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, Toskanaworld, Germany

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.

Most 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.

This 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.

In 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 without words.

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.

Marion is also the Chair of the British International Spa Association (BISA).

Toskana Therme Bad Sulza
+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:



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