23 May 2024 World leisure: news, training & property
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Spa Business
2023 issue 3

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Leisure Management - Marc Cohen

Spa People: 20th anniversary issue

Marc Cohen

In the future, wellness could be derived from our interaction with silicon-based technologies rather than water

Marc Cohen, Peninsula Hot Springs photo: marc cohen
Contact with water can create profound moments of clarity, says Cohen photo: PENINSULA HOT SPRINGS
Cohen is medical director at Peninsula Hot Springs photo: Peninsula Hot Springs
Cohen is on a mission to “co-create a culture of wellness that infects the world with good health” photo: Peninsula Hot Springs
Residential retreats are exciting models which offer extended immersive experiences photo: Peninsula Hot Springs
photo: Peninsula Hot Springs

What’s been your biggest life lesson?
Learning that pivotal moments have occurred when I’ve felt the most in tune with my surroundings and have followed my sense of curiosity and inner compass. For me, this has often happened while bathing and it’s no wonder that my career has led me to explore hot springs and natural medicine.

How has the industry evolved?
There’s been an obvious shift from ‘spa’ to ‘wellness’. But it’s also been interesting to see wellness expand from the spa and natural medicine world into the hotel, tourism and property sectors.

I worked with Ingo Schweder in the early 2000s to help Mandarin Oriental become the first hotel group to create a spa concept to lead its portfolio. Now every hospitality chain offers branded spas and wellness has become a major force in the tourism and property sectors.

What do you still hope to accomplish?
I want to co-create a culture of wellness that infects the world with good health.

I’m doing this by re-invigorating ancient modalities with modern science and promoting traditional practices such as hot springs and bathing, beautiful waters, the use of herbs, honey, ferments and plant-based medicines, along with a connection to nature.

I’m also very involved in education and research and am working to create qualifications in hydrothermal wellness at Southern Cross University and the Chisholm Institute in Australia.

What do you wish had been invented?
I’m still waiting for an augmented space, pod or massage chair, that can manipulate my sensory inputs and external environment using real-time biofeedback. This invention would help overcome past injuries and illnesses and induce a state of relaxation that leaves the user feeling healed, whole and blissful. I’ve been waiting for nearly four decades for an invention like this but I expect I won’t have to wait much longer.

What business models are exciting?
I’ve always loved residential retreats and resorts as they offer extended immersive experiences. These can be further enhanced by natural bathing – it’s noteworthy that Japanese onsens/ryokans have been operating this type of business for more than 1,300 years.

What radical changes do you foresee?
We’re living in a time when even the best experts cannot predict what will happen in the next five to 10 years and AI and other exponential technologies are likely to fundamentally change what it means to be human. It’s even possible that sometime in the future, wellness will be derived from our interaction with silicon-based technologies rather than water. In the meantime, I will keep exploring real immersive wellness experiences in an increasingly virtual world.

Read more: www.spabusiness.com/marccohen

More from spa industry leaders...

In celebration of Spa Business’ 20th anniversary, industry leaders take a look at how far the sector has come since the magazine’s inception in 2003, share personal career highlights and reveal their plans and ideas for the future.

View from start: Anna Bjurstam

Originally published in Spa Business 2023 issue 3

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