I THINK OF SPA PROFESSIONALS AS ARTISTS, OF SORTS. THE TECHNIQUES, AND TALENTS TO HELP CREATE A “NEW YOU.” THAT IS CERTAINLY TRUE OF PARK CITY’S ALIGN SPA, WHOSE EMPLOYEES ARE THE CREAM OF THE CROP–WELL- TRAINED, SEASONED PROS WITH AN EXCELLENT (MASSAGE) BEDSIDE MANNER. I SAT DOWN WITH TWO OF THEM–BRAND MANAGER AND MASSAGE THERAPIST THOMAS FLOCCO AND AESTHETICIAN LISA HALES–TO CHAT ABOUT THE ART OF THE SPA EXPERIENCE.
As a former professional snowboarder with a background in exercise science from Keene State College in New Hampshire, Flocco was already well acquainted with massage therapy and bodywork, “which helped me perform and compete,” he says. “So getting all that bodywork and having that health science background got me interested in massage school. I went to the Myotherapy College of Utah, which was really fun and taught me a ton.” Fast-forward to today and he’s been with Align Spa for 15 years.
Hales was on track to become a registered nurse and laughs when she says, “but realized I didn’t really want to be bedside during surgeries and things like that, so I went more to the path of aesthetics and went to Cameo College in Salt Lake.” She wound up teaching at Cameo and joined Align Spa 11 years ago.
Flocco, who is nothing if not buff, lights up when he talks about the therapeutic angle of the spa experience. “The nice thing about our spa is that just about everything we do has a therapeutic bonus to it. With bodywork and facials there are so many benefits like improved circulation, stress reduction, anxiety relief, physically lengthening of muscle tissue, getting a better mindset … there are more benefits than I could talk about during a one-hour massage. One thing I love more and more about this industry is the therapeutic aspect and that we’re really helping people treat pain.”
Because they’re based in a ski town, Align Spa tends to draw clients who are more active and athletic than you’d probably find in many other cities. Hales notes that because of our dry, high-altitude, sunny climate skin care is essential. “We do a lot of skin cancer prevention, hydrating, collagen induction–things that you might not have to worry about so much at sea level.
Eeach spa experience is different for each person and Hales advises clients to not be afraid “to communicate your expectations. Your treatment and your spa experience can kind of be whatever you want it to be. For instance, we don’t have specific facials–everything is customized. And with massages, it’s the same: you can do deep tissue, therapeutic, or more of a relaxing massage. If you communicate your expectations, you’re going to get the exact treatment you want.”
When asked what they themselves look for when visiting a spa, both Hales and Flocco agree that cleanliness is key. “My biggest pet peeve when walking into a spa is a dirty bathroom,” says Flocco. And they look for a very positive vibe, from the check-in at the front desk to how your therapist or aesthetician greets you. “Are they pushy, or do they allow you to guide the session? Those are the types of things we really pay attention to at Align Spa. At the end of the day, it’s all in the details.” n