A group of American visitors have travelled to Bath for the first time to learn European spa treatments from staff at Bath College.
The group, from the Healing Arts Institute in Ohio, visited for a three-day course put together by college staff and approved by medical experts in America.
They were taught wrap training, Indian head massage and hot stone massage – spa techniques that are not usually taught in their home state.
Lecturer Diana Rowe, who works in the college’s Hospitality, Hair, Beauty and Spa Industries Department, designed the course especially for the group.
She said: “We have never done this for the Americans before. They are all fully qualified – some have been in the industry for 20 years.
“These techniques are not common in American – they had never heard of an Indian head massage.
“They are regarded as a medical service, so they are not allowed to do these extra things within their training.
“It varies from state to state, but in Ohio they are very strict, they are the strictest medical board next to New York.
“They are a lovely bunch. Our staff have really enjoyed working with them – they have found out how things are done in America.
“It’s been really enlightening and it will help staff advise students who do move on and work abroad.”
Teachers at the Healing Arts Institute in Ohio initially visited Bath to see the Thermae Bath Spa and learn about the city’s history as a spa town.
They began thinking about a course for students after meeting former Bath College students working at the natural thermal spa.
Ms Rowe said: “Staff at the Thermae Bath Spa kindly pointed them in our direction. They were so impressed with the facilities they thought ‘this is something our students might like to learn’.
“We’re very lucky we have built strong links with the Thermae Bath Spa. We have been offering students work experience there for the last three years and it’s largely staffed by ex-students.
“I think Bath is a very attractive place to study and as a spa venue. The fact that we’re in the middle of this city with all the amazing spa history around us attracts people to study here.
“Our American students want to come back again. Even on the first day they said ‘can you send us dates?’ because they want to come back again.”
American student Trina Lovins qualified as a licensed massage therapist in April and started up her own business in May.
She said: “The stones don’t seem that different – the Indian head massage I have never done before.
“We were thinking about what our favourite thing on the course was last night. None of us had an answer because everything has been great.
“For me, I’m really happy with how friendly everyone is and how excited they are to have us here – as much as we’re excited to be here – which is nice.
“I’ve started my own business. It’s in a salon and the person who owns the salon, she was really excited about me going on this course.”