprises new organic, cotton and bamboo towels, knit blankets for professional spa use, and a baby line - Comphy Baby, ideal for retail in spas and boutiques.

"It is a big year for Comphy with all of our new product releases, and we couldn't be more excited to be able to offer our clients a full range of products that will meet all of their linen needs," said Mia Richardson, founder and CEO of Comphy Co. "Whether it's sheets, towels or beautiful knits for guest areas, our new lines offer the same famous Comphy softness we are known for and come in a wide selection of sizes, colors, designs and fabrics."

The new towel line offers spa professionals another way to pamper guests, and includes an array of luxurious towels designed specifically for spa use. The line includes Comphy's Bamboo, Essential, Simply Organic, Serenity, Opulent, Salon, Makeup and Fitness towels. Meanwhile, the company's new knits include the Bubble Cable Throw and Damask Blankets, while the Comphy Baby line includes a fitted sheet and quilted baby blanket - in a variety of sets and colors - proven to contribute to a better night's sleep.

For more information, please visit

Spa News: Aromatherapy Associates Announces New CEO

Image courtesy Levi PCPR

Tracey Woodward has been appointed as CEO of the spa and beauty brand.

Aromatherapy Associates recently announced the appointment of Tracey Woodward as Chief Executive Officer. Tracey will assume the CEO position of the award-winning global spa and beauty brand, Aromatherapy Associates, and the male grooming brand, The Refinery, on April 7th, 2016.

Tracey Woodward brings a wealth of spa, retail and beauty experience to Aromatherapy Associates having worked in the industry for over 30 years. Tracey’s previous successes have included building the Aveda brand in the UK, Commercial Director at Urban Retreat Spa at Harrods and Harvey Nichols, General Manager for Modern Organic Products, Brand Management at Donna Karan Beauty and, most recently at Marks & Spencer where she helped redesign and develop the beauty department. Tracey has also been a retained consultant to B&B Investment Partners since June 2014.

Tracey Woodward commented, “Aromatherapy Associates is an iconic British brand and our intention is to build on the legacy of brand founder Geraldine Howard. We aim to stay true to the authenticity and heritage of both Aromatherapy Associates and The Refinery, and further develop our offering of exceptional services and products.”

Chris Britton at B&B Investment Partners, the investors in Aromatherapy Associates, commented, “Tracey’s successful background in spa, retail and product development, as well as her leadership and unrivaled experience in the beauty industry means Aromatherapy Associates and The Refinery will remain true to their origins and missions, while building an exciting future.”