The Latest Spa & Wellness Tech Trends in 2023
Over the years, the spa market has evolved significantly to offer a more holistic approach to wellness. Many spas now integrate elements such as meditation and mindfulness into their offerings, as well as specialty services like Eastern Medicine therapies, Ayurveda, hydrotherapy, and sound therapy.
Technology is the next spa and wellness frontier, with the evolution of treatment offerings adapting to meet changing demands. The spa industry has become “a fusion of natural and high tech", according to the Global Cosmetic Industry. At the 2023 ISPA Conference in Las Vegas (May 9-11, 2023), various wellness brands showcased their best and latest, with high-tech touchless and high-tech concepts.
So what are some notable trends in Wellness Tech in 2023? Let's find out.
6 Spa & Wellness Technology Trends in 2023
1. Touchless and Non-Invasive Treatments
“Touchless treatments and wearable equipment show that technology is reshaping the spa experience,” said the president of the International Spa SPA Association, Lynne McNees.
The high-tech Bellecell Clinic partners with selected hotels in London to offer their touchless treatments with hyperbaric oxygen chambers, designed to increase cell oxygen and vitality, and Zero Gravity massage chairs.
Gharieni, an award-winning wellness technology brand, has provided the MLX i3Dome and Welnamis to high-tech spas like Johnstown (UK). Combining machine-led therapies and traditional rituals can give “greater benefits and quicker results,” Mullooly - Spa Manager at Johnstown - says.
The first Gharieni experience to enter Vietnam is at the Regent Phu Quoc, which was voted the world's best new resort spa at the World Spa Awards 2022.
Red light therapy, although not new, continued to be in demand as a non-invasive and effective treatment. Brands such as Artemis Distribution and Geneo are leading the non-invasive movement with their endospheres, Plason (Artemis), and Glo2 Facial (Geneo) which triggers a natural oxygenation process within the skin.
reLounge Wave offers their reLounge Wave Mat touchless technology for neck and back pain relief ‘via a harmony of game-changing bioelectrical impulses + heat’, which is available at Be Relax Spa in JFK Airport for travellers to New York. The equipment also features customisable LED lighting system to suit different spa ambiances.
2. Multi-sensory Integration
The Global Wellness Summit reported Multisensory Integration as one of the 12 Wellness Trends for 2023. The integration of the senses enhances our human experience, according to recent developments in neuroscience and neuroaesthetics.
To better promote wellbeing outcomes, intensify the wellness experience, and impact behavioural change, spa & wellness brands are now tapping into several senses at once.
Ari Peralta listed some of the leading brands that are using multiple senses, simultaneously, to better support wellness outcomes. Among the list are Chromasonic - offering experimental art installations in light and sound; Grande Experiences - providing large-scale digital exhibitions and immersive experiences such as Monet in Paris; and mycoocoon | Color Therapy - using colours for sensory resets and positive changes.
There are also various pods explicitly designed for wellness, aimed at providing enclosed spaces and absolute solitude for deep rest, meditation, or sleep therapy. These pods usually combine colours, sounds, frequency vibrations, and sensory therapies. The OpenSeed Lotus II Meditation Pod, for example, enhances breathwork exercises using audio-to-light technology.
Once an exclusive injury recovery therapy for athletes, cryotherapy is now being adopted by spas. Cryotherapy is a form of cold therapy that involves briefly exposing the body to extremely low temperatures (-100°C to -140°C), which can help reduce discomfort and inflammation, and enhance recovery.
WellSpa360 has rounded up expert opinions on current cryotherapy trends, which include:
Cryo-facials and face icing: Devices from GlacialRx for doctors and Neveskin Face for spas are designed to utilize cold therapy to improve circulation, reduce puffiness and promote collagen production
Thermal bathing: Spas are exploring new ways to deliver the benefits of ice baths and cold plunges without the freezing wetness. Snow or ice rooms offer the same benefits, and bathers can also breathe cold air deep into the lungs for respiratory health.
Cryo-saunas and cryotherapy chambers
Cryotherapy is undoubtedly in demand with its many benefits and unique experience - cold plunge baths next to hot pools, and bucket ice showers sound like a fun, invigorating ‘challenge' before an excellent, soothing pampering session.
4. Virtual Reality in Spas & Fitness
Forbes listed Fitness in the Metaverse and Gamified Fitness among the 10 fitness trends that will transform the fitness industry in the future.
In spas, VR tech allows guests to be “transported" to calming locations. Book4time reported that Kohler Waters offers a virtual reality pedicure that combines foot and leg exfoliation with guided meditation. Customisable VR options are available for better breathing and mindfulness.
