The Power of the Subconscious in the Spa October 20, 2016

The Power of the Subconscious in the Spa

When entering a spa, the guest perceives many different impressions – partly consciously but also subconsciously. In a good spa the guest not only receives the mere treatment they booked but rather a whole experience, which includes the spa as a unit.

We consciously perceive mainly what we know and expect. Impressions that „want to be perceived“, however, need to pass the threshold of consciousness. In general, those are elements for which the guest is prepared. But also aspects that may surprise them.


What’s really exciting is what the guest perceives subconsciously. This includes impressions that do not pass the threshold of consciousness but are still noticed, automatically evaluated and temporarily stored. Thus, they strongly influence the overall impression the guest gains of the spa – according to a “I have this feeling” inkling. That is the power of the subconscious mind. We humans still have this ability, this intuition or the so-called “gut feeling”. For our ancestors it was essential for survival: to feel when “something was wrong” because not every threat could be seen, heard or smelled immediately. This perception that continuously runs in the back of our minds primarily picks up irregularities and discrepancies from normality. The constant collection of countless pieces of information from our surroundings is our internal “big data”, which is permanently compared to our pool of experience.

At some point our subconscious makes itself felt and makes us pay attention to something or think of something that, until this moment, has not been relevant. This ability is, of course, different from person to person and can be lessened by bias (“this is the outstanding spa of a luxury hotel”) but everyone has it.

This is the reason why even the smallest deficiencies and irregularities in a spa may very much be perceived and, thus, contribute to an overall image, an overall impression. This includes, for instance:

  • The minimally irregular behaviour of stressed or anxious staff
  • Optical disharmony, caused by light, colours or other elements
  • Slightly crooked or painted over light switches and floor rails
  • Slightly dirty or worn off floors
  • Loose threads in the towels
  • The type of music and its mixing with other, not desirable technical sounds (e.g. air-conditioning)
  • The slightest unpleasant smells that our trained noses perceive in spite of the scented air or the only faintly perceptible smell of sewage coming from nowhere in particular


The guest may not honour perfection with express praise but what really counts is the good feeling that “everything is right”. They leave the spa with this feeling and are likely to come back, also because of that positive feeling. This is the reason why it is of crucial importance to pay attention to all of these details and to harness this power of the subconscious for your benefit.


Photo credit: © NG Sapanca Wellness & Convention, Turkey

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Written by

Dr. Kurt von Storch

Dr. Kurt von Storch is founder and CEO of EuropeSpa med & wellness GmbH, the international quality system for medical spa and wellness of the European Spas Association (ESPA). Since 2013 he is president of the Academy of Balneology and Climatology and Member of the Board of the German Spa Read More