Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Maslow Theory vs Spa Trends

According to G. Norwood (September 2008) in general, values reflect one's judgment and helps sort out what is important in life. Maslow described what he considered important values that defined one's Being. If basic needs are not met, then there is a tendency to ignore higher needs. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is often portrayed as a pyramid. However all individuals are different and especially in today’s world it is very difficult to understand the needs and values of each individual. People either come from different cultures, a mix of cultures and various social groups. People have different lifestyles, there are individuals who appreciate heritage for example therefore they live an Ethnic lifestyle. There are others who respect the world around them and have turned to an Organic lifestyle. The Bohemians for example express their liberal creativity while they still greatly appreciate and depend on luxury.

Based on the hierarchy of needs I believe that nowadays a visit to a Spa can be considered a combination of needs on all the levels outlined in the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Due to the fact that we live in a stressful and busy environment where people have set very high goals for themselves and have constantly changing expectations, they find it hard to relax and unwind. For example the physiological needs have now gone to a different level, according to S. Jullaprom (June 4, 2009) “there is a significant new demand for wellness vacations, or getaways for those seeking more than just a little extra sleep, they want an emotional and physical restorative experience.” This means that by just getting a good night sleep is no longer enough. The safety level of the hierarchy which focuses on health and well being would definitely be the major focus of the hierarchy however other factors like esteem , belonging and self-actualization also relate to the needs of today’s society to visit a spa. Let’s elaborate on self esteem, which according to Tracy Turner (September, 2006) means “'appreciating your own worth and importance - and it helps you to cope better with the challenges of life”. A visit to a spa helps to rejuvenate a person’s mind, body and soul and it helps to release stress and negativity. Everything we do is dependent on our minds, it is the way we channel our thoughts towards a certain goal, whether it is success, love, friendship or even health. According to Maslow (1943) “humans need to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance” and since the Spas have become so popular it can be considered not only good for the health but also acts as a mark of status in social circles.
According to H. Wu (2002) “the modern Spa, in broad terms, has developed a prevailing mood for a holistic approach to life. The pursuit of a joyful life-style and gleeful body politics influencing not only the lives of trendsetters, health fanatics or spa-goers but also the public’s philosophy of life.” Thus in other words the spa “projects new ways of living, thinking and acting that all in all aims for individuals to live a better life.” Therefore to conclude on the Maslow’s theory of needs and the importance of visiting a spa in today’s society, it is obvious that one cannot select only one level as it is the mixture of all the levels of needs which affects every individual. It can also be noted that the hierarchy is missing the level which is known as “spiritual” and this is because a visit to a spa can also heal the mind. It is more than just a massage of a facial, but it is the bonding of the mind, body and soul. It is a lifestyle of its own.

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