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Spice it up Steam and sauna (above) are the mainstay of many spa areas but, with a little imagination, clubs could enhance this offering

warms the spine; ideally there would be another light in front of them too. The blood vessels are warmed and the warmed blood travels around the body, raising the core temperature in the same way that exercise does. It causes the body to perspire, release toxins and raises the metabolic rate. Operating costs of an infra-red sauna

are comparable with a fan heater, and they cost around the same as a sauna to install: around £6,000 to £7,000. But McCarthy says that, in spite of being introduced to the UK around 10 years ago, the benefi ts of these saunas have not yet been fully appreciated by the industry.

in the spa direction Elmar Nagele, CEO of Thermarium, says saunas and steamrooms are a tried and tested formula for health clubs, but adds that the quality of the finish could be improved to make more of the spa area. “Health clubs often put these

facilities in a corner, with a plastic steamroom and a basic sauna,” he says, pointing out that “a more luxurious feel could easily be created with better materials and particularly with the addition of a relaxation room”. One product that’s new to the

market, and that could add a defi nite wow factor to the spa area, is Haslauer’s Salve-in-terra. Guests apply mineral mud, either to themselves or to each other, and then lie back for 20 minutes, inhaling herbal-infused steam. They can choose to fi nish off the experience with a shower – either a warm tropical rain or a cool Arctic rain shower, the latter with tiny ice fl akes. “The Salve-in-terra is the perfect end

to a workout: it’s a wonderful, relaxing steam experience, which can help detox the body,” says Regina Fuermann from Haslauer. “Steam experiences help to rid the body of waste, cleanse the skin, increase the blood fl ow and strengthen the immune system, as well as helping to relax muscle tension.”


Swimming pool, wellness and spa supplier Nola 7 offers its top tips for enhancing an existing thermal area: Use evocative names, such as herbal

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sauna and marine steam Upgrade from plastic saunas and

steamrooms to better quality tiles Use fragrances in the sauna and

steamroom – the systems can be retrofi tted. There’s a range of fragrances on offer, including rose, lemongrass and sage, as well as traditional fragrances like eucalyptus

Salve-in-terra is supplied as a 3m-

diameter cabin that’s set up on-site. However, costing a minimum of 30,000, or up to 76,000 for a more high-end version, plus shipping and installation costs, a few more memberships might need to be sold to make this a viable option for many health clubs. Hammams are currently enjoying a

resurgence in popularity, although to recreate the experience is costly and space-consuming, since they require a number of rooms – gradually getting hotter – plus a means of cooling off and a therapist. McCarthy has, however, come up with a formula that could offer a workable solution for health clubs.

“Combining a hammam slab with an ice room and an infra-red sauna could have the same effect of gradually raising the temperature and giving the feeling of a cold plunge,” he says. “A fi ve- or 10-minute massage on a hammam slab could be the perfect way to fi nish off a workout. For higher-end clubs, it’d be a good USP for enhanced membership.”

other trends So what other trends are emerging in the market? Sustainability is something KLAFS has been working on with its

Read Health Club Management online at

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Add an infra-red panel to an

existing sauna If space permits, add a heated

hammam bench to the steamroom, where members can get a massage Improve the lighting: LEDs are

energy-saving and introduce colour and atmosphere. Fibre-optics are also energy-saving and can withstand high temperatures Add an ice fountain

Add an experience shower with a

range of functions, including cooling mists or monsoon rain

Green Sauna package, which can be integrated into all traditional KLAFS sauna models. The design keeps the heat in the cabin for much longer, allowing for the same heat but for significantly less energy input. Also, energy-consuming devices such as the light only operate when the cabin is occupied, reducing energy consumption by 40 per cent. The creation of private areas is another

trend being witnessed in the spa industry, and health clubs might follow in the not too distant future. For example, KLAFS’ integrated sauna and steam cabins tick the privacy box by providing a compact, self-contained and personal environment. Another compact product, also new

to the market, is Tylo’s Impression, which combines sauna and steam in one unit that neatly fi ts into 2.8sq m. It’s split into two sections, one for the steam shower and one for the sauna/steam sauna, separated by a sealed sliding door. With such a wide range of options,

not all requiring vast amounts of space or investment, the added value of a heat experiences area would seem to be at least worthy of clubs’ consideration. kath hudson

august 2010 © cybertrek 2010

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