Spa Training To The Next Level

Check out Nancy Griffen’s article on ASTECC that recently appeared in Spa Smart .

ASTECC (Advanced Spa Therapies Education & Certification Council) spa therapists are among the best trained in the world. Receiving 90% more hours of training than most massage therapists and estheticians, ASTECC therapists have an arsenal of healing tools at their disposal. Training includes traditional European spa therapies, such as hydrotherapy, contrast (hot and cold) therapies, mud, clay & fango therapy, aroma reflex therapy, reflexology, connective tissue massage and manual lymph drainage. As the preferred spa training provider for 5 star Montage Resorts, ASTECC sets the standard of excellence for truly therapeutic spa experiences.

The ASTECC difference is the creation of customized programs that facilitate a specific desired result. “Therapists who are trained in the art and science of spa have the theoretical and practical skills to effectively implement individualized results oriented treatments.” says founder Anne Branham. Growing up in the Moors in England, Anne has “a love of natural elements and a sense of belonging to the earth.” Both Anne and I were introduced to “spa therapies” at an early age, when taking care of show horses. We gave our horses “spa treatments”—using hydrotherapy, poultices and compression therapies on their injuries and brushing them vigorously daily to keep their skin healthy and increase circulation. Anne’s formal introduction to spa came when studying Health & Beauty in London. She has been on her spa journey ever since.

I have been proud to call Anne my friend for 20 years, and take part in ASTECC’s birth. Ann and I met at Cornell in 1994, when she came to spread the word of spa to us hotelies. There were only 50 spas in the country at the time – mostly fat farms and “pampering palaces.” I’ll never forget Anne’s passion, and remember thinking to myself “there must be a whole lot more to this spa thing than pampering.”

The ASCTECC program was born out of Anne’s desire to move the spa industry beyond massage and facials to treatments with specific therapeutic results. In her words, “ASTECC is an invitation for both the client and the practitioner to go deeper. A salt glo treatment is traditionally marketed as an exfoliating scrub, while its ability to improve stamina, build resistance to pathogens and regulate metabolism is routinely ignored.”

All ASTECC treatments begin with a Personal Lifestyle Profile—a comprehensive intake form to aide the therapist in preparing and designing the initial session. The detailed form addresses mind body and spirit –everything from family history, to current medications,

Constitutional Body Typing is interwoven throughout all the ASTECC disciplines. Students learn to identify the links between general constitutions and the corresponding elements found in spa treatments – links which bear considerable influence in the selection and the efficacy of spa treatments. The three body types include:

(a) Ectomorph – Idealistic, observant

(b) Mesomorph- As assertive as you are competitive

(c) Endomorph – Easy going

The fundamental principle of all ASTECC treatments is to restore the body to balance. “All of us have predominant characteristics,” says Anne. “We’re all different in different ways but we have one thing in common: We are at our very best when our inherent ‘constitution’ is in balance.”

I am an endomorph through and through. My marked characteristic is “easy going.” I struggle with weight gain and my lymph is slow at eliminating toxins from the body. On my recent trip to Montage Deer Valley, I was able to experience the Surrender Program–a customized series of ASTECC treatments designed for my constitution. I left feeling restored, balanced and rejuvenated.

For more information on ASTECC and a schedule of trainings, visit

Anne Bramham