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Talking With: Mia Mackman, Founder, Arizona Spa and Wellness Association

Mia Mackman is founder of the Arizona Spa and Wellness Association, whose goal is to promote industry best practices, community utilization, wellness tourism and innovative spa-and-wellness integration. She is a global industry consultant who specializes in spa and wellness, strategic planning and business consulting. For more than a decade, she has predicted some of the leading shifts in the market.

What’s hot right now? Wellness tourism, she says.

Here’s what she has to say about the Arizona spa culture and why you need to indulge:

Q: What makes the Greater Phoenix area so attractive for spa visitors?

Mia Mackman: The Phoenix/Scottsdale area has an incredible selection of spas. If you’re looking to escape the winter months, Arizona’s fall and winter seasons offer a sunny reprieve with mild temperatures, ideal for being outdoors and enjoying the desert landscape. This time of year is especially full of energy and life with a variety of resort activities and festivities.

Mia Mackman, founder, Arizona Spa and Wellness Association

Q: Describe the range and types of spas the Phoenix/Scottsdale area has to offer.

MM: Spa experiences range from relaxation, nature and wellness to deep healing and preventative lifestyle programs. Many spas in Arizona are centered around aspects related to well-being such as yoga, meditation, vitality and health. While a number of spas offer indigenous spa rituals and custom treatments, lifestyle and spiritual counseling have also become prominent.

Q: Your advice to a visitor trying to choose among the different spas?

MM: When choosing a spa experience that is right for you, it’s important to listen to your inner voice. Ask yourself, what type of environment would best nurture you, pamper you and revitalize you? Decide if you are seeking aesthetic pampering, bodywork or lifestyle support. Understanding what you’re looking for before you start will help you navigate the abundant array of choices.

The Spa at Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North

Q: What are some of the more unusual or unique spa treatments visitors can find in the Greater Phoenix area?

MM: For people looking for something a little different, I suggest trying a float spa, visiting an oxygen bar or experiencing a session of salt therapy, also known as halotherapy. These modalities have tremendous health benefits.

Wild Horse Aji Couples Roonm
Couples’ treatment room at Aji Spa, Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass Resort

Q: When is your busy season and why?

MM: Traditionally high-season in Phoenix/Scottsdale has been between October through March. However, high season appears to be starting earlier and often runs through April or late May, in other areas of the state. Low-season is predictably during the summer months, due to the heat and high temperatures.

The Phoenician, Scottsdale, against a mountain backdrop
The Phoenician, Scottsdale, against a mountain backdrop

Q: What insider secrets can you share with someone who has never been to a spa before? Same question, but for experienced spa-goers?

MM: If you are a first-time spa goer and new to spa culture, here are three quick tips: First, take your time and allow yourself to relax. The first encounter at a spa can have a powerful effect on people. Second, don’t hesitate to ask questions (no matter how small). Let the staff know it’s your first spa excursion and you’ll find they are happy to help, answer your questions and make you feel at ease. Third, remember by taking care of you, you can take better care of others. Eliminate any awkward guilt. Bliss out!

Seasoned spa goers should remember to try new treatments. Massage is wonderful, but indigenous spa rituals can be phenomenal and memorable.

Contact Mia Mackman: mia@azspawell.com

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