Ask the Experts: Secrets of Spa

luxury spa holidays

How many times have you been for a spa treatment and left feeling like it was a lot of ‘bells and whistles’ and not really relaxing? In this week’s ‘Ask The Experts’ blog, our 4th in the series, we’re talking  all things spa with Spa Aficionado Richard Williams. Richard is a Spa Consultant and Trainer with over 15 years experience in the Spa industry in Australasia. He’s had his healing hands on  5 Star Health Spa Chiva Som, Peninsula Bangkok and most recently A.W. Lake Spa Concepts.

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There are so many spa treatments these days, is it all a fad?

People are seeking authentic treatments now, terminology like ‘take you to heaven’ or ‘make you look 20 years younger’ just won’t cut it! In Asia, as in many other parts of the world, it’s about culturally relevant spa experiences, potentially embracing indigenous products and spa treatments which offer something more authentic but still results driven.

A good spa therapist always asks about the pressure, if you have a gentle massage does that mean its not therapeutic?

Gentle and as they say ‘less is more’, can often be the most therapeutic. Basically, it’s ‘horses for courses’, with each person having a certain disposition or feeling at that time. Modalities, such as Craniosacral Therapy or more energy based treatments often have profound therapeutic benefits. It’s not always about ‘no pain, no gain’.

flotation tank

What latest spa trends do you think are worth it and what can they do for you?

The benefits of far infra red saunas and flotation tanks, I believe, are highly undervalued. Of course human touch will always remain significantly healing, trends towards movement and mobility and not hours lying stationery on a massage couch are great too. Stretch, breathing, mobilisation and intuitive massage are all practices I find appealing. Also, as we are all time poor these days, treatments that get down to business and forget all the ‘fluff’ are increasingly popular!

Name one complete gimmick you’ve seen on your spa travels?

I once saw a ‘so called’ therapist at an event with a massage chair and angel wings dancing around the guest and giving seemingly meaningless ‘performance’ body work! I think for me that was the most frustrating and infuriating thing I have seen.

male spa treatments

What is your own personal favourite spa treatment?

Apart from a wow geographical location such as an ocean cliff top or a jungle with stream, my tastes are fairly simple and would involve a great body scrub and a massage from an intuitive therapist who understands anatomy and physiology and knows exactly where, when and how to provide authentic muscle work.

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What spa products do you adore?

There are many great products in the market ranging from traditional Chinese based, to herbs, to flower remedies. For me. more natural or organic, authentic products that are still high performance and results driven will win my vote.


Thanks Richard!



Richard has managed spas such as Chivasom and Peninsula Hotels in Bangkok and pre-opening Shanghai. Bali based, Richard offers spa consulting services predominantly in Asia and continues to endorse culturally relevant authentic spa experiences.

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