Would you dare to bare all?
The question of nudity in spas appears to stem from which country you come
from. This is according to Marion Schneider of Toskana Therme Bad Sulza who
advises therapists on being culturally aware when giving a treatment…
”In my opinion, the English education system is still very conservative.
Genders are often separated from an early age and this continues as girls and
boys are, in many cases, taught in different schools.
One key issue emerges when
English-speaking guests visit a spa: if your therapist’s client is of the
opposite gender, your therapist should take special care to respect the very
high level of privacy expected by the guest.
Marion Schneider, CEO,
Nudity in general is a very delicate issue. When catering for
clients from England, you should avoid any situation in which they feel
exposed to your staff. Ideally, they need a private area to undress and
dress and some means of covering their nudity in between, such as a
bathrobe or a large towel.
During treatments, English clients expect that private
parts will always be covered. This is a must, at least for massages.
For water treatments your clients may want to wear their bathing
suit. Conducting treatments in a subdued atmosphere or with lights
dimmed helps clients feel less exposed. Guests from the United States
share this sense of delicacy.
A little background knowledge helps us to understand this attitude
better: even from a young age little children are always dressed. Young girls
already wear bikinis and children are not supposed to be naked in public.
Americans, therefore, wear swimming clothes even in the sauna, regardless of the
fact that the Scandinavian origins of sauna definitely prescribe nudity.
Accordingly it’s very hard for Americans to change their habits and adapt to
local rituals. If you wish to adopt a general approach to global spa guests,
it’s advisable to orientate your services around the greater needs of one client
group so your staff can please all clients without even thinking about it.
helps secure a greater level of general customer satisfaction. As the US and UK
share many key cultural values, if you cater for the needs of visitors from the
US, your guests from Britain will also feel more at ease.
The core of the
predominant values found in the US is rooted in English culture, after all. Many
Germans – just as in Scandinavian cultures – are well used to nakedness.
Germany, naturist beaches or lakeshore areas are quite widespread. Young and old
go bathing completely naked and it’s quite natural. While not prohibited, there
are usually separate stretches of beaches or lakeshore for naturists. In the age
of industrialisation and the working-class movement, a naturist movement arose
around outdoor activities such as hiking and biking which still exists today.
Comradeship and friendship was expressed through the ability not to feel
shameful in one another’s presence. That doesn’t mean that every German enjoys
this to the same degree, but nudity is not regarded as disrespectful or
shameless but rather an expression of trust and being at ease – communicated
As Europeans exchange these experiences in today’s market, the
spa industry is in a unique position to educate and to translate this sensitive
knowledge into good business practice.”
The SPA Traveller: "Perhaps it's only the bravest
few who will dare to bare all!"
• Together with her husband, Marion and
Klaus Schneider own and manage the Klinikzentrum Bad Sulza, Hotel der Therme Bad
Sulza and the Kurhaus Hotel Bad Orb in Germany.
They also manage the Toskana
Therme Bad Sulza and the Toskana Therme Bad Schandau close to Dresden.
also the Chair of the British International Spa Association (BISA).
Therme Bad Sulza
T: +49 36 461 91826
The Bare Essentials
by Marion Schneider, was supplied courtesy of European Spa magazine - the no.1
magazine for spa professionals. Visit: