History & Realization

The Genesis of

The seed for this project - the first-ever Evidence-Based Medicine portal for spa and wellness therapies - was planted at the 2010 Global Spa Summit by Dr. Kenneth Pelletier, a renowned expert in the field of Integrative Medicine. He noted in his keynote address that:

"The spa industry has been FAR too quiet in trumpeting the evidence-based data that supports many spa modalities. Thousands of studies favor the use of approaches such as massage, yoga, meditation and acupuncture, but the data has not been easily accessible. We do not need to wait for research to happen. We need to aggregate the research that already exists and broadcast it."

So, over the next year, The Global Spa Summit, whose single mission it is to advance the spa and wellness industries - and a global organization responsible for some of the most critical, recent spa industry research initiatives - took up Dr. Pelletier’s challenge and ran with it.

About the Global Spa Summit

The Global Spa Summit is the leading event and advocacy organization for the worldwide spa and wellness industries, with an overriding mission of "Joining together, shaping the future." At each annual conference, invited executives and leaders from around the world gather for discussion, debate and collaboration to accomplish together what would not be possible individually. For more information, go to

The organization's Board of Directors are:

  • Emanuel Berger (CEO, Berger Hospitality Management, Switzerland)
  • Anna Bjurstam (Managing Director, Raison d'Etre, Sweden)
  • Philippe Bourguignon (Vice Chairman, Revolution Places, USA)
  • Dr. Marc Cohen (Professor, RMIT University, Australia)
  • Richard Dusseau (President & CEO, Spa Strategy, USA)
  • Pete Ellis (Chairman & CEO, SpaFinder, Inc., USA)
  • Susie Ellis (President, SpaFinder, Inc., USA)
  • Andrew Gibson (Group Director of Spas, Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong)
  • Susan Harmsworth (Founder & CEO, ESPA Intl, United Kingdom)
  • Jeff Matthews (President & COO, Mandara Spa, Indonesia)
  • Anne McCall Wilson (VP Spas, Fairmont Raffles Hotels Intl., Canada)
  • Prof. Mary Tabacchi, PhD (Associate Professor, Cornell, USA)

Industry Sponsors

Each year, generous companies from the spa and wellness industries step forward to support the Global Spa Summit’s annual research initiatives. Eight companies stepped forward to underwrite this groundbreaking portal: Fairmont Raffles Hotels International, Murad, Red Door Spas, ResortSuite, SpaFinder, Inc., SpaSoft, Westin Hotels and Resorts Worldwide and Yelo Spa. Without their financial support this online resource would not have been possible.

Realization & Technology

The vision for, and realization of, this portal required strong technology leadership. SelfOptima, a technology leader with full commitment to promotion of evidence-based holistic and integrative modalities, was a natural partner. SelfOptima not only helped aggregate this rich content, but also developed the behind-the-scenes technology to allow effortless future expansion. This implementation provides the ability to seamlessly integrate this portal and its rich content into each spa’s online presence. It is this flexible functionality that truly sets the implementation apart.

SelfOptima's vision is to transform the spa industry through cutting edge technology. The proprietary recommendation engine and assessment technologies enable delivery of highly personalized programs and communication to each individual guest. These innovative technologies, a fundamental part of their Personalized Guest Engagement System, are ideal solutions for making the spa experience an integral part of guests' lives and turning them into long-term brand loyalists.

This online portal's content and functionality will continue to expand and grow. For instance, we'll be adding new, searchable spa and wellness therapies (to the 22 available now) each and every quarter.