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Spas Growing in Popularity in US

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Spas are becoming more popular in the United States.

A spa is a business where people go to improve their health and appearance by getting treatments, exercising or relaxing.

Spa activities include using saunas, getting massages and skincare and bathing.

Last year, Americans visited spas a record 190 million times. And they spent about $18.3 billion dollars. Those numbers come from the International Spa Association, or ISPA.

The industry group recently held its yearly event for the media. Garrett Mersberger is the association's board chairman. He spoke to the Associated Press about trends in the industry.

One trend: More American men have been going to spas. "It used to always be a female-driven thing. We're now seeing 50-50, if not swinging more toward the males," Mersberger said.

He said the trend started around 2017, when the association reported that 49 percent of people going to spas were men, up from 29 percent in 2005.

"They're [men are] much more aware that it's not just a thing I go to get pampered. It's an actual lifestyle choice with benefits to my body, to my wellness…It's not just about going for relaxation," Mersberger said.

Another trend: Spas are using more technology. Kohler Waters Spas, for example, recently launched a virtual reality headset meant to be used for guided meditation.

The experience offers the choice of music or the sound of a person's voice with pictures during manicures and pedicures. The headsets show pictures of mountain lakes, beaches, waterfalls, clouds and the night sky. Kohler is considering more virtual reality devices to go with massages and other treatments.

Charging stations at manicure and pedicure areas are also on the rise. That way, people getting treatments can keep their electronic devices fully charged.

"Nothing stresses a Millennial out more than taking their phone away," said Linda McNees, the ISPA's president. "The whole idea is to be able to relax, so it's really about thinking about customization. What's going to make you comfortable?"

I'm John Russell.

Leanne Italie reported on this story for the Associated Press. John Russell adapted her story for Learning English. Mario Ritter Jr. was the editor.

Words in This Story

relaxing –adj. providing rest and reducing tension and worry

trend –n. something that is currently popular

pamper – v. to treat (someone or something) very well : to give (someone or something) a lot of attention and care

benefit –n. something that is good or helpful

virtual reality – n. an artificial world of images and sounds created by a computer that is affected by the actions of a person who is experiencing it

meditation –n. the process of spending time in quiet thought

manicure – n. a treatment to improve the appearance and health of the hands and fingernails

pedicure – n. a treatment to improve the appearance and health of the feet or toenails

millennial –n. a person who enters adulthood during the period after the end of the year 2000

customization – n. from the verb customize: to change (something) in order to fit the needs or requirements of a person, business, etc.

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