Hospo Stories

Hands Off! Touchless Wellness in the Modern Spa

Touchless spa treatments are nothing new. Float tanks and sound therapy have been around for decades, and Reiki is said to be 2500 years old – all have contactless elements. Still, most of us think of hands-on treatments like massage when we think about going to a spa.

Post-pandemic, this may be changing. Though it is unlikely that technology will ever fully replace the magic of a skilled therapist, it can offer an alternative for those uncomfortable with close contact and additional benefits which complement traditional treatments. It also opens up new revenue opportunities for businesses struggling with staff and space shortages.

Hi-tech solutions will, of course, require a significant financial investment, so it’s important to do your research before making an investment. And there are a lot to choose from as well. We’ve broken down some options to get you started.


Automation in wellness has been around for quite a while, but luckily it has come a long way from the vibrating massage chairs you rent in an airport. And while the modern version have yet to beat the experience you will have with a well-trained therapist, they do offer an alternative for a touch-adverse client. With benefits for recovery as well as relaxation, massage chairs could also be a great addition for gym facilities or hotels which don’t have a spa but want to promote wellness as part of their offering. Some may even offer multiple benefits, such as the Daiwa Supreme Hybrid which combines a yoga stretch with massage for a deeper experience.

A dry hydromassage chair or bed, which uses jets of heated water to massage the client, offers similar benefits. These the effects of hydrotherapy, massage therapy, acupressure, thermotherapy and trigger point therapy to relieve pain and increase blood circulation and range of motion, thereby decreasing the need for other therapies.

An option for a different sort of therapy is the Gharieni Celliss. Though it looks a bit like a massage chair, it’s actually a “body contouring device” which uses a non-invasive aspiration and percussion process to treat cellulite and help reduce weight. The user can adjust the speed and intensity for a personalized experience.

Light Therapy

Red Light Therapy, or RLT, is an emerging form of therapy which shows promise for treating some skin conditions, though more clinical research is needed. A form of phototherapy, it works by exposing the skin to low levels of red and near-infrared light. It is said to help with, amongst other things, reducing the signs of aging, reducing pain and promoting faster healing. If this is something you are interested in exploring, there are handheld devices as well ones such as the Prism Light Pod which resemble tanning beds for a full body experience.

Sound Therapy

Though some will write it off as being too ‘new agey’, sound therapy has been used for thousands of years and has been proved beneficial in numerous scientific studies. The low-tech version, a sound bath, can be enjoyed by almost anyone and in group settings, making it accessible as well as a lower investment.

A sound bath is an experience in which the recipient is ‘bathed’ in sound waves from singing bowls, tuning forks or even the human voice – there are a variety of sources. The sound and resonances help the mind to let go, and many say that it helps promote healing as well. If you don’t have a practitioner, it’s possible to offer a virtual sound bath instead – just be sure to invest in a good sound system or headphones for a richer experience.

On the hi-tech end, there are also options such as the Welnamis from Gharieni. This is an acoustic and vibrational technology that teaches the brain to relax using specific vibrations and binaural frequencies. The Welnamis treatment itself requires no therapist, but the table can be used for other treatments as well, making it convenient to combine with massage once your client is relaxed.

Sensory Deprivation

Many people will be familiar with float tanks, also known as sensory deprivation or isolation tanks. You climb into a lightless, soundless pod and float in water heavily salted with Epsom and heated to skin temperature. For some, this sensory deprivation can help to induce deep relaxation or even a meditative state, while others feel highly claustrophobic. They can also be a hard sell as they are time consuming – the user must shower before and after, in addition to the experience itself. If you are considering adding sensory deprivation to your offerings, you may want to consider a dry float tank like the Zerobody Starpool. In this, you ‘float’ on a sort of waterbed of heated water, with the option of listening to a variety of mindfulness programs or relaxing music as well. It may not be as special of an experience, but your busy clientele can fit it into a lunchbreak.

Virtual Reality

If your clientele is full of busy people who have trouble turning off, virtual reality may be able to help. With its ability to immerse the user in an alternative experience or environment, VR can calm an active mind and pull you into the here and now. Some spas are using it for guided meditation, while others give guests a short session pre-massage to treat the mind as well as the body.

The Benefits

If you are looking for something new to add to your treatment menu, or have clients asking for options, touchless wellness is an interesting and potentially profitable area to look into. Whether it is state-of-the-art machinery or something simpler, incorporating touchless treatments into your menu offers several benefits, including diversifying your offering to ensure a more sustainable business. With staffing still a struggle for many businesses, technology can help fill in the gaps when you don’t have a therapist and monetise what would otherwise be an empty room. Technology won’t replace people, but it could be a beneficial addition for your business and your guests alike.