Helping people boost their confidence

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 January, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 January, 2009, 12:00am

Marion Windau, a senior therapist at the Chuan Spa at Langham Place, Mong Kok

First of all, I check all the bookings and make sure we have the correct treatment allocations for every therapist. I check the rooms and spa facilities and look at the condition and maintenance of our equipment. I ensure that all the products and materials are prepared and ready for treatments that we do on a daily basis.

There are 12 of us in the team and we have morning, afternoon and evening shifts, which run until 11.30 at night. That's due to business demands, as a lot of guests prefer to come after lunch or in the evening after they finish work.

There's also a pool of part-time staff that can help us when we are busy. This is normally from Wednesday to Sunday when people have more time to be pampered or to be stressed. I did a beauty therapy course in Hong Kong for six months. I'm taking another course as we have to keep ourselves up to date in this industry. I started as a junior therapist at a day spa in 2007.

I have a real love for helping people this way. I like helping guests with their facials and doing treatments with my healing hands.

As a senior therapist, I help my superiors with the booking schedule on a day-to-day basis and help train our new therapists. They have to follow standards and procedures with our treatments, and in dealing with our guests and colleagues.

I have to treat the guests and help their confidence. I give them support and explain the importance of looking after their skin. I provide aftercare advice on how to maintain healthy, beautiful skin.

I also do body massage, as I have a diploma as a masseur. I use the skills I have learned to help the guests ease their pain and stress. Our guests might complain about pain here or there or about heavy stress from work or home, but once they are here they feel totally relaxed and are delighted when the treatment is done for them.

We all really enjoy getting feedback from our guests about their problems and their gratitude for what we have done for them.

The most challenging part of my job is treating people from different walks of life, nationalities, ethnic backgrounds and cultures. You have to deal with their expectations and meet their demands. Some guests are demanding but some are very nice and just want to relax.

Sometimes our therapists are sick and we have to find a way for guests who are assigned to them to have their treatments. And sometimes we have a lot of appointments and no time to turn around; we have to find ways to set the room and prepare products, so we need to help each other.

For people wanting to join this profession, they need to remember that it is a service industry and you must have the ability to deal with pressure. You need profound knowledge and should be physically fit, honest and dedicated to your guests. As a therapist in this trade, you have to love and enjoy this kind of work. Different spa centres or hotels also have intensive training and you must follow the standards. Anyone thinking of becoming a therapist must go to a beauty salon, college or school which provides international qualifications.

In Hong Kong you have to have two or so years of experience to be marketable. The government has strengthened the law so that a lot of therapists who have been doing this for donkey's years have gone back to qualify.