Where to find useful literature for Spa & Wellness professionals?

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Where to find useful literature for Spa & Wellness professionals?

According to Euromonitor ‘global health and wellness sales’ will reach a record high of 1 Trillion USD in the year 2017!

The industry is growing constantly, spa professionals are highly sought after as never before, offers for training and qualifications are numerous in the meantime (if little standardised).

How come, that there is little useful management literature for Spa & Wellness professionals out there?

The German Wellness association for example has not published new data on their homepage since April 2014.

“Technical literature addresses a professional audience mostly with a look at professional application or gaining new scientific findings.”

Technical Literature can be:

  • Textbooks
  • Newspapers
  • Journals
  • Articles
  • Handbooks
  • Instructions
  • Standards
  • Management books
  • Lexika and encyclopaedias
  • or Scientific publications.

What are possibly the reasons for the lack of Spa & Wellness Management literature? Is it hard to produce technical literature?

Or to expensive? Is know-how missing? Or interest from experts or readers?

Or is there maybe to much arrogance like “…how hard can it be to run a spa successfully…” ?

Werner Stangl says on lerntipp.at: (English translation by the author) “Reading of technical literature requires knowledge, interest, and attention and is hence hard  intellectual work. The reader has to retrace the author’s thoughts, question the same, think ahead, make connections to her existing knowledge, take in everything and arrange her ideas.”

When starting in the industry in the late 1080s, there wasn’t any useful literature with regards to Spa & Wellness Management. I used to read a lot about sports, topics such as anatomy, sports physiology and sports psychology.

useful literature for spa & wellness professionals


In the year 1993 I published together with a colleague a comprehensive work with the rather lurid title “The Cellulite-Killer”. Actually something I should be ashamed of today, however you have got to start somewhere, don’t you…



Over the years, I have managed to assemble a pretty nice Wellness-library, and I am happy to have you have a look at my bookshelf:

The Spa Book – The official guide to spa therapy (by Jane Crebbin-Bailey / Dr John Harcup / John Harrington, Cengage Learning EMEA ) is a great reference book for beginners with chapters such as history of spas, properties of water, spa therapies, or safety and hygiene.

health and wellness tourism (by Melanie Smith / Laszlo Puczko, Butterworth Heinemann) My colleague Laszlo is the expert in Wellness Tourism. There are some great case studies in this book.

useful literature for spa & wellness professionals

Spa – a comprehensive introduction (by Redman Johnson, American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (short AH&LA)) is a useful sequel for all those, who are already familiar with basics of spa & wellness, and/or working in Spa Management.

understanding the global spa industry – Spa Management (by Marc Cohen and Gerard Bodeker, Butterworth Heinemann) 
The two industry leaders Cohen and Bodeker published the first edition of this comprehensive – almost 500 pages strong – book already in 2008. For some of the topics they have attracted specialists as guest authors. The content is structured into “Planning”, “Profit”, “Product”, “Planet”, and “People”.

useful literature for spa & wellness professionals

Spa Business Strategies – A Plan For Success (by Janet M. D’Angelo, Thomson Delmar Learning)
This book is from 2006 and addresses entrepreneurs in particular. Chapters such as ‘What is your vision’, “Getting down to Business’ or ‘Purchasing a Day Spa’ are great for those who are thinking of opening their own business.

Leadership – Enhancing the lessons of experience (by Hughes / Ginnett / Curphy, McGraw Hill) is not only restricted to the Wellness industry, yet important for any team leader and executive.
Discussion on modern leadership techniques (“Leadership is a process, not a position”) as much as on core competencies are accompanied by mini cases. well structured, comprehensive reference work. 

useful literature for spa & wellness professionals

Kotler on Marketing (by Philip Kotler, Free Press)
Kotler is renowned as THE marketing guru and has published a number of great books, articles, and thesis’s.  I have this book in paperback in a compact format, which is why I like to go back to it for reference quiet often, not only for its detailed subject index.
Again, not purely wellness related work, yet Kotler’s marketing concepts are applicable to spa & wellness businesses.

Another interesting work is called Marketing for Hospitality and Tourism (Pearson Education by Kotler / Bowen / Makens) which contains good marketing highlights, cases, summaries and inspirations for discussions or experimental exercises.


Hospitality Industry Managerial Accounting (by Raymond Schmidgall, AH&LA) is also no work that adresses the wellness industry only, however to me holds mandatory basic knowledge for anyone in a managerial position:  Introduction to Managerial Accounting, Balance Sheet, Income Statement and Cash Flow Statement, cost concepts, Budgeting and Controlling, taxes… nothing any spa manager can look the other way.

Light on Yoga (by B.K.S. Iyengar) “The bible of modern Yoga” is THE book about Yoga Practise and Yoga Philosophy and a must read for all, that are dealing with Yoga even in the slightest way. For most Yoga Teacher Trainings, this book is mandatory reading.

Online Magazines, E-zines and Websites

Good news for ‘information for professionals’!

When looking for data or facts in the industry, I usually first turn across the big pond to Global Wellness Summit and their Resourcen Bank , or to the International Spa Association iSPA.

Spa Business is one of my favourite online magazines, a variety of free downloads are available. Connected is Spa Opportunities with plenty of interesting job openings internationally for all of you, you have always dreamed of “working and living abroad”! And by the way… I have published an article in Spa Business, issue 2/2016 on page 21, related to my blog article on online booking.

Wellness World Business is something like the German correspondent to Spa Business.

Above you can find a big variety of glossy ‘wellness’ magazines at the kiosk around the corner, which to me are no suitable technical literature. 

My biggest critique to glossy print in general: too many adverts.

This is one of the reasons why I like blogs. Of course you can find some black sheep here too, who make their money with (affiliate) marketing only (and to me are hence no longer entirely independent). Yet there are many that can convince with good content alone:

Blogs & Co.

The great thing about blogs? 

They are personal and constantly offer new content which is typically ‘lifelong’. Above, they are interactive, meaning I can ask the author my question straight away, even whilst reading.

Teilnehmerticket SpaCamp

First of all, I name (German language) Spa Camp Blog

A large crowd of guest authors offers a bandwidth of topics. This way a huge database grew over the years and you can find tips, instructions, and knowledge to almost any spa & wellness related question. Besides, you can contact the respective expert straight away.

Spa Balance Consulting used to be on my reading list in the past regularly. Although they have not published much new content lately, some of their older articles are still valuable.

Wellness Tourism Worldwide by my dear colleague Camille is more of a magazin, however has a personal touch like a blog for me, and is hence listed here, in the category ‘ read worthy blog’.

With my own blog TalkWellness I address spa & wellness professionals in articles on daily operational issues, trends, news, Spa and Product Reviews, great interviews with Spa & Wellness Personalities and more.


Social Networks

Although I do not consider Social Media an ideal source for technical literature, I do like to be inspired with new ideas on channels such as Instagram, Twitter, Google+, Facebook or LinkedIn.

Which topics would you be interested in for technical literature?

Or do you have a book recommendation for me? I am looking forward to your email to anja@talkwellness.at !

Anja Eva Keller Spa & Wellness Consulting


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