Another brand, Natura Bisse, places the Mindful Touch Facial on its menu. The session combines its facial and body treatments, VR experience, mindfulness, and the power of touch for a unique, luxurious pampering session.
5. AI-Powered Analysis & Skincare
Spas are also adopting AI-powered analysis for their beauty treatments. AI and advanced facial recognition technology are being used to provide in-depth skin analysis and customised treatments for customers.
AI Skin Analysis, for example, can quickly scan customers' skin conditions, providing more accurate diagnoses for certain skin conditions such as acne, wrinkles, and sun damage; and suggesting corresponding personalised products in a shorter time.
Proven Skincare has created the Skin Genome Project, compiling a massive skincare database to select the best ingredients for a person's skin. Atolla, founded by an MIT engineer, sends testing kits to users to measure their skin conditions and then supplies them with a face serum made specifically for their needs.
In Vietnam, Six Senses Ninh Van Bay has been using non-invasive analysis technology to measure a customer's key biomarkers and design personalised treatments and wellness programs. Their wellness screening is briefly explained in this video: Six Senses Wellness Screening
“Wellness technology has become more accessible in a post-pandemic era, especially in the evaluation of biomarkers such as brain function, gut health, and body inflammation.
I believe a more conscious society has brought an eagerness for people to understand what's going on inside them and use the data to make wise decisions that are personalised to them.
At Six Senses Spa Ninh Van Bay, we offer an intuitive mix of science and human awareness, where a high-tech and high-touch approach defines a service that is crafted around the guest. We encourage guests to conduct our wellness screening which provides a detailed, personalised "picture" of their current health. From there, we tailor the most efficient therapies, nutrition guidelines, and wellness programs.”
- Leonardo Altomar, Director of Spa & Wellness, Six Senses Ninh Van Bay, Vietnam
6. Smarter Fitness Wearables
When integrated with AI technology for at-home and virtual fitness, wearables and sports clothing that capture biometric data such as body movement, muscle stretch, and heart rhythm can significantly improve workout performance results.
BDX, a high-tech private training gym that counts Robert Downey Jr. as its investor, focuses on a mind-body approach with tech hacks. The 9,000 sqm gym in Santa Monica uses Oura Rings - a health-monitoring device worn on a finger - to track vital health stats and sleeping patterns, combined with an infrared sauna for relaxation. “Biosynthesis is stimulated by infrared light [helping] all your cells [in] healing themselves,” says Brad Bose, CEO of BDX.
For more gadgets, read High-Tech Health and Beauty Gadgets Upgrading Hollywood's Wellness Routines.
The Challenges of Spa & Wellness Tech
What others say
As Anna Melville-James pointed out in her experience at the world's most high-tech spas, the human touch is still essential for any wellness journey. “As I mind-journeyed in the dark, I decided that touch is still the premium experience for corporeal beings”, she said.
John Lindsay, Aesthetic Clinician at Lavender by Chang in Vietnam, shared his views:
“The incredible rate at which anti-aging technology is progressing has given us the tools to target any area of our face and body to slow and reverse physical aging without going under the knife. Having worked with cutting-edge technology over the last 20+ years, I believe the satisfaction of the client comes down to the quality of the machines used and, most importantly, the skill, empathy, and trust in the technician who applies them. It is not about being young but rather about maintaining the best version of yourself. Getting older is beautiful; taking control of how you age, empowering.”
“Our intention at Luminary is to incorporate AI and technology in our future strategies in two key areas - improving the guest experience with digital technology in journeys, online assessments, and educational content; and secondly, improving the facility with multi-sensory technology to enhance the experience of the space.”
“I love technology! I believe technology, and AI offerings will be an amazing tool to maximize the clients’ wellness benefits. Our teams can personalize the spa experience for guests, provide quality assessments and comprehensive reports supporting the wellness coaches advisory on treatments, activities, food etc to achieve the guests wellness goals, in combination with the targeted wellness technologies for transformative results. With the support of mobile devices, the client can continue to monitor their progress and could get ongoing lifestyle support from their coach, which ensures lasting change.
- Emilie Chanon, Partner & Group Wellness Director, Luminary Wellness
The wellness tech is useful for more accurate assessments and diagnoses, which can improve the credibility of spa treatment results. Such technology is a great support but cannot replace the human essence, as it’s also about emotion, state of mind, and sometimes complex body conditions that the therapist has to identify in order to understand the tech results and the client’s condition.
Besides, there are challenges regarding clients' data privacy and integrity. Spa and wellness technologies are being developed rapidly, yet there is still a need for a base ecosystem to support their growth and seamless integration.
Adopting the latest technologies also means frequent staff training to assist customers throughout their spa journey. The spas of the future may change drastically when it comes to using technology in treatments and operations, yet the human essence will still remain central as the driving force behind trends.