Joq Day Spa For Men
By Reporter
NBC News
updated 6/16/2005 9:33:07 AM ET 2005-06-16T13:33:07

The well-worn tradition of giving a tie for Father’s Day has become so "20th century" as more men begin embracing their inner metrosexual. And as men consider the importance of inner peace, physical strength and emotional health, it may be time for a trip to the local day spa.

Already, U.S. men have become more health conscious in terms of what they eat, how much they work out and how they look. The International SPA Association reports that male consumers now comprise nearly 30 percent of all spa-goers, signaling a trend that industry insiders say is only just beginning to take off.

'Time to relax, reflect, revitalize'
“Taking the time to relax, reflect, revitalize and rejoice is very important for one’s health,” says ISPA president Lynne Walker McNees, who adds that a trip to the day spa can be beneficial to a man’s overall health by alleviating stress and tension.

In an industry that boasted $11.2 billion in 2003 revenues alone, McNees attributes the rise in male spa-goers to men becoming more aware of the benefits of a healthy life, and to wives and girlfriends who often expose men to the luxuries of day spas.

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“Men should take advantage of what spas have to offer,” says James White, a 35-year-old computer consultant in Chicago.

“I liked my visit and I didn’t feel it was an affront to my manhood or anything,” says White, whose was introduced to the day-spa experience by his wife. “I thought to myself, if you make the money and can pay for it, why not let someone else pamper you?”

More men getting hooked
Hector Pena, manager of the NICKEL Spa for men in New York City, credits much of the spa’s success to women who often drag men in kicking and screaming. But, Pena says, once the men go through the array of pampering and bodywork treatments, they get hooked and often begin arranging their own visits.

White's wife, Tennille Allen, a 29-year-old sociologist, first bought him a visit after she got tired of giving her husband traditional presents and thought the day-spa idea would be exciting for both of them.

“I sent him to a day spa because I wanted to come up with something new and I thought if he likes it, maybe he will send me to the spa more,” says Allen. “So there was a little something in it for me, too.”

White enjoyed the experience so much that he has made several trips back to his favorite day-spa in Chicago, and Allen happily says he has increased her number of visits to the spa as well.

An industry niche
For some men, the attraction to day spas is a result of the aggressive targeting of new all-male day spas that approach the spa experience from a more masculine perspective, offering men "body detailing" (instead of pedicures and manicures) and "camouflaging" (instead of hair coloring).

At the JOQ (pronounced "Jock") Day Spa for Men in Atlanta, Ga., president Andy Jones attracts male customers by offering an array of services specifically tailored to them, including “bodybuilder” bikini waxes and car detailing.

“It’s a man’s world here at JOQ,” says Jones, who also specializes in a line of men’s cosmetics, and that strategy appears to be paying off.

In New York, the NICKEL Spa is experiencing similar success. As the third addition in a chain of NICKEL Spas created by French entrepreneur Philippe Dumont, the spa aims to provide a “masculine” approach to the day-spa experience. The spa interior was modeled after a cobalt submarine, giving the rooms a masculine and earthy feel, which Dumont says was purely intentional.

“I was really embarrassed in all those unisex spas which are in fact 99.99 percent women,”  Dumont says. “I really did not like all the fuss and I felt the need for a men-only spa, but the success was a real surprise to me.”

Though all-male spas are successful in cities like Washington, Atlanta, Seattle and Chicago, their overall financial success is difficult to discern. While the ISPA has been tracking male consumers for the past three years, it does not track what proportion of the multi-billion dollar industry male day spas account for. However, McNees says the number of all-male spas opening around the country indicates this is a trend that is here to stay.

In fact, day spas have become so popular that some insurance companies like BlueCross BlueShield and Companion HealthCare in South Carolina have added a day-spa network to their programs.

Costs worth paying
And for many professional men, the day spa experience has become a personal expense they're more than willing to pay for.

Kevin Hill, a 40-year-old attorney in New Orleans, says he came to the conclusion that his personal health was just as important as the time and money he spent on work and attire.

“I realized that it didn't make sense to wear a $2,000 Pal Zalerie suit and $900 crocodile shoes and the body under the suit was begging for relaxation and my feet were dry and achy.”

Dr. Robert Gotlin, director of the Orthopedic and Sports Rehabilitation Department at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, agrees and says a visit to a spa offers both health and financial benefits. “Stress has a significantly global impact on the body,” says Gotlin. “But by alleviating stress, one can help prevent sickness and increase longevity.”

Furthermore, many women are beginning to notice a difference in their men. Tennille Allen says she sees a dramatic change in her husband each time he returns from getting a pedicure. Instead of being his usual tense and stressed-out self, Allen says he doesn't want to talk about work, but just keeps marveling at how soft his feet are.

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