As more people embrace wellness as a way of life, spas continue to rise in popularity providing health, wellness, social experiences and a sanctuary of solitude.
But news reports continue with stories of infections and illness resulting from poor quality spa treatments and limited industry governance over health and safety.
The Spa Industry Association of Canada (SIAC) and Leading Spas of Canada (LSC™) have created the Quality Assurance© program to address the need for standards and best practices to protect the health and wellness of spa-goers as well as spa employees.
Be an educated spa-goer. Ask if your spa is a member of SIAC and Leading Spas of Canada™, or if they have received their Quality Assurance© Approved designation. And do your own inspection. Here are a few tips of what to look for to help you safeguard yourself.
• The receptionist and therapist are ambassadors of the spa, so be aware of their hygiene. They should appear clean and neat with clean, trimmed nails, no cigarette smell, etc.
• Arrive early and politely request a quick tour of the facility. If you’re not comfortable asking for a tour, visit the restroom and take the opportunity to look around. Observe if the facilities appear clean and well-maintained.
• Items like emery boards, nail buffers, toe separators and wooden cuticle pushers are single-use only, as they can’t be sterilized. Be sure your service provider is using new utensils for your treatment. Ask the spa what sterilization or disinfection methods are used on implements (broad spectrum hospital grade disinfectant or an autoclave, used properly, are answers to listen for.)
• Service providers must wash their hands before beginning the treatment and apply anti-bacterial gel or spray. In addition, gloves should be worn when performing extractions, pedicures or waxing.
• No double-dipping. Ensure any lotions and creams that are being used are dispensed in a way that avoids contamination. Pumps or a new spatula with each dip are acceptable. Using a finger is not acceptable.
• During waxing, watch to be certain your service provider is using a fresh stick each time more wax is needed.
• Is the pillowcase on your bed fresh and free of hair? Clean linens are important! Check that a fresh robe, towel, head band, etc. is being used.
• Ask your therapist about their training. Were they trained in an accredited program?