Spa grouping launches online registry for therapists

The Spa and Wellness Association of Singapore has launched an online registry of therapists to help consumers select competent and trained ones.
The Spa and Wellness Association of Singapore has launched an online registry of therapists to help consumers select competent and trained ones.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Consumers can soon do a quick background check on their beautician before signing up for a facial.

The Spa and Wellness Association of Singapore (SWAS) on Thursday (Jan 7) launched an online registry of therapists and their qualifications, and hopes this will help consumers select competent and trained therapists.

This is the first such registry in Singapore.

"The SWAS Registry of Complementary Therapists provides a reliable source for consumers to verify if a therapist or entity has the relevant competencies to provide specific treatments," said the association's honorary secretary Edward Wong.

Besides beauticians, other service providers such as masseuses, manicurists, hairdressers and yoga instructors can be registered too.

The move to set up the registry was prompted by a case in Hong Kong in 2012 in which one woman died of septic shock while three others fell ill after undergoing a blood transfusion treatment at a beauty parlour.

In 2014, the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) received 100 complaints about unsatisfactory service by beauty, hair, slimming and fitness companies. In one case, a consumer who went for laser treatment to remove pigmentation on her skin ended up with burnt marks and redness instead.

Consumers can access a prototype of the SWAS Registry of Complementary Therapists at www.srct.sg on their mobile phones, laptops or tablets. They have to key in the treatment and the name of a therapist or business to pull out information about a therapist's qualifications.

The qualifications reflected on the site have been validated by a panel of industry experts, consisting of accredited educators and practitioners. Registered therapists also have to observe a professional code of ethics and conduct.

The 500 therapists who have signed up, however, are less than one per cent of the approximately 100,000 therapists in the market.

The beauty and wellness industry has about 20,000 businesses here, said SWAS which projected the figures from a 2011 Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) audit. Each business employs four to five workers on average.

The association will hold two public forums this year to educate consumers and hopes to increase the number of registered therapists to 2,000 in the next six months. It will launch a full version of the website by August this year.

For now, professional members of SWAS can join the registry for free, while non-members have to pay a fee.

Case's executive director Seah Seng Choon welcomed the new registry and said it is an additional form of protection for consumers.

"It offers consumers an easy way to identify if a therapist has the relevant qualification and skills to perform the intended treatment properly and safely," he added